Advanced Keyword Research Tactics – SMX East 2012

Good morning from the third and final day of SMX East 2012! Last night, I was casually sitting on a bench on a street in NYC when a cockroach nearly landed on my head. No joke. I flew off that bench in 2.5 seconds, then noticed his little cockroach cronie by my foot who proceeded to stand up on his hind legs as if he were about to attack. I think they were trying to mug me.

SMX East Logo

But I digress. We’re not here to talk about cockroach gangs, right? We’re here to talk about advanced keyword research. You can follow Twitter tidbits for this session on #31B.

Up first is Patricia Hursch of SmartSearch Marketing. She is going to talk about the strategy behind keyword research. Her process is:

  1. Business relevance: Keep focused on specificity and uniqueness of keywords. You might be able to have a rating scale for this. Level 1 = must-have keywords; level 2 = highly relevant, unique and specific to your company; level 3 = very relevant but less precise; level 4 = everything else.
  2. Search volume: Most people start here. You can sort by volume in an Excel spreadsheet, but keep color coding on there that shows those keywords that have business relevance.
  3. Competition: How many websites are displayed for the keyword? Don’t build an unrealistic strategy — you can’t be No. 1 for everything; you can get there, but it will take a lot longer, depending on your competition.
  4. Searcher intent: The time that users search the most is in the beginning of the cycle during awareness and at the end during selection. Informational > navigational > transactional. Try to reach people in the beginning and end for opps of visibility.
  5. Conversion: If you have PPC data you can see how well these keywords convert. Analyze conversion volume, cost per conversion and conversion rate.

In order of priority, keyword research starts with business relevance, search volume and conversion, then layer the rest.

Up next is Laura Thieme (@bizwatchlaura) of Bizwatch. Keyword discovery is a monthly ongoing process. It’s not a “one and done” thing. She looks at keywords in the following way:

Keyword discovery > data mining > 13 months historical data > AdWords search > SEO vs. PPC > Wordtracker > Analytics performance — [crap, slide changed on me!].

Tools: Experian and Wordtracker are great places to find data (especially competitive data).

Lots of people are looking for more keyword volume but you should always look at how many have never converted. Take PPC data and see which keywords never convert and then the cost associated with having those keywords that don’t.

Basic predictive modeling for revenue: Clicks x CTR x CVR x Avg. Order = Sales

Next is Sean Livengood (@slivengood) at He is going to be talking about keyword research for different languages.

  1. You can use Google images to get a visual of what the keywords mean.
  2. Look at search query reports to find keywords to add and negative keywords.
  3. Ask a real foreigner. You need to understand cultural differences in meaning. Odesk and Elance might be able to help with translation but he prefers speaking directly with someone for better results.


  • Google translate is good for a general idea of the word but not good for looking at the intent behind the literal translation.
  • Cultural differences in meaning is difficult with literal translations.

Jessica Lee is the founder and chief creative for bizbuzzcontent Inc., a marketing boutique that focuses on digital content strategy and professional writing services for businesses.

See Jessica's author page for links to connect on social media.

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