WriterAccess Webinar Archive
Advanced Keyword Research Technology and Methodology
Thursday, June 30, 2011 – 1:00 PM ET
Keyword Research is the heart of all PPC and organic content marketing strategy and the lifeline for success in the search engines. But determining whether you are maximizing the ROI of your keyword research, both organically and for PPC, can been difficult.
Tune into this month's webinar for a review of some advanced technology and fresh methodology that shortens the roadmap to keyword success. WordStream founder and CTO Larry Kim, along with their VP of Product, Will Eisner and ideaLaunch founder Byron White team up to show you shortcuts to win the war of words on the web.
They'll dig deep into the art and science of keyword silo development along with the best tools to use that help SEO and PPC Specialists, writers, copywriters and marketing professionals to get on the same page.
In this webinar, you'll learn:
- Keyword Research Methodology to increase your reach and decrease PPC spend
- New Tools and Technologies that track the ROI and impact of your content and PPC
- Keyword Silo How-To and Why-To
- Performance Measurement Tips
The slidedeck from this webinar is available for download.
Byron White: Ok, let’s chime in. Lots of people attending today, so very exciting. So, for those of you who might have come in a few seconds ago, my name is Byron White; I’m the founder of IdeaLaunch. I'm here with Larry Kim and Will Eisner, and we’re going to guide you through some advanced content marketing technology and methodology that will hopefully make your business better.
For starters, I’m going to talk for about 20 minutes now, and walk you through a deck that I think is going to share some insights into some advanced stuff that I think you should know about. Of course, I always begin these content marketing webinars, as I have for the 24th time now, with a brief overview of content marketing, and revolution, and what it means, and what it is. I’ll then focus on some methodology, and then dive into some technology variations that I think you’ll be happy to see.
So for starters, the content marketing revolution is happening as we speak; it's really the fuel, if you will, for social media and inbound marketing, and it’s the heartbeat of what everybody understands they need to do to communicate more effectively. Really, it’s defined as the art of listening to your customer’s wants and needs, and that is probably the hardest single thing for you to do as a marketing professional. You can certainly look at your search box and see what people are searching on. You can look in the social media sphere and listen in to what conversations people are having, look at your web analytics account but no one has really tapped the surface yet of this art of listening.
I encourage somebody on the phone to be the revolutionary leader who figures that out; what are our customer’s wants and needs? It’s also the science of delivering great content to them with a new portfolio of assets. Articles are just the beginning and blog posts are what we tend to focus on these days, but you to become an author of a book. You need to be publishing e-books, and white papers, and widgets, and workbooks, and all kinds of things to really establish your leadership position and make the transformation of becoming a publisher; that's really the new name of the game.
Catching readers who are orbiting at high speeds is also difficult, and you need to think beyond your own website and into the wonderful world of content marketing, which is diverse, as you can see. You also need to really engage your prospect customers with information that they want and need. SSometimes you might not be the best judge of what information people might want and need, so keep that in the back of your mind as you think about what you create and produce and publish.
Testing is the critical variable and it's all there for you. The technology is there with companies like Google that are offering Website Optimizer, an analytical tool that allow you to A/B test and multivariate test. Frankly, if you’re not testing, you're probably living in the dinosaur age and leaving money on the table with your pay-per-click campaigns and, really, any of your marketing effort.
The key seems to be finding the most efficient path to engagement though and that's what is difficult; turning browsers into believers and unbelievers into buyers and, really, fine-tuning that pipeline. You certainly want to engage customers off-site; that's getting more and more difficult to do. On the one hand, Google with releases like Panda that seems to be slapping us in the face as our content is distributed to a wide platform, and that's duplicate content. Yet, by the same token, Google wants us to have link popularity and to grow our link popularity.
So how you do that? We’re in a pickle, and it's tough to sort out those complexities. Scoring content for engagement is the critical element of content marketing. What are people responding to, what are they downloading, how do you track that through the sales funnel? That becomes the interesting challenge. So let's dive into some methodology that we use here at IdeaLaunch. It talks a little bit about the complex process that we follow when we create content for a customer.
I think that everybody really needs to dive into a process and whether this is it or not, we can sort that out later. Be net of it is, it has to be thought through; you need to curate content in the marketplace before you really write anything. Find out what the competition is creating, how much they’re publishing and what the frequency of that is. Content curation is becoming the part of the puzzle these days when you start trying to capture organic market share and deliver the performance you demand.
Content planning is what we’re going to focus on today the development of SEO plans and editorial plans and that of course encompasses keyword research and customer research and all kinds of neat stuff content creation is the hard part I've had many sessions talking about how to create great content how to find great writers that is an art in itself and something that is becoming increasingly challenging. Content optimization scoring content for SEO strength we’re going to talk about that a little bit today. Building links keyword silos optimization is really what needs to be part of any content marketing campaign finally distribution we talked about that a little bit and performance measurement all of which we’re going to talk about in in the subject of keyword research.
