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October 8, 2008

Advanced Keyword Research Tactics

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Welcome to the final day of SMX East. These sessions may be last, but they’re certainly not least important. I haven’t grabbed coffee yet but think this one will rock, so I’ll do my best to turn my brain on.

Gordon Hotchkiss, President and CEO, Enquiro, is moderating and says he’s glad the audience came this early, early morning after Search Bash. He says that the audience knows the basics of keyword research, but during this session the speakers will let us know the next steps to take.

Christine Churchill, President,, says that keyword research is important because search engines are looking for clues to what Web pages are about. Keyword research is a never ending cycle. There’s a graphic with brainstorming and discovery, keyword evaluation and keyword expansion all pointing to each other in a circular way. Making your Web site better will help increase traffic.

Create Keyword List Using Diverse Sources

Keyword lists from within the company:

  • Review company Web site and print collateral
  • Press releases
  • Often too much insider jargon
  • May or may not be customer’s lingo

Site search box:

  • Reveals keywords and expressions that visitors are actually using and looking for
  • Gives insight into the number of words searchers are using
  • Can follow visitor’s path and see if site converts
  • Useful source for long tail keywords
  • Make sure you collect site search data

Intel from offline conversions:

  • Phone and in-store conversions are an often-overlooked resource.

Use keyword research tools to expand your options and refine your selections. Some tools include:

  • Google Keyword Tool
  • WordTracker
  • Trellian Keyword Discovery
  • Google Insights
  • Google Trends
  • Hitwise
  • adCenter Labs Tools
  • Microsoft adCenter Add In for Excel
  • Nichebot
  • ComScore
  • SpyFu
  • PPCProbe
  • SEOBook Keyword Suggestion Tool

The Long Tail Concept and Finding New Opportunities

Long tail identification techniques:

  • Keyword concatenation
  • Permutations
  • Alternate spellings and common misspellings
  • Brand and model numbers
  • Modifiers (geo terms and adjectives)
  • Regional language
  • Searcher behavior (navigational, informational, transactional)


  • Log files
  • Site search
  • Thesaurus
  • Tools

Speaking to Audience Segments

Her technique is to divide and conquer:

  • Different visitors have different goals.
  • Targeting pages to speak to each audience segment will be more persuasive.
  • Identify visitors, segment them and target pages to meet those customers’ needs.
  • Ways to segment include by searcher behavior and by the stage in the buying process.

If you match your keywords with your segments, you’ll bring your conversions to another level.

Evaluating Keyword Performance

  • Track keyword performance mercilessly.
  • Use PPC as a test bed for conversions.
  • Purge low performers.
  • Play up successes in SEO.
  • Analytics is key to evaluating performance.

Ariel Bardin, Product Management Directory, Google, works on making AdWords a better product. He will be showing us some of the tools available to mine the database of intentions by playing with them on the screen.

The first tool is Google Analytics. He’s going to focus on the map overlay, which shows where traffic is coming to the site from, and the content overview section. He’s going through the page to see different data that’s available. He says that playing with this data will help you make sure you’re maximizing your ROI.

With the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, he recommends plugging your URL in for suggested keywords. He also recommends entering text in the text area to help with categorization if it seems inaccurate. He says that they recently started showing the actual numbers for search volume and trends.

Google Insights lets you see the Web search volume for a keyword and how it breaks down among locations. You can see rising searches, including break out searches which have seen a rapid spike. This way you might be able to catch which keywords are on the rise before your competition has.

One new feature lets you look at keywords and placements together. This helps you manage keywords and placements in the same ad group to contextually target the placements you choose. You can choose placements that reach your target audience and also add keywords to contextually target your placements.

Marty Weintraub, President, aimClear, is going to talk about buzz mining and the intersection of keyword research and social media.

Social Keyword Suggestion Methods

Part of the overall marketing mix is social engagement and they try to have search influence that. If you find out what people are talking about in certain channels, then you’ll be able to speak to them about what you know they’re interested in. Social sites are congregation points for hundreds of millions. Hot topics define each community and influencers moderate social search. You can gain huge insights into your product.

It’s about finding authoritative content and scraping it for contextual insight, then extrapolating with lateral stemming. In social communities you can see the tag cloud clearly and find out what people are talking about. You can sometimes even measure individually or on average. Advise keyword research by what people are talking about.

An example to think about as a jumping off point:

  • A large candy and baking supply ecommerce site creating a blog feed.
  • There is power to SEO and recurrent content.
  • The blog will help to truly serve and engage customer base.
  • Hiring writers, installing WordPress, planning promotion and avatars, etc., will be needed.
  • It’s a big investment of time and cash so there’s insight needed regarding content with viral productivity.

StumbleUpon can give you tremendous insight. To get to the tag cloud, type gibberish in the search box. There’s the recently hot and the most popular of all time. You can see that people at SU like chocolate and that there are featured chocolate sites, which is the authority content chosen by SU users. By looking at the sites he found a good one and plugged the URL into the Google Keyword Research tool. Keyword clusters are generated and you can begin constructing the keyword list. Do this over and over again to continue building a list.

Buzz Pocket Mining

  • Socially advised keyword research
  • Great for content ideas, SEO and PPC
  • Yields easy to promote keywords and content
  • Take note of authority users in your travels
  • Create your own pages to scrape from walled gardens to gain insight regarding particular users, groups, etc.
  • Exploit each tool’s unique stemming features
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3 responses to “Advanced Keyword Research Tactics”

  1. Ben McKay writes:

    Hi Virginia,

    Great ideas on a great topic. I wrote a similar piece from a marketers perspective in my (new) blog trying to emphasise the anticipation and proactive nature that is needed for longevity in results from keyword research.

    I make the suggestion that companies / websites should essentially build their own keyword phrases and brand build with these in mind. It’s the first time I’ve written about the topic so the ideas in it’s infancy but it’s something that I keep on thinking about so the ideas are growing. (I won’t land a link on this article to try and plug it!)

    We certainly need to be far more proactive in keyword research than simply using a couple of keyword research tools.

    Thanks for the great post.


  2. Virginia Nussey writes:

    Hi Tom,
    Thanks for your comment! Meeting your online marketing goals is the real objective of any search marketing campaign, relying heavily on the foundation established through keyword research. Bruce’s attendance conferences and training courses can be found here: If you’re planning to attend any of these events, we hope you stop by and say hello!
    Best, Virginia

  3. Tom writes:


    I have been a reader for some time and have followed most all of your ideas and thoughts. I, like you look to the clients “end results” and targeted visitor as STEP ONE. Keyword research long before you even buy the domain has proven to be key in our clients site development and the quality of the optimization.

    Do you post a list of yoru scheduled events or courses?



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