SMX East 2011: Keyword Research and Copywriting for Search Success

In this session, Christine Churchill, president, KeyRelevance (@keyrelevance) takes us through her strategic process of keyword research through discovery, research, expansion and evaluation with tip sheets. She walks us through some of the best practices in keyword research and copywriting dos and don’ts for SEO, PPC, social media and the up-and-coming mobile user market.

The online marketing key is in the keywords! Blog posts, press releases, Web content … you need to talk to your target audience in the right keyword language; that is what Christine Churchill emphasizes here at Day 1 at SMX East.

But remember: your customer’s keyword language might not be your language or the language of your boss, programmer or internal team. Better conversions and more qualified traffic will come when you speak the same keyword language as your customers.

Let’s face it, if you are doing things online, you must start with keyword research. Why?

  • Keyword research is a fundamental step to all search marketing.
  • Keywords are how people find you!
  • Keyword research is an ongoing process, not a set up and forget it task.

Keyword Research Session Highlights

  • Think “phrase” not “single keyword”
  • Look at popularity as traffic potential
  • Review keyword competition
  • Test Keywords
  • Consider using keyword tools synergistically
  • Keyword research never ends

Keyword Research Tips from Churchill

  • Images create opportunity to optimize and send qualified traffic to your website! Video too
  • Query length – longer is better; they convert better. Five to eight words
  • Find new opportunities, long tail wins the game
  • 20 percent to 25 percent of the queries that Google sees today have never been seen before
  • Don’t bet on the popular phrases – go for the longer tail for success
  • Avoid insider jargon! Your internal keywords are not necessarily your target audience keywords
  • Competitors’ websites are a good way  to research keywords, but beware your competitors are not always right, so compare to other research
  • View search queries via analytics – you can tie it into Google Analytics
  • Home page is your strongest page for keyword research and content

SMX East 2011 Keynote Session

Christina Churchill’s Keyword Tool List

The next best thing to doing it yourself (or sometimes the better way than doing it yourself) is finding  tools that will save you valuable time and money. Churchill shares some of her best bet keyword research tools designed to add value to one of the most important steps to successful online campaigns.

SMX East Keyword Research Expert Christine Churchill

Free Keyword Tools

  • Google Keyword Tool – Log in to get all the columns and choices and it also gives insight on mobile users!
  • Google Webmaster Tools – big boost in giving valuable info
  • Google Trends – allows you to compare popular phrases – might want to compare plural and singular version of a word
  • Google Insights  – trends on steroids.
  • Google Content Targeting – used for display ads and also builds themed keyword lists
  • adCenter Labs Tools
  • Microsoft adCenter Add-In for Excel

Fee-Based Keyword Tools

  • WordTracker – Data pulled from meta search engines, no skewy issues and a free trial
  • Trellian Keyword Discovery – Multiple databases, easy import/export with a suite of tools behind it!
  • Hitwise
  • WordStream – Keyword tool, handy for PPC with a little checker
  • Nichebot
  • ComScore
  • SpyFu

Cool Keyword Tools

  • Google Instant – Great to use for ideas and suggestions!
  • Solve – Pulls keyword suggestions from multiple sites – different perspectives from YouTube, Bing, Etc
  • UberSuggest – Type in a phrase and go through the alphabet to look for ideas – great for FaceBook Ad words research!
  • Twitter search – Best way to find out what is hip; this is where things are going on in the Web in real time
  • YouTube – Video optimization is huge and YouTube offers keyword research comes from different database than Google – YouTube only.
  • Google Sets – Expands keyword lists – creates expanded lists -for example horses
  • Yippy – Clustered search tools
  • Yahoo! – Great for trending information and also provides suggestions to types queries
  • – Related searches, relate questions! Cool for article ideas and content marketing
  • Quintera – Visual search engines, relationship between keywords
  • MS Ad intelligence tool – Super fast for building keyword lists

Keyword Expansion

OK, you have the keyword lists, now what? First, let’s use our brains, check our lists, and kick out the irrelevant words. Then, you can start using them!

Ever wonder how to find deeper ways to drill down the best keywords?

  • Target variations of your keywords
  • Comparison (best, compare, reviews)
  • Price (cheap, discount)
  • Product Description (green, plus size, unique)
  • Intended use (gift for mother, baptism gown)
  • Product (gift basket, mortgage, flight)
  • Brand / vendor / manufacturer
  • Location
  • Action (apply, book, find, buy)
  • Season (holiday, Christmas, Halloween)
  • Abbreviations

Tip: Don’t just do one keyword research project; break up a website into different phases or sections and break it up into smaller projects — makes it much easier, efficient and effective!

Evaluating Keywords

OK, so you did the research you can, let’s get down to the evaluation process …

What to consider when evaluation keywords?

  • Relevancy to Site – This is MOST important!
  • Keyword Popularity – Most popular not always best! Least popular many times delivers more
  • User Intent – Match content to satisfy the user’s intent when using keywords – are they searching, evaluating, buying? Pay attention to landing pages!
  • Competition – Compare and see who is ranking for your keywords
  • Performance

Christine Churchill’s Best Bet:  Find words that resonate with your target audience and are descriptive of your site.

Search Behavior: Gget inside the head of your searcher and find out what they are thinking. Churchill reminds us of the three types of searchers:

  • Navigational: I just want to be at your website.
  • Informational: Do hybrid cars require special maintenance?
  • Transactional: Interactive, purchase, subscribe, download. I want financing to buy a hybrid car.

Competitive Intelligence and Keyword Research

  • Hitwise: Uses data from ISPs; Shows top sites for search terms; Can compare traffic sources for competitors
  • ComScore Marketer: Similar to Hitwise; Data collected on surfing patterns of over 2 million users
  • Trellian’s Competitive Intelligence
  • Keyword Difficulty Tool
  • SpyFu
  • KeyCompete
  • Compete
  • SemRush: Gives cool insight into what a web site’s organic traffic and also if they are doing a PPC campaign
  • KeywordSpy
  • AdGooRoo
Content Optimization and Writing Tips
But first, a News Flash: Stuffing keywords does not work!

But these tips will help:

  • You have to write to engage human reader
  • You have to write so search engines understand relevancy of content
  • It is this talent for doing both that separates high quality SEO content from spam
Churchill reminds us how powerful a well-written Title tag can deliver. It’s a fact.
Title tips to get more clicks:
  • Keep keywords towards the beginning
  • Make them compelling
  • Don’t slap it together

We may have just landed in SEO keyword heaven after reading this post. But remember, keyword research dose not stop on the websites and blogs. It is just as valuable for the mobile market and also social media. Considering that the competition in search terms is increasing, it is more important than ever to start all campaigns with keyword research.

, author of Social PR Secrets, was named one of the top 40 Digital Strategists for 2013. @lisabuyer is passionate and ambitious about how Public Relations, Social Media and Online Marketing influence each other. She is President and CEO of The Buyer Group, an interactive public relations and social agency located in Celebration, Florida and editor for Social #PR Chat covering trends in Social PR, Mobile PR, Brand PR and SEO PR. A columnist with Search Engine Watch and a regular speaker with PubCon, SES and part of the @ClickZ faculty and most recently became an instructor of the University of San Francisco’s online Advanced Social Media certificate program.

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

Comments (1)
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One Reply to “SMX East 2011: Keyword Research and Copywriting for Search Success”

Great re-cap, especially since I came late and missed it… haha.

Another great tool to add to the list of “Cool Keyword Tools” would for sure be Yahoo Clues which can also give insight into what users are searching for before and after the current search.

The only real drawback to it is that its very manual. But can still add lots of value and be the final decider when torn between words.


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