So, keyword research really fits into the whole SEO planning part of the equation here, so we’re going to focus on that and really try to dive deeply into what keyword research is. Why do you do it? What is its purpose? Are you just looking for individual keywords or do you have a plan, a strategy, a method behind the madness? The first step is really to build out your current keyword universe. What kind of keywords are driving traffic from the search engines? This is a customer of ours that has about 22,000 keywords that they drive traffic from; we simply went to their Google analytics account and started looking at all kinds of data regarding these keywords. How many visits does each keyword have? How many pages were viewed? What’s the average time on site, bounce rates, you get the idea.
There's a lot of data that you have within your own Google analytics that should be the first building block for you to begin assessing what you should write about, and what keywords should be included in that content. All of that requires quite a bit of research here. The second step is to really research the competitive landscape. Here, I’ve used and highly recommend a tool called SpyFu to go out and quickly, and almost instantly, find all of the keywords that not only your website is probably driving from the search engines, but your competitors’ sites are driving. SpyFu definitely tracks probably a billion plus keywords, but if you listen to Mike Roberts, whom I’ve done many presentations with on this monthly webinar, you’ll learn that, actually, there's a fairly small circle of keywords that are driving about 95 percent of the traffic to 95 percent of the sites. So, keep that in the back of your mind when you're looking at long-tail keywords. Certainly, we’re all fans of long-tail keywords; that’s probably why we’re on this call.
In step two here, you really need to quickly find out what are the major keywords that your competitors are driving organic traffic from the search engines; that it is as easy as one click, literally, within SpyFu. You type in the domain name of your competitor; it tells you how many organic keywords that SpyFu is picking up for that competitor and you can instantly export that to an Excel file to view all those keywords.
The third step is filtering. I’m going to show you, if I have time, some very advanced spreadsheets when I'm done with this particular methodology section. You can actually see some of these Excel spreadsheets that we put together in this five-step process I’m talking about here. Filtering is tough, it’s painful and it’s something that you need to do. Once you do all of your research, you find your keywords, you find your competitor’s keywords. Now, you’re in a position to start filtering, and you’re going to want to filter out the duplicates. You’re going to want to filter out any irrelevant keywords that you're not going to target for content creation, or don't want to go after, and you’re going to want to leave yourself with what we call your file keyword universe.
That is a very trimmed down version of what you want to target, and what you want to go after. I could talk with you at length about some of the different strategies that go into that final keyword universe list that you develop. Some of the things you want to keep in mind are number one, a balanced portfolio. You want a third of your keywords that you're targeting and going after to be impossible, where you're not even listed in the top 100. They have high search volume, so you certainly want to go after the impossible, but you also want another third of your keywords to be quite the opposite.
These are keywords where you’re currently in positions 11 through 50; maybe you're targeting them to get into that top 10 where, of course, you’re going to find that 85 to 90 percent of the traffic comes from the top 10. Let’s find what we call those low-lying fruit keywords and put those into your final keyword universe. The final third could be wildcards that are keywords that you are want to go after, or long-tail keywords, or golden keywords. Think hard about a portfolio that’s balanced and allows you to achieve the goals, and be strategic with your keyword research and performance goals.
So when you find your file keyword universe, 3,000 keywords as I suggested on the previous slide, you’re going to want to bend those and filter those down into particular keyword silos. This happens to be a keyword silo that we put together for one of our customers. These are the keyword silo names that you’re seeing here; there are about 20 of them, and you can quickly see that each keyword silo has between a small group of 25 keywords and a larger pool of 450 keywords. We've been very selective and very strategic with all of the keywords that are included in each individual keyword silo; there’s something relational about all those keywords that are in that silo.
Another important factor is that it’s possible, and sometimes this is difficult for some customers, to have exclusivity of each keyword silo, which allows you to be much more strategic each month when you start creating content, and optimizing and scoring that content, which I’ll talk about in a second. One of the major purposes of those keyword silos being so focused is so you can see how this now translates in content scoring. On the left is a list of particular topics that you might write about; on the right are both primary and secondary keywords that you want included, saying that article that's being developed.
Step five is looking closely at keyword groups within each keyword silo. This is a keyword silo that you saw from the previous example that we were using for one of our clients called “engineering,” and within this keyword silo we have different groups of keywords. Some of the keywords are their top 100 pay-per-click keyword phrases that they’re targeting both for organic and pay-per-click. Some of the keywords are in their top 100 search volume keywords that, again, they are targeting for SEO. Some are low-lying fruit; these are the keywords that we referred to that were in positions 11 through 50, and some of the keywords in this individual keyword are golden keywords.
These just happen to be five groups that we chose for this particular client that we wanted to target; these are fairly common groupings that we have when we do this keyword strategy and keyword SEO plan development for customers, but I think it's a good methodology and you get the idea. Ahere's a lot of different groups you could have that might cross-pollinate keywords throughout various silos, so let's now chime into some advanced technology since there's a lot of technology out there. This is a very short list; of course, WordTracker is on here, but there are a lot of great keyword research tools out there, and we would be doing a disservice to you if we didn't list some of these to you, and give you some great ideas on where to find great keyword research tools.
So, lots of them; explore this everyone. By the way, we’ll get an e-mail link out to this recorded presentation and a link to download this presentation after this webinar. So fear not, you don’t need to write too hard or scribble too hard; you’ll have access to this for those furious typers out there who are pounding keywords right now.
