By Kaitlyn Smeland Dhanaliwala
Dec 23, 2010
More Articles by Kaitlyn
This is the first in a series of posts in which I will share my New Year’s resolutions in five different areas of SEO. And the topic for this post is how to take an end-of-year look at your SEO keywords.
Keyword research is one of the first steps in an SEO engagement, but the research should not end there. As time goes on, the list of focus keywords will naturally change. Your business might change, and so certain keywords may become irrelevant. Likewise, new keywords may need to be added to your list of focus when new products or services emerge. Or search trends may change; the language that people use to search for your offering might change as the market evolves. So for all these reasons, it is important to review your SEO keywords periodically.
The Google External Keyword Tool is not perfect; it has gotten a lot of recent well-deserved criticism of the methods it uses to calculate search traffic and to determine whether to show search traffic data for a particular search query. But still, it can be a useful (and free) tool for comparing the monthly search traffic of one keyword relative to another.
Google Insights for Search allows you to examine trends in search traffic patterns over time for a keyword. It also suggests similar search queries (according to Google). Data can be filtered by geographic regions as well.
1. Is your current list of keywords still relevant? Has your business focus changed since the last time you reviewed your keyword list? Are certain phrases no longer applicable to your current offerings or strategic focus? Do you have new areas of focus for your business which require brand new SEO keywords to optimize against?
2. How has the search traffic for your keywords changed? A keyword which carried a great deal of search traffic last year might not be as popular among searchers anymore. Use the Google External Keyword Tool to check the most recent monthly search traffic for your SEO keywords. Then use that information to inform your strategy for which phrases to tackle most aggressively.
3. Look for seasonality trends. Your SEO strategy should take into account trends like seasonality for keywords. Use Google Insights for Search to examine the seasonality of search traffic for each of your terms. Use that information to plan your “calendar” of SEO activities and focus areas for 2011.
4. Look for other long-term trends in search traffic for your keywords. Also consider the possibility that there might be a less cyclical trend occurring. Look for consistent year-over-year growth (or decline) in keyword traffic. It might tell you that one area of your business is becoming more (or less) in demand than other areas. Also remember to monitor trends for searches on your company’s name to keep an eye on the health of your brand.
Check back this week for the rest of my SEO New Year’s Resolutions…