ABC’s of SEO: K is for Keyword Research

Posted by in ABC's of SEO on November 2nd, 2011 0 Comments

There have been some interesting developments around keyword research this month, namely that Google are no longer providing search data from users logged into Google. The change has a serious impact on the data available for SEOs to make important decisions about keyword strategy. I could write a whole blog post about it, but I think Blogstorm and SEObook probably did a better job than I can.

Keyword research underpins SEO campaigns, but both the tools and software which we use and our approach conducting this research is always changing. Seeking certain user behaviour, looking for local or multilingual search variations, or unique ways of interpreting and analysing the data all calls for a bespoke approach. There’s more than one way to skin a cat – what a horrible saying that is.

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YouTube Keyword Suggestion Tool
YouTube has its own keyword suggestion tool, and this can be very useful if you want to dominate the search results of this search engine. It’s important to understand that the terms people use when they search for videos can be vastly different to that of other searches. This can help inform both content creation and optimisation.

Ebay as a Keyword Research Tool
Ebay can be an interesting tool to use to perform keyword research, thanks to their Research Labs which help sellers to optimise their listings. The insight which can be gained from this approach is particularly relevant for ecommerce sites, as it can help marketers to understand which terms people use when they are looking to buy, rather than for information about products.

Due to personalised search, we encourage businesses to attract customers to their websites as early as possible in the buying cycle with informative content, but it can still be useful to know the difference between keywords customers use to research and keywords they use to buy. Ebay have created a tool to help buyers to optimise their listings, which SEOs can use to find these types of terms, as well as estimated search volumes. The auto-suggest feature on eBay search queries can also be used to identify new, long tail phrases.

Google Keyword Tool, Insights & Trends
Of course there are also lots of Google tools for conducting keyword research, including the keyword reseach tool. Insights is a great way of understanding and comparing search volumes over time, while Trends can help us to identify upcoming opportunities. There is a lot of debate online about the accuracy of these tools, since they all seem to show vastly contradictory results. Whether they are using different data or just analysing it differently is a bit of a mystery, but the lesson to learn is that keyword research is only ever an indication. Keyword research is often most helpful just in making related keyword suggestions – the search volume estimates are always just that.

Google Suggest, Related Searches & Wonder Wheel
Google Suggest is a good way of finding long tail search terms, and even provides estimated search volumes. Google’s Wonder Wheel was one of my favourite keyword research tools, which never provided search volumes, bit did provide related search queries through unique visual representation. It was excellent at grouping relevant and connected keywords together, and allowed users to constantly branch out/drill-down into different areas.

wonderwheel ABCs of SEO: K is for Keyword Research

Google Wonder Wheel in action

I thought it was great to use, due to the way the information was presented – in inter-connected spider diagrams. It was a totally unique way of doing things – and when it came to keyword suggestions it was my favourite. I was very sad to see the Wonder Wheel go in a recent raft of changes to the search engine. Google have replaced the Wonder Wheel with the Related Searches feature, which provides exactly the same information, albeit in a dry, text-based format. Lest we forget , the Google Wonder Wheel.

Change is a Constant
SEOs and search agencies need to stay on their toes and the development of innovative, up-to-date tools accelerates innovation in the industry. Inevitably some become favourites for a variety of reasons; whether it’s reliability, functionality or presentation, but it’s important to question their usefulness, explore other possibilities and keep innovating.

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