So, we could talk forever about tools. A couple of the flavors that you absolutely have to chime into and know about are the Google AdWords keyword tool that will provide great ideas for keywords, and the competitive nature of those keywords within the Google platform, which are probably fairly indicative of the whole marketplace. So certainly, you need to chime into Google AdWords. I mentioned SpyFu; I won’t spend too much time on this, but SpyFu does offer some great research tools, particularly some competitive analysis tools that I think you'll find helpful. Wordtracker, of course, has some great tools. This is a very unusual keyword research tool; it’s called their Question Search tool. I think it is a great opportunity to find keywords within these questions that might be great opportunities for you to create content, using these very keywords and actually optimizing pages for even these how-to questions and the keyword phrases featured in very popular questions.
We talked about keyword silos a lot, and you can see that my advanced strategy really steers people to develop these silos. What do you do with these silos? One example of what you can do with a keyword silo is to actually score any content that you're creating for a particular keyword silo. This is technology called WordVision, which is our own technology; big disclosure footnote there. Everyone on the phone can get a free trial of it for 90 days just by going over to WordVision. WordVision allows you to build in your silos and do lots of great stuff, and then score content for SEO strength for every article you create. You'll see later in this presentation that you can actually track the impact of that content you created and that SEO strategy you brought to the table, so it just provides a really, really cool way to do that.
So what does all this mean? If you do all this keyword research, how does this help your business? Let's talk about some cool ways that this strategy will really help you track the impact of the ROI of your keyword research that you do, and validate that this is worth the investment of time and energy to optimize your content, and build out these silos. This first report, I love this, is called our silo report. Basically, if you know all of the keyword silos you create for our technology platform, you can do this on your own as well with lots of other technology platforms.
The net of it is that looking at the current listing position of your website versus all the competitors you have gives you a feel for how much organic market share you have versus your competitors. So, with one keyword silo here called accessories, it’s got a super-high volume of 26,000 searches total for all the keywords in that silo, and it's got maximum and minimum pay-per-click prices so you can start to see the variations and the richness and the potential for that silo.
What our technology is doing here is showing how you're doing versus the competition for that particular keyword silo. I have a zero percent market share right now for this particular customer with the keyword silo accessories, whereas planning, another one of our keyword silos, is different. It's got a lower overall volume, but we currently have a 20 percent organic market share, which means that we're ahead of the competition 20 percent of the time for all of these keyword phrases, so you're starting to see how keyword silo development can help you on the performance end.
It can help you with scoring, as I mentioned, and it can help you with analysis of performance measurement. So another thing that you can do, and here we have a keyword silo called golden keywords that’s actually a group of keywords that translates across all of the silos where we’re looking at the performance of all of the keywords in that grouping called golden keywords. We can see again with WordVision technology that we can see listing positions every month; that’s September, October and November in this chart. We can see the current listing position for each of the individual keyword phrases in that position. We can see the trends; negative going down is bad, green going up is positive.
We can dig much deeper into each keyword if we wanted to, but you’re starting to get an idea for how you can start slicing and dicing the data once you have your groups set up and your silos set up. So, this is an overall organic market share report, which again shows that sort of percentage; green is good, red is bad. Here we’re comparing our client on “our wedding day” with “knot in wedding wire” and some other competitors, so we can see their organic market share versus their competitors. We can make one click on any of these, and go look at all of these keywords and really reverse engineer keyword silo development by grabbing one of our competitors that were raising our blood pressure and they’re beating us. We could look at everywhere we’re losing and say, “Let's go create silos and content around this niche that we’re losing.”
So, another way that we track keyword performance is looking at how much actual content we publish on our website. Then, we can look closely at what the impact was; not only with improved listing positions, but also with individual keyword silos. This particular keyword silo is called wedding planning content; I can see how my listing positions were impacted in Google. Also in WordVision, you can look at traffic; WordVision has a plug-in to your Google analytics account which allows you to see how much content you published. Again, this is overall on your website and therefore how much new increased traffic resulted, or in an individual keyword silo. How much content did I publish and what was the overall increase in traffic from all those keywords featured in that keyword silo?
So therein ends my illustrious presentation. I hope you enjoyed the show; I’m going to switch over to Larry and Will now. Give me one second and I’m also going to go start answering any questions that have come in this presentation. Notice that you can download a free copy of my 101 tips book and I’ve also got a trial going there. So without further ado, Will, Larry; take it away.
Will Eisner: Hey, thanks a lot, Byron. Hey everybody, this is Will; I’m here with Larry.
Larry Kim: Hey guys.
Will Eisner: We’re very excited to talk to you today about what we do for keyword research here at WordStream and our strategies for keyword research. That was great content, Byron. A lot of really valuable data in there that actually applies to some of the stuff that we’re going to be talking about in the next few minutes. Basically, what we would like to do in the next couple minutes is talk to you about how we do keyword research here at WordStream. We’re pretty good at keyword research at WordStream; we make tools for it and we also do it ourselves. We’re going to tell you our three-step plan for what we do when we want to do new keyword research activity. We’re going to show you a little bit of some of the tools we use here, and then we hope to have some time at the end to take some of your questions and just talk about stuff regarding keywords.
