My thoughts on keyword research if we may…

Andreas Voniatis, 2012-04-22

Keyword research is the cornerstone for many SEOs in the media industry, which is a big step into the unknown if you have no previous experience or intel to go on such as:

Analytics – seeing the search phrases your visitors actually type in to reach your pages of content.

Site Search – what internal searches were made on your site, which is great as this is usually in response to your content (navigation or landing page) not meeting the visitors needs in the first place.

Organisation data – products or services that usually sell perhaps.  This could include online or offline data such as survey results which capture the phrases or questions your customers or would be prospects may mention in your company’s interactions with the public.  What about the questions asked in forums regarding your industry or market?

Ultimately, the goal of the search engines is to return pages that satisfy the user’s query.  Thus it is highly important to have content that meets that need by listening to your customers, the public, your suppliers, employees on the ground – anyone with a stake in the business process.

The old model for SEOs would be to smash Google Adwords with a list of keywords brainstormed from the newly won client’s current website navigation and landing pages (usually based around the products and services they sell), check the rankings, see where there is the most search demand and target those phrases.

A more sensible lot would use those keywords and run an optimised PPC keyword campaign and see what converts, gets clicks and impressions.

Effective keyword research can take many forms depending on your business model.  If it follows the affiliate model, then you may consider the following approach:

1. Dump data from your affiliate networks including confirmed conversions, earnings per click, conversion rate – you’re looking to identify the highest earnings per click for a robust number of conversions so that you distill it down to a decent list.  The conversions per click will come in handy later.

2. Raid the GA (Google Analytics) – You’ve got the merchants worth chasing so start building your RegEx to filter the organic search phrases on the ones that matter not restricting the variants.  What do the variants tell you?  Do your users stick in things like ’2012′ or your main product ‘for blah blah’ perhaps?  Ask yourself, understand the visitor/user in terms of what it is they’re looking for.

3. Rank and Content check – Now use the list in GA to evaluate your content.  Do you rank against these variations in key phrases?  Do you have decent content already?  Is there something you can do to make it more interesting, more viral?  An infographic, or viral perhaps?  Could a competition be created and sponsored by the brand your promoting?

The aim here is to ensure you’re developing content for your users, but also to maximise the resource in terms of social media and link outreach, working with your own affiliates.

However the ultimate has to be creating your own phrases via your own branded content so you can own your own space.  With great content amplified by a supporting online marketing infrastructure that includes SEO you can build your own brand which drives peculiar search phrases that are unique to you.

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