11 Nov 2008

Keyword Research, Selection and Optimization

Back from lunch where there were no cupcake. There wasn’t even a cookie. Lunch Fail!

Now it’s time to talk about Keyword Research, Selection and Optimization. Wooing us out of our food comas will be Ken Jurina, Larry Mersman, Wil Reynolds and Stoney deGeyter. The lovely and always classy Christine Churchill will be our moderator.

[Side note: If you haven't read SEO Chick Julie Joyce's recent interview with Christine Churchill, I very much recommend it. Both ladies are awesome. ]

Okay, kids, we’re getting started. Up first is Wil Reynolds. Lots of post lunch clapping and enthusiasm. That’s a good sign.

He shows a slide of Naughty By Nature and says he’s down with OPD — Other People’s Data. Clever.

What’s OPD?

Amazon.com: They show you best sellers in all the individual areas. You can look at their subcategories to find areas that are getting hot and that you may want to target. Use it to determine the top-selling products in a category. Use it if you have constraints in Web content areas like drop downs or popular content. Use it to prioritize the hottest items.

Google Hot Trends: Wil calls it underused. You can sign up to a feed to get the trends sent to you every day. He watches the Hot Trends daily to get all sorts of competitive information. Very useful for industries where things happen in the blink of an eye.  It will also give you the time that a keyword traffic spikes.

When would you use this: If you offer content or products that get popular to news. CNN, Tribune, Stubhub, Hulu, etc. Look for trends in the data. If Entourage spikes on a Monday, does that happen every week or was it just that one time? In the case of Entourage, it’s weekly. That’s very valuable information.

Google Hot Trends has a site feed – which means it will come to you regularly or any time your keywords are used. You don’t have to remember to check it every day. You can parse the RSS feed to send yourself a notification. Puts you ahead of your competitors.

Google Insights: Like Google Trends but on crack. If you’re logged into your Google account, you can download the info into a CRV. Even an intern can do the tracking.  You can use the FF Macros plugin to automatically do stuff for you. If you change the time frame you will get very different results on some searches.  Cool thing about Google Insights is that it will show hot trends for your keywords even if you don’t type the words in order. It will help you come up with some out of the box ideas. It’s based on time frame, so the data will change.

Make sure you’re using the right filters. You don’t want to be searching for the world if you don’t serve international audiences.

Quintura: Gives you a graphical representation of keywords and helps you get out of the box.

Delicious: Tells you the top tags that people are using to talk about the same thing. You may call something one thing, but other people may refer to it in a different way. Shows you how people categorize information and what keywords they use to retrieve that information.

MSN AdLabs Search Funnel: Wil uses it to confirm what the other tools have already told him. MSN Ad Labs + Google Insights + Yahoo Search Assist will indicate prominence of “free” or brand association with a generic keyword like [adware]. The Search Funnel also shows you what people type in after they type in your keyword. Helps you find associated words and to understand the intent of your users. He thinks it’s the best tool for finding intent, even though it doesn’t have enough data yet. It’s better for broad, big terms than it is for smaller, niche stuff.

Shopping.com & MySimoncom: Ranks the top keywords in different categories. He found it by doing a search for “top searches”. Amend that search to included top searches + your industry.

SEOmoz also has a popular searches tool.

Ken Jurina is up next. He’s. Excited.

How many negative keywords do you currently use? Are they the best ones? How much trash is your current list filtering out?

Negative keyword filtering is important because you don’t want your ads to show up for “silly queries” due to long tail terms.  Negative keywords are the terms that exist in a relative phrase that causes the engines to show your ad when you don’t want it displayed. It’s great for filtering out irrelevant queries that are costing you serious money.

Reasons to make a keyword negative are: Zero conversion, expensive conversions, expensive clicks, limited budget, bad brand association, not relevant or the user, quality improvements, lowering costs, etc.

A positive spiral of increased benefits forms when using maximized negative keywords.

What Are The Results?

With a prioritized list of top 10,000 negative keywords, a huge positive effect has bee measured.

  • CTR up 20-100 percent
  • Impressions down 30-50 percent
  • Bounce rate down 10-50 percent
  • Wasted ad spend down 20-40 percent

How to Implement NKW Into Campaigns: He runs down lots of simple ways in the various engines and said them so fast that there was no way I could write them down. Feel free to log into your Webmaster account and sniff around. It shouldn’t be too hard to find. ;)

NKW and Phrase Matching Options

Pros and cons of different bid types

  • Exact Match is great for targeting specific terms, but is cumbersome and inadequate for reaching the long tail.
  • Combine with phrase and broad match, negative keywords allows advertising on the long tail without showing your ads on irrelevant search phrases.
  • Ultimately, a combination of exact, phrase, broad and maximized negative keywords is the best way to target paid search.
  • Using Dynamic Keyword Insertion in your ads? NKW filter out bad impressions/traffic.

How do I Create NKW Lists?