Larry Kim: As Will was saying, there’s going to be some overlap with some of the processes that Byron was talking about, but also some small differences and different perspectives in certain areas.
Will Eisner: So before we get started, let’s introduce ourselves quickly. Larry.
Larry Kim: I’m the founder and CEO of WordStream, we’re a keyword research company and it’s great to be here.
Will Eisner: Hi everybody, I’m Will Eisner. I’m the VP of products here at WordStream; that’s a picture of me in some tower somewhere. Here at WordStream, what we do is help people get found on the Internet with tools for PPC and also for keyword research, and we’re going to specifically be talking about keyword research today. From our perspective at WordStream, keyword research is a game; it’s a game where you're competing with people and you’re competing to get your content shown. So Larry, what are the key tenets of this game?
Larry Kim: It’s a bit of a guessing game. Every month there’s like billions and billions of searches happening on search engines and some of those are going to be relevant to your business. I think the objective is to anticipate all of those different searches and then to cast as wide a nest as possible to rank on as many of those as you can.
Will Eisner: It’s also a game because you're competing against other people.
Larry Kim: Yeah, of course; it’s high stakes. If you’re not ranking on those words, your competition usually is.
Will Eisner: Right; but of course, if you didn’t think that you wouldn’t be on this call, so let’s jump into some of our methodology for what we do for keyword research. There’s basically a three-step process that we’re going to take you through now; it involves finding the keywords, grouping them together and taking action. Step one is figuring out what people are searching for with your stuff and there’s a couple of key activities here, so let’s go through them all.
Larry Kim: Yeah, and Byron covered a bunch of these like brainstorming, web analytics, all of the keyword suggestion tools. One of the keyword tools that we’ll be talking a little bit about is WordStream’s Keyword Research suite, which has a trillion-keyword database. It blows the other ones away and as a thank you for sticking around until the end of this presentation, we’ll be giving out a nice coupon code.
Will Eisner: Right, which you can use after your free trial. But basically, the goal of step one is to get a big list of all of the stuff people are looking for. Some of it’s in your head, some of it you can get as Larry said through analytics, through search query reports, and some through tools. Okay, so now you’ve got your big list of keywords, but you can’t take action with just a big list. You’ve got to create what Byron refers to as silos or something like that. We call them niches; why can’t you use this big list?
Larry Kim: Well, this is an area where people get tripped up on. They think, “Oh, I have all of these keywords, and I’m just going to jam them all into one page, and I’m going to rank on everything, and of course, that’s not true. You have to break them up into smaller silos or themes or niches or whatever you want to call them, and then create targeted content; one for each target and it’s easier just to show you this process of “nichefication.” In this example, I’ve got a big list of Xbox related words, Xbox this, Xbox that, and I want to do some categorization work; breaking like words into smaller groupings.
The first thing you can do is cross anything off the list that’s not relevant to your list. If you’re not selling Xbox 360 cheats, you can get the heck out of there. Next, there’s a bunch of words having to do with “console” or “consoles” and I think we should probably group those together. You’ll notice plurals and variations and that kind of stuff, word order; as long as they speak to the same theme or intent, I’ll add them to the same bucket. Next, there’s a bunch of game related keywords like “Xbox 360 games.” We’re kind of in these niches every time; there’s always a primary niche keyword like Xbox 360 games and then there’s these supporting keywords like “360 games.” It’s a little bit like what Byron was talking about with golden keywords and the like where it’s using different names for some smarter ideas, but I think you get the process of breaking up one big list into smaller, more manageable niches.
Will Eisner: All right; so there’s a couple of different ways to break things up and you just talked about a manual method. Now, how do I know what makes up a good niche? A lot of times, people will ask us what the appropriate size of a niche is, or how big or how small it should be. What are the guidelines for determining whether you’ve broken things up into the right kind of niches?
Larry Kim: I think Byron kind of talked about listening to the wants and needs of searchers. That’s exactly what we should be doing when we’re trying to create keyword niches. Whenever someone does a keyword search on Google, they have a question in mind or some specific pain point. They’re looking for an answer or they’re looking to find something. The key to making a good keyword niche is to look at the different search queries and try to infer the intent of the searcher. As long as the intent behind these different searches is the same and they’re typing it different ways in different orders or in different variations, then I think that it's a good niche. Conversely, if you’re looking for different things, then get those keywords the heck out of there and into different niches.
I think this might be one area where we disagree a little bit; Byron seemed like he was suggesting that you hit those keywords, the golden keywords at the top of the list or whenever. I’ve found, this is my experience, to hit these mid-tail keywords you’re not going to get the same volume as some of those super high-volume keywords. I think you're more likely to be able to actually rank on those, especially if you’re just getting started, like if your website is Wikipedia or Google. Some of those big-head terms are a little competitive and so just to give you an example: “buy Xbox 360 games.” That seems applicable; you’ll get a good amount of searches. It’s not a 10-word keyword or anything, and yet, it’s highly relevant and targeted to your business.
Will Eisner: All right, so when you’re creating the niches, the key is to make them relevant to some particular user intent; not the number of keywords or the size. There are no particular keywords for that?
Larry Kim: Yeah, that’s right. It can be a big or small niche just as long as the keywords speak to the same idea.
