Looking to do search term research? Below are articles covering the topic. But first, here are some tools you might want to consider:

Free Tools

Google AdWords Keyword Tool: Enter a search term or terms, and you’ll be shown other keywords related to that term. You can then sort keywords in terms of search volume popularity.

Google Trends: Got some terms in mind and wondering how they’ve been trending, such as becoming more or less popular? Google Trends provides a way to go back in time and chart keywords, based on the accumulated search data that Google sees. Also see Google Meme: Hot Trends Added To Google Trends, which explains more about the day-to-day reporting you can get from Google Trends.

Wordtracker Free Keyword Suggestion Tool: Enter a term and get a list of 100 terms related to (and including it), ranked by daily popularity. Data is based on Wordtracker’s search term data collected from the Dogpile and Metacrawler meta search engines. Wordtracker also offers a much more robust fee-based keyword research tool.

Trellian Free Search Term Suggestion Tool: As with Worktracker above, enter a term and get back a list of 100 terms related to and including it. They’ll be ranked by how often they’re searched for each year, rather than each day. Data comes from a variety of search engines. Trellian Keyword Discovery is fee-based tool hitting the same database and providing more features.

SEO Book Keyword Suggestion Tool: Taps into the Yahoo tool above and provides links and information to many of the other tools also listed above, so that you can get more information directly from them. A variety of other keyword tools are also offered.

Other Tools

Hitwise Search Intelligence: Provides the ability to tap into Hitwise’s database of how people search, based on ISP data it gathers. Offered on a custom pricing basis. Hitwise Keyword Intelligence offers fewer features but is also available for a lower, fixed cost.

comScore qSearch: Allows you to tap into comScore’s database of search activity, gathered from a large panel of web users that it monitors.

eBay Marketplace Research: Mine data on how people are searching at eBay, for a fee.

Good Keywords: Free software for Windows designed to help with keyword lists.

Google Webmaster Central: Provides a way to see the top search terms that are sending you traffic, according to Google.

See also the Stats: Search Behavior area of Search Engine Land for tools that let you discover what people are searching for in general at particular search engines, plus how people search overall.

Priceless Keyword Research Data You Already Have – But Never Use

It is easy to lose sight of your customers when doing keyword research by relying on tools. These tools are not going to spend money with your company; tools just show you the most popular phrases regardless if your customer’s actually use these words or not. One of the best sources for keyword research is your customer’s own words. Here are a few simple ways to conduct research by just examining your customer’s information. Gathering The Data The first step is to gather the data in a single place so that you can analyze the information. There are generally a few places where you ca [...]


Of SEO And Spaghetti Sauce

I can virtually guarantee that you aren't satisfying at least one major segment of your customers. Did you know that it took until 1989 for chunky tomato pasta sauce to come out? A guy by the name of Howard Moskowitz cracked this code for the Prego brand while they were trying desperately to defeat Ragu, the champion of pasta sauce at the time. Until then, companies were looking for the "perfect" pasta sauce, much like we seek the "perfect" architecture, interface, product photography, shopping cart, landing page, etc. It was Howard who pointed out that they shouldn't be looking for the per [...]


Adchemy Promises Better Search ROI Through Intent-Based Ad Copy And Landing Pages

Billing itself as one of the "best kept secrets in Silicon Valley," Adchemy is a technology provider that promises to help search marketers "dynamically" create more relevant ad copy and landing pages at scale. The company recently released its WordMap application, which is intended for very large campaigns with millions of keywords but where the ad copy and landing pages are more general and thus unable to reflect the variety and nuance of the more specific associated keywords. Adchemy says that it can "dynamically generate tens of thousands of paid-search ads directly related to intent [...]


You Say Law Firm, I Say Lawyer

You have a dilemma: you are considering a couple of keyword phrases that are similar. How do you choose, and does it matter? It often does. In this analysis, I show that consumer search behavior can be different depending upon how they start their search. Here I contrast the phrase law firms with lawyer to show that consumers engage in either seven or nine distinct categories of search behavior depending upon which phrase they use when searching for legal services. It's often useful to contrast two complementary search phrases to show that user intent can be significantly different, depending [...]


Study: Three-Word Queries Drive Most SEO Traffic

Ad network Chitika has published interesting findings from an examination of a whole lot of search-driven ad impressions. Specifically, "Chitika looked at a sample of 41,103,403 impressions of search traffic coming into their network between June 13 - June 19." The company found that 26 percent of (organic) search-driven traffic was the result of "three-word searches."  Here's the full breakdown of organic search volume by query length: Three words: 26 percent Two words: 19 percent Four words: 17 percent One word 14 percent Chitika added that "any query beyond five words wi [...]


The Giant List Of Keyword Tools

We’ve talked a lot about keywords in the last few weeks. We went over how to drill down and uncover your core list and then how to take those top terms and generate many variations of those terms using keyword modifiers. At this point, you should have a fairly well-developed keyword list, but there’s always a chance to expand and find new terms, new iterations, new misspellings, new topics, etc. One of the most common questions I am asked is about which tools I use for keyword generation. Well, here you are! Right from my own Firefox bookmarks folder. I've certainly shared some of [...]


What The Long Tail Of Search Actually Looks Like

Much has been written about how savvy search marketers can exploit the long tail in both organic SEO and for paid search campaigns. The formal definition of the long tail refers to the statistical property that a larger share of population rests within the "tail" of a probability distribution than the "head." In search marketing terms, keywords are the literal key to reaching the long tail, and there are two approaches to long tail keyword selection. The first is to optimize for or bid on less popular or relatively uncommon words. The idea here is that anyone using these words as search que [...]