  • Use intuition/internal brainstorming sessions & thesaurus
  • First set goals in analytics and then split paid and organic traffic
  • Scan through past referring phrases for phrases that did not convert, had high bounce rates or “were trash”.
  • Using the Google Search Query Performance Report: Reports -> Create Report

Identify NKW via Tools:

  • Search Suggest: Google, Yahoo or Ask
  • Google’s Keyword Suggestion Tool: Select the “use synoyms” check box
  • MIcrosoft AdLabs – find mutations, groups…and more
  • Keyword Discovery
  • WordTracker

Case Study: Vintage Tub & Bath — Established business with a complex AdWords campaign including exact match, phrase, broad and negative match bids. They ended up with a 20 percent savings with sales remaining the same.

Case Study — Consult Sales, Inc– Six years established campaign. Saved 27,000 on 100,000 budget for PPC spend.

Summary: Negative Keywords are a relatively simple concept. NK should be an important part of every paid search campaign. When used with max quality and quantity of words, dramatic results will follow. If you’re looking for low-hanging fruits, this is it. It’s a no-brainer.

Next is Stoney deGeyter.

Phase 1: Finding Core Terms

A core term is a unique two or three word phrase that accurately represents the content of a given page. What is that page about? A core term is NOT a non-specific word that doesn’t indicate specific intent to the searchers desire. “Bag” is not a core term.

To find them, start looking through your Web site and analyzing each page. Look at your Title tags, content, navigation elements, product names, etc. They’re all ripe with information. After you’ve done that, do a bit of brainstorming. Figure out what’s on your site and what isn’t there. What are people looking for?  Then, look at your competitors.  Document all the terms you get into a spreadsheet. Finally, use a keyword research tools or your own server logs. Great resource to see how people are finding your Web site.

Four Factors of Prioritization: Search Volume, Target Audience, Profit Margin, and Ability to Meet Demand.

Phase II: Researching Search Phrases

A search phrase is a core term with added qualifiers or stemmed variations. Expand each core term individually into a much longer list of related phrases.

Factors: Time (plan your day out), Research (look at each phrase individually to make sure it’s a good fit), Elimination (get rid of the words that don’t convert) and Split/Combine (put keywords into different group).

Combining and Splitting Core Terms: Group the most similar terms together, avoid inconsistent spelling and verify on-page unity.

Phrase III: Analyzing and Eliminating Keywords

Idenify phrase types: single-world, multi-word (contains the qualifier terms), phrase variation (changed word order, stems), localized (geo-targeting improves conversions), convert-ability, search volume, and info queries.

Phase IV: Organizing Keywords Into Successful Campaign

Segmenting Keywords: Shop Keywords, Buy Keywords or Research Keywords. If someone is ready to buy, you don’t want to bring them to an article.

  • Research Keywords: Looking for general information. Putting feelers out to see what people are offering.
  • Shopping Keywords: Have narrowed down to product type. Comparing features. Optimizing on category and comparison pages.
  • Buying Keywords: Know exactly what they want and they’re just looking for the right place to buy. Looking at price, trust signs, etc. Your product pages are your Buy pages.

Let the content guide your keywords. Each page can target 5-15 relevant phrases. Group qualifiers should all line up and have similar meanings.

Larry Mersmen will help finish us up.

KW research is one of the most important parts of SEO. It’s about identiying keywords and search phrases that customers use to find your site, products or services. It’s about gauging the performance of the terms you use and the end result.

Larry shows some photos and asks the audience what terms they’d use to find the items displayed. Everyone offers up different words Point taken.

He gives us a case study for NeedMoreBeer.com. The site was originally optimized for the phrase [finest beer in Germany online]. However, after doing keyword research, they found that the phrase [German beer] had far more searches performed. Updating their content to reflect this change increased sales by over 200 percent.

Compiling Keyword Lists

  • brainstormng
  • customer feedback
  • Ad brochures and manuals
  • Web site log files
  • Looking at competitors
  • Keyword research tools — Use more than one. Use ALL of them.
  • Exhausted keyword generators

Larry’s going super fast through his slides. I’d attempt to get them down but I’m not bionic.

Related search terms canh elp you ID search terms with similar meanings that may not always be obvious. Find out the common misspellings to find new potential traffic sources.

Use Keyword Density Tools to break down page content and find out how your competitors are using tools.

Competitive Intelligence enables you to identify your comptitors top performing PPC terms. There are terms that the user is clicking on to get to their destination.

What market you’re in, you have to do your homework and use the tools avalable. Build your list, then Test, Test, Test.

Question and Answer

Can you recommend tools for managing inhouse keyword campaigns without using an API?

The audience is stunned into silence, heh. Christine says there’s a session on Bid Management Tools later in the day.

Larry: You mentioned optimizing for misspellings. Do you recommend putting that into the content or Meta tags?

Ken says to put it in the Keyword Title tag, alt altributes, and other nonobvious ways. Few people are optimizng for it so it’s pretty easy to rank for.

Stoney says not to use it on your content, but to use it in other’s people content and get them to link to you with it.