Will Eisner: All right. So now that we’ve created these niches, let’s talk about why it matters that we created them. And what it has to do really is about relevance; the whole point of keyword niches is about relevance.
Larry Kim: Right. Obviously, content that’s written around a specific theme is more likely to search to open the search results. Basically, it matters because we’re going to be breaking up your big list into different niches, and then we’re going to use that as a way to manage our workflow. This whole process of creating big lists and breaking them up; that’s what I refer to building a taxonomy, trying to discover all the different ways and understanding all the different facets of the words that the people are using to find your stuff.
Will Eisner: All right. So I’ve got a whole bunch of nicely relevant targeted niches and I want to start taking action on both the SEO and the PPC fronts. Let’s talk about how I can take a niche and properly apply it for SEO purposes.
Larry Kim: Sure. So in this example, the idea is to just create one piece of content for a niche that you identify and in this particular example, it’s Wikipedia and the niche is “venture capital.” The primary keyword is very focused; it’s part of the URL. It’s also in the title and first sentence. Then we sprinkle in the supporting keywords; for “venture capital” it’s “VC.” With those mid and long-tail keywords, it will strengthen the overall theme of the page, but it also will allow you to cast a wider net. Sometimes, people search for things in very weird caveman English; they’ll search for something like “VC fund best venture capital Boston.” It’s not necessary to have an exact match of the word you're looking for in the copy of your document, but what really helps is if you have the different word modifiers like “fund.” Keywords are used in conjunction with it, so that you’re basically casting a wider net to allow your content to not only show up on that primary keyword, but also cast a wider net to show up on others.
Will Eisner: So basically, for SEO purposes. the page title and the page subject is mapped to the category of the niche itself. The content of the page you want to get by taking out the terms from the niche, sprinkling that throughout. and it all adds up to emphasize the strength of that niche title. All right, so that’s basically what there is for using it for SEO, isn’t it?
Larry Kim: Yeah, it’s another key to having broken up the content to these granular pieces. It’s really important to do an internal linking like using the primary keywords; it’s like anchor text just like the way Wikipedia does it. Did you ever notice how Wikipedia is always number one on whatever you’re searching for? It has to do with the structure of breaking up the site and so many granular topics, not one big topic.
Will Eisner: Right. So if you were using a niche like “Xbox hard drive” like you had before, you want the page title, the anchor links that point to that page to all the Xbox hard drives and then you want the subject to use those other terms you grouped into the niche. All right, so that’s niching for SEO. Let’s talk about how you can use the exact same niches for PPC.
Larry Kim: Yeah, I guess you guys are probably all SEO professionals, but there’s some really neat stuff with the work that you do in creating your taxonomy. Creating the keyword research is recyclable; you can actually use the same work that you’re doing with PPC. Why the heck should I be bothered with PPC? When Google updates their algorithms and stuff, it’s sometimes nice to have a little bit of diversity in terms of different traffic sources just to diversify the risk or whatever, and the idea here is to keep those same niches. In page searches, the key to success has to do with the relevant quality score, which determines your positioning and pricing, Look on the left side; that’s a terrible list. They’re all over the place; dog, cat, snake, guppies and the ad doesn’t match any of those words. In the middle, we’re getting a little better we’re trying to use more closely-related keywords and group them together and try to reflect that on the ad text but you can still do a little better. On the right side, it’s specific “can cat food” keywords and we’re sending them to the right page and very relevant ad copy. So, all I was trying to say was the work you do in keyword research obviously applies to both page and organic search, and it’s like a two-for-one special.
Will Eisner: Yeah, it’s all about relevance in both cases. I would point out that bad list we have there is not some theoretical case; we see tons of PPC accounts that have adverbs that are disparately grouped like that and it hurts you, because of the lack of relevance. So, okay; we want to create these big lists of keywords and we want to group them into relevant themes and we’ve talked a little bit about ways to do it manually; but of course, there are better ways to do it better, faster and it will let you spend more time doing the core work of creating content. Well, let’s talk about some of those tools now.
Larry Kim: Great; so the first one on the screen here is called the WordStream Keyword Suggestion Tool. I’m biased because I helped build this thing, but I think it's the world's best keyword suggestion tool, especially for people doing SEO. Some of the differentiating factors include the depth and breadth of the keywords contained in the database. So we’ve got 1.3 trillion search queries in this thing, unique search queries; a trillion meaning a thousand billions here. That will give you a much higher granularity and higher resolution into exactly how people are searching for the words that you’re trying to target, and another couple of differentiators here; we try to categorize the keywords, we provide the actual Google monthly search volume, the true Google competition estimates as well as an estimated average CPC. That’s what people are typically paying for on those clicks on average, and this not a whole key-invented metrics. This comes directly from a partnership with Google, but the difference here is that Google’s keyword suggestion tool is more of a page search keyword suggestion tool; ours is much more of a mid and long-tail visibility tool.
Will Eisner: Yeah. So you can see that if you’re going to be getting 10,000 keywords for a particular query, there’s going to be a lot of juicy mid-tail keywords in there that you can then group into valuable niches. Okay, so one tool is the keyword tool. Now, the point out here is that you can try this for free right at our website wordstream.com/keywords; give it a shot. Okay, so we’ve talked a lot today about niches; so what about our niche finder?