Magnetic Brings Search Re-Targeting To The Masses

Yahoo was the first of the major search engines to use search query data to inform and influence subsequent display ad serving. However, as Magnetic CEO Josh Shatkin-Margolis pointed out to me, that only works within the Yahoo network, not across the broader internet. He would know, having worked as a Director of Engineering at Yahoo, and before that at DoubleClick and Performics. What his company Magnetic (previously known as Domdex) is doing is seeking to make search re-targeting available to potentially any publisher, ad network or ad exchange that wants to buy the query data. The compa [...]


Searching for the Superbowl Start Time: How Are The Engines, the NFL, and CBS Doing?

Last year, I took a look at the spiking searches leading up to the Superbowl to see how the search engines, and those who want to be found in them, satisfied those queries. This morning, I took another look, and while things are a bit better from a searcher satisfaction perspective (primarily due to increased blended results pulling in news content), the primary organizations that likely want to connect with Superbowl viewers (such as the NFL and CBS) are still, well fumbling the ball a bit. If only they'd read last year's article, in which I provided a clear game plan for a touch down. (You [...]


How To Take Keyword Research To The Next Level

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: [...]


Can Google Tell Us What Men and Women Are REALLY Thinking?

Last week, a post on the Predictably Irrational blog described the differences in what boyfriends and girlfriends were looking for their beloveds to do based on Google Suggest. Google Suggest can provide hours of fun. Just spend some time at Autocomplete Me or QuestionSuggestions. But can it provide useful audience analysis for understanding our customers, building products for them, and marketing to them? We'll take a look at that next, but first, let's see what Google has to say about men and women are really thinking. I should warn you, not all of these search queries are safe for work, but [...]


How To Maximize The Impact Of Your Top Performing Keywords

Behavior is unique for these high volume/value keywords and as a result, steps need to be taken to make these terms more visible for daily account management and analysis. The first step is to identify and isolate these top terms in order to help prioritize where to focus.


Google Sets & Squared: Powerful Keyword Research Tools

One of the toughest challenges facing pay-per-click marketers is keyword expansion. Marketers need to be adept at selecting keywords that will not only drive traffic, but more importantly, will drive conversions in a cost-effective manner. As competition intensifies, identifying unique, high quality keywords becomes increasingly important-and difficult. While basic keyword research remains important, search marketers need to look to other tools to gain an edge. Basic keyword research Keyword research generally begins with one of the popular keyword-research tools. These include-but are [...]


Using Predictive Modeling In Seasonal Search Campaigns

Optimal bidding for performance is a complex task for search marketers. When placing bids every day, you must be mindful of the volatility in the marketplace due to changing search traffic, competition, matching algorithms that vary across search engines and the changing needs of your business. For many of you, particularly if you work in the travel or retail sectors, seasonality—the cyclical patterns in the demand for various product offerings—adds an additional layer of difficulty that can make search marketing campaign management seem daunting. It would be extremely time and [...]


Five Steps To Leveraging Great Content For Better Rankings

Recently, I was at an internet marketing convention where the question was posed to a panel: "As a search engine optimizer (SEO), what would you advise your clients to do if an extra million dollars fell into their lap?" The response from the SEOs on the panel was essentially "invest it all in creating great content." When questioned, the panel agreed that links were important (since Google's algorithm prioritizes their analysis of links so highly), but the general implication was that if you create great content the links will come. It would be fair to say that sometimes good content g [...]


Fine Tuning Your Search Campaign To Today’s Economic Environment

It is no surprise that the recession has affected online consumer spending habits. In lean times, people are more apt to curb spending and seek out the best bargains. From a search perspective, it is now more important than ever for marketers to adapt their campaigns to these changes in consumer behavior to better optimize performance. As consumers modify their spending patterns, their search behavior—the keywords and terms they use to locate products and services—also change. We recently culled over half a million search terms containing a certain modifier. For instance, queri [...]


Keyword Research: Listen To Your Customers!

While SEO is a part of our daily lives, the process of digging into keyword research hasn’t gotten any easier. Yet, as we know, keyword research is critical to any SEO effort. While you may find the process of uncovering and selecting the most appropriate keywords for optimizing your site to be fairly painstaking, it doesn’t have to be. Using information from your site’s search box can save you time and provide additional keywords for consideration. Compiling a list of keywords to use in SEO traditionally entails discovering the terms people are searching for on search engines, how o [...]


When Keyword Research and Search Data Deceives

As search engine optimization (SEO) professionals, we obsess with search data from a wide variety of resources. Which one is best for our clients? Which keyword research tool reveals the most accurate search behaviors when rebuilding a site's information architecture? Does our web analytics data validate our keyword research? And, more importantly, did these tools provide your most desired information? Some answers might surprise you. Keyword research data I love keyword research tools. I use all of them because I can discover core keyword phrases, which are commonly used across all of [...]


Yahoo Officially Discontinued The Overture Keyword Suggestion Tool

I reported at the Search Engine Roundtable that the Overture Keyword Suggestion Tool no longer takes you to the tool; instead, it redirects you to the Yahoo Search Marketing landing page. I emailed Yahoo for a statement, and they have confirmed that they have decommissioned the tool. There are tools you can use within the Yahoo Search Marketing console that you can use instead, but it requires that you login. The Overture tool has been plagued with issues for a long time. Overture's tool, to me, is a historic SEM tool that will forever be remembered amongst SEMs - it is a bit sad to me to [...]


Live Search xRank: Ranking Politicians & Bloggers, Too

Microsoft Live Search's xRank feature got some attention when it launched as a way to track celebrities. But you might not realize the service also now tracks buzz about musicians, politicians, and -- yes -- bloggers. Let's go back, then forward. Last September, Live Search rolled out xRank. It showed you a list of the most popular celebrities "Top Ranked" based on searches for them. You could also see "Top Movers," celebