There are a lot of different ways to conduct keyword research. Too often, companies will focus on words that show good demand, even if that word from an intent standpoint does not map to their products and services. Even worse, some companies will just want to rank high for a high-volume keyword, even though they’re really a fish out of water. Search marketing has been called the database of intent. Here are some tips that will help you look beyond just the monthly demand, but also at the “intent” behind a search.

Your traditional keyword research model probably looks something like this:

  1. Keyword – the keyword being researched
  2. Demand – number of searches per month at a given search engine (e.g. Google)
  3. Brand or Non-Brand – whether the keyword utilizes a brand name or phrase

It’s fairly straightforward to create a spreadsheet with these columns that will drive a discussion about which words to focus on. However, applying a more strategic level of thought to this will help a lot of companies get out of the weeds and begin looking at how this data can map to their business priorities and objectives. For example, there are several other data points you should be looking at (provided that you have access to this information):

  1. Internal Searches – provides insight into how consumers are looking for products or services once they have engaged with the website
  2. Organic Search Engine Referrals – number of visits per month to the website from a given search engine (e.g. Google)
  3. Paid Search Engine Referrals – number of visits per month to the website from a given search engine advertising campaign (e.g. Google AdWords)

Once you have this data, you can take it to the next level by categorizing and grouping the terms that are similar. This will help you identify themes or topic areas, which, as I mentioned above, will help you define what the searcher’s intent is. What exactly do they want to do? By expanding the topical areas, the researcher is able to assess searcher interest from an industry perspective rather than a single company or product perspective. Further, by applying semantic topics and subtopics to each keyword, the industry data as a whole can be analyzed by specific areas of interest.

Let’s say you are the owner of an athletic club. You know that people are always looking for ways to lose weight. Instead of having a list of keywords and making a web page dedicated to each keyword, look to define these different topics and themes.

You might find that there were 22 keywords that could be categorized under the topic “increase endurance”.  Another 14 keywords could be listed under the “core workouts” theme. Yet another set of words could be categorized under “burn fat” topic. You can then apply this to your site architecture planning. Create a resource center on your site for the main topics, optimize that landing page for the general themes, and then provide articles and other content that is for the more specific long-tail keywords.

That’s not all your keyword research can do for you. If you think about it, the results of traditional and basic keyword research can be applied to a myriad of marketing efforts, whether traditional or online. Further, the results can serve to drive new campaigns, or to complement existing campaigns.

Some examples:

  • Topical demand data validates customer interest in products/services
  • Topical demand data serves to allocate marketing budgets to areas of peak customer interest
  • Brand term demand data validates whether recent product launches and or active campaigns are creating a “buzz”.
  • Keywords can help influence the names of products or even the theme of your next advertising strategy

So – take your keyword research to the next level. Don’t look at it as strictly an “SEO thing”. This data is valuable information not only for your search efforts, but it can help inform just about everything going on in your marketing mix!

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: All Things SEO Column | Channel: SEO | How To: SEO | Search Marketing: Search Term Research

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About The Author: is Regional Director of Client Strategy at Global Strategies International, an Enterprise Search Marketing Agency.

Connect with the author via: Email



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  • http://TomDemers TomDemers

    Hey Damien,

    Nice article: the concept of themeing and effective information architecture is one of the most over-looked and often has one of the largest impact. The thing I love about strong information architecture is that it tends to be a force multiplier: if you have sound, scalable keyword targeting and information architecture it improves the amount of search traffic you can expect for every piece of content you publish.

    Our software’s designed to do exactly this; if you have some time I think you might find a couple of our free tools interesting:
    http://www.wordstream.com/keyword-niche-finder/
    http://www.wordstream.com/keyword-grouper/

    Thanks Damien!

    Tom

  • http://thunderseo.com MoniqueTheGeek

    Damien,

    Great post! We do a lot of Keyword Research at our company, and I’m always looking for new tips and tricks to make our findings more fine-tuned. I really like the point about internal searches on a website. I think it would be great to compare the internal searches on your website to the keywords you actually want to rank for and find a balance between the two. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

 

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