Larry Kim: Yeah, so a lot of times I talk to SEOs they’re using spreadsheets to try to run analyses on different keywords and that’s very common; I see it all the time. One of our innovations was this technology called the Niche Finder and the way that works is very similar to a keyword suggestion tool, except that it adds a layer of niche finding, so rather than seeing a list of 100,000 words having to do with ski jackets, the software analyzes the composition of that big list of thousands of keywords and tries to dissect it into different topics and subtopics on the fly automatically.
We leverage different parsing technologies to try to take into consideration small variations like “men’s” with an apostrophe “s” or misspellings of “spider” or “norse based music” without a space, so that it’s “norsebased” as one word. We try to figure out different variations on a theme and then we cluster them together into these different niches and just like how Byron was using a lot of analytics in terms of trying to figure out what to do, what’s a good niche to focus on, like we would be able to show you the Google multi-search volume for those particular keywords.
Will Eisner: Right; and so this niche finder is kind of an unlimited source of valuable niches for when you’re trying to think of different topics that you might be able to place on. You give us the start term; we give you in this case up to 301 niches for this “ski jacket” term, and then the detailed keywords for each of those niches that you can start working on.
Larry Kim: Say that “ski jackets” is too broad a term; maybe your site just isn’t ready to rank on terms like “ski jacket” because maybe you’re just getting started or something. One tactic that you can do is enter a more specific term like “women’s ski jacket” into our niche finder, and it’ll find all the topics and subtopics around that more narrow topic. That means there’s going to be less competition and it will be more likely that you can actually rank on those types of words, because what’s the point of creating content if there’s no hope? It’s a suicide mission if it’s too competitive.
Will Eisner: Right; so you can have success by going a little bit longer-tail with some of your words, especially if you’re not going to be able to place on some of these market terms. Again, you can try this for free on our website; you just try it and see what kind of niches you can find. The last tool that we want to show you out of our keyword research tools that we use is called the Keyword Grouper. So Larry, let’s talk about this one.
Larry Kim: It’s kind of a magical box where you just dump in any list of keywords and out comes your niches. So, it’s like the opposite of Niche Finder; the Niche Finder starts by giving a seed term like “ski jackets” or whatever, and then we reveal to you what the niches are. Here, you dump in your list of 100,000 keywords, and then we discover how to best score and organize data. That’s a pretty hard thing to do in Excel because there are just so many variations of words and different spellings, where technology is nice to leverage.
Will Eisner: So let’s say you’ve got a search query report with a lot of keywords; tens of thousands of keywords. That’s very valuable data that you can turn into valuable niches that you know is already relevant to your content.
Larry Kim: That’s because the words that you’re paying money for like in AdWords or something where people are actually clicking on your ad. Why not try to rank on those and then see how it’s wrong?
Will Eisner: Right; but to do that, you have to group them and to do that manually, especially once you get past thousands of keywords, is extremely time consuming. So, this will take a few seconds and again, you can try this one for free on our website, wordstream.com/keywordgrouper. So, let's recap the key three steps that we do here to be successful at keyword research. The first thing is figuring out all the different things that people are using to look for you.
Larry Kim: Be specific; be relevant. Make sure that you build as big a list as you can, because it’s a guessing game. If you forget certain words, then you won’t show up on those.
Will Eisner: Step two is to create niches. You can do them manually, or you can use a tool. What’s the key to niches?
Larry Kim: It has to do with listening to the wants and needs of the user in terms of the intent of the search, and breaking this stuff up into categories, and matching them up with the appropriate content like blog posts, or a product page, or a solution page.
Will Eisner: Right; and that brings us to step three. You can now use these valuable keyword niches for SEO purposes by creating themed pages around niches, or for PPC pages by using these niches to create ad groups and associated keyword lists.
Larry Kim: This is not a one-time thing, obviously. It’s continuous optimization; you’re continuously creating new ad groups or content pages, and iterating or finding the next one.
Will Eisner: Great. That’s how we do it here, and this is our recommendation for people as well. So, the tools that we showed you today, as I mentioned, are available for free on website wordstream.com. They’re also offered as part of an offering we call the Keyword Research suite, which starts at something less than a dollar a day for access to all of these tools. However, if you use this wonderful coupon code that we have up here that will expire at the end of the day; you can get 20 percent off. So, if you go over to wordstream.com, and you try it, and you like the tools, and you see the value, you can get a discount from us to get access to the full set of the tools.
Larry Kim: Give it a try. Try to get ad words, and you’ll see 800 times more density and resolution even in the mid and long-tail keywords. The difference is a big deal.
Will Eisner: Yes, so that basically sums it up for us. We want to thank everybody and at this point, we’ll hand it back to Byron.
Byron White: Great guys; really fantastic presentation. Honestly, I've not had any idea that WordStream had that depth. I have heard so much chatter in the marketplace, but this demonstration really brought some incredible things to light. I wanted to ask you about grouping because your grouper is really staggering and remarkable in the following way: I talked in the early part of the presentation about the importance of surveying the competitive landscape, and assembling lots of competitive information on your competitors for driving traffic. If I have this right, I could dump in 50,000 keywords into Grouper or is there a cap on it? That’s my first question. What’s that?
Larry Kim: 100,000.
Byron White: 100,000 is the cap, okay? Then, have Grouper break out the categories. How does it do that? Is it only looking at the actual keyword phrase itself, or is it somehow spidering the connection of all these keyword phrases? Could you explain a little bit about how Grouper does that grouping?
Larry Kim: Sure. It’s examining the intent of the different searches by using a linguistic analysis of technologies and then bucketing them according to the intent behind those searches. Additionally, it can leverage any signal that you provide. So, for example, Adword’s search query report, if that’s where your list is coming from, or some Google analytics dump you might have both the keyword and the search volume where that number could be 100, or 10, or 5; 5 searches, 10 searches, 20 searches. If you enter in a comma-separated value like “keyword, search volume,” you have different metrics like golden keywords or whatever. If you put in additional metrics, it’ll weight those accordingly because a good niche has to be relevant to a specific topic, but it should also be weighted according to its volume or its competitiveness.
Byron White: Interesting. My next question is one that I think will be pretty impossible for you to answer, but I’m famous for asking really tough questions, so let me throw this out. When we look at traditional keyword research and competitive analysis of individual keywords, we continue to look at search volume and pay-per-click prices are standard metrics for comparison analysis. We can certainly dig deeper into the linguistics as you described, of actual phrases to help us parse out different groupings. I continue to see a problem, and that is, we’re not looking, for example, at the current performance of that individual website for that particular keyword phrase and identifying, for example, the low-lying fruit as I mentioned earlier, for one specific example. Do you ever imagine WordStream using that information? Is there other data other than search volume and pay-per-click price that we can look at to try to help with keyword research and strategy? I told you it would be impossible.
Larry Kim: That is a good question; well, okay. What was really interesting was when we saw you going over the WordVision stuff; how you take into account not just the keywords and the research and stuff, but also competitive factors and stuff like that. Implicit in the kind of keyword research we do here is some stuff that has to do with your website, because we so often start with search query reports or organic search reports, both of which help identify the low-hanging fruit like you mentioned. So in that sense, as well as using keyword volumes, that helps us get some stuff that’s not just generic keyword research, but is specific to the sites that we’re working with.
It’s true that there are a lot of other signals that we could leverage, but I think a little different approach in that I think that you don’t want to overcomplicate stuff. There’s going to be a point of diminishing returns as we build this model of adding competitive signals, and your page rank, and all the link profiles of all the other pages that are ranking for that term, and your analytics data and conversion data. You’ve got to keep your eye on the prize, so you have to spend time doing content creation. I feel like you can tip the scale a little too far; too much analysis and not enough doing. That’s not really a great answer, but I also think a common sense guess of what I think you can rank on, and what I think will work, and try that and see what happens.
Byron White: It's been a difficult challenge to really make it easy to figure out what keywords to target for either SEO or pay-per-click. With so many choices and so little time, one of the factors that actually someone asked about was the competitive field you had. How competitive is it to achieve top listings in the search engines or to have success? Can you talk a little bit about your technology and how you figure in competitive nature?
Larry Kim: It has to do with the number of the search results; it has to do with the number of advertisers competing on that keyword; it has to do with the average cost per clicks as well as the word length and other factors.
Byron White: Yeah, you can see how broad that term is; it relates to the last word. Competition once again could go to search volume and pay-per-click price but competition could also be drilled down into that individual website and how much content, for example, there is on that website currently, and how much content they would need to achieve the top organic listing position that's the crux of the challenge right there. If you just take SEO, for example, and you say, “Okay, I'm trying to my site top listings for lots of keyword phrases right?” It’s a common theme, but really the questions you have to ask for each individual keyword are, “Okay, for that keyword, how much content and how frequently would I need to publish content using that keyword phrase? How many links would I need from other websites to go to that phrase?” Those are the big three questions that you need to ask, probably, with each individual keyword phrase you’re targeting. Is that even possible to ever answer those questions?
Larry Kim: I think that these pieces are just estimates, like proxies for competition. Everyone is going to know the strength of their site, and what kind of terms that they ranked on successfully, and where the suicide missions are. If you combine an estimate plus their gut instinct, I think you get part of the way there.
Byron White: Tough challenges. Let’s see; we have some really good questions that are coming in here. Let me just read another one: Does your software keep an archive of the usage searches per client?
Will Eisner: Do you mean an archive that you can refer to later?
Byron White: I'm thinking is it metered? Are you metering people with the way that they conduct searches?
Will Eisner: The way that our product works is that for what you buy as a subscriber, you’re not metered for normal activity.
Larry Kim: Obviously, if you going to try to scrape the thing, the technology will kick in.
Will Eisner: Yeah, something might happen if you set up a PHP script; but no, of course, if you’re just using it as a regular human there shouldn’t be any problems.
Byron White: There you go; beware hackers. What does the monthly search volume field represent; broad matches, phrases, exact matches? Can I choose which one I want?
Larry Kim: It’s exact match.
Byron White: Okay; and do you want to explain to the people who may not know what the variations are for broad versus exact? I believe there are four different ways you can slice and dice volume. Could you explain a little bit?
Larry Kim: Sure, broad matches mean searches containing that word or its misspellings and synonyms. Phrase match has to do with synonyms containing that keyword in that order, and specifically how it’s written out. Exact match means how many times that specific keyword and nothing else was searched on.
Will Eisner: So let’s real quickly run through that example. Let’s say if I was looking up “fish tank abroad.” If I had a broad match, “aquarium” might trigger that keyword but if I have a phrase match, “fish tank supplies” might trigger it but aquarium wouldn’t. And if I have exact match, it’ll only respond to the exact search “fish tank.”
Larry Kim: Usually, the SEOs are more interested in the exact matches, because they’re targeting specific keywords on their web pages where it’s page search history. Google loosely matches the keywords in their account with the search queries. They’re more interested in a broad match because they want to know the maximum possible reach they can get, including synonyms and terms.
Will Eisner: That’s why we use exact match here.
Byron White: Terrific; another question on competition. Is competition just the info from Google, or is that calculated by you in some way?
Larry Kim: Well, a large signal of that is from Google, but then we leverage some additional signals that I won’t disclose. If you run it, there will be a very good alignment, directional alignment, with Google AdWords, keywords or whatever you call them.
Will Eisner: Got it. Is there a tool that is available to show you how a prospective content change will alter your search engine position?
Larry Kim: No.
Byron White: A forecaster of sorts.
Will Eisner: Right, our keyword research suite doesn’t have a function that will do that. I should mention that, slightly related to this topic, there is a part of the keyword research tool that we didn’t mention, which is a Firefox plug-in that helps you put these keywords and stuff directly into your content as you are offering popular CMS platforms, but no, we don’t have some kind of predictor where you put in some different words, and try and guess how it’s going to affect it. That’s a pretty hard to do, because you have to really get inside Google’s algorithms. I’ve found this thing where there are rules of thumb; I’ve done this in Word, where I take an existing page that ranks well for a certain head term, and then I just sprinkle in long-tail modifiers on that page. I took a 10 to 15 percent boost in terms of traffic, because I’m now eligible to rank on a whole bunch of other long-tail phrases, but it’s more from just experience as opposed to actual predictive numbers.
Byron White: To chime in to that question; prediction is difficult, but performance measurement is actually getting easier and better with tools like WordVision. That’s the tool we created, so the net of it is, you're doing a huge project for a Fortune 500 company, and you're creating 1,200 assets in the course of the year. Trust me, that client wants to know the impact of the content you publish. Great, you’re going to do this planning, and keyword silos, and I’m going to score content for SEO. What is going to be the impact? What is the ROI measurement? What are you going to show me every month? That's really why we designed and built WordVision; to actually correlate the content assets published on a particular domain name with the impact of that content published. I showed a few screen grabs there, but when you dig down deeper, you see where all of this content that you score in WordVision becomes the means by which to track the impact in the ROI. What we do is when you're looking at keywords with say, WordVision, you can actually go see a little column that says how many articles have I published that have featured that keyword phrase, right? So, that's beginning to show you whether you're doing a good job to create content around keyword phrases.
Will Eisner: Right, so that’s a great complement to the kind of keyword research that the keyword research suite provides, which is letting you know the actual real-world impact.
Byron White: Yep, yep; and which search terms to go after. Again, Grouper is a jaw dropper there. I can't wait to get my hands on that, and start using that every day because that's what our editors and SEO specialists really need is, “What are the groups, how do you set the performance up?” Certainly, selecting the keywords, and that's really where relevance comes in. By the way, relevance; super big challenge and yet, opportunity. Have you guys seen any tools that measure correlation, and actually grade pay-per-click ads and the landing pages, or have you developed any tools that do that?
Larry Kim: Well, Google has something called quality score, and that really tries to score from 0 to 10. It gives you an indication of the alignments of the keywords and landing page.
Byron White: Yeah, so that’s what quality score is. I would add that this is something that we’re keenly interested in here; more on our PPC product, which is not something we talked about today.
Will Eisner: Today, yeah.
Byron White: Helping with relevance and landing pages, and all that’s entailed there. Well, Larry and Will, we've reached our hour here. I want to thank you both for chiming into this great informational and educational webinar; thank you so much.
Will Eisner: Thanks Byron, we had a great time.
Byron White: Thank you everyone, for your great questions today and again, the WordStream opportunity is up on the screen there. Please take advantage of that great opportunity and overall, if anyone has any questions or interest in getting a hold of you guys, you didn't put your research up. Did you want to reach out and tell somebody who they can get a hold of at your company if they have questions about the product?
Will Eisner: We’re on Twitter, at wordstream.
Byron White: Perfect, great.
Will Eisner: Hold on; I will show it in a second for those people that are hanging on; there we go.
Byron White: Perfect.
Will Eisner: At wordstream and wordstream.com; and of course you can just go to wordstream.com and contact us.
Byron White: Right on. Larry, Will; thanks again so much, thanks everyone for listening in, hope you enjoyed another great content marketing webinar by IdeaLaunch. Thanks again, everybody for listening in; until next month, we’ll see you. Happy July 4, for those of you in the States and hope you enjoyed it. See you next month. Thanks guys.
Will Eisner: Thanks Byron.
Byron White: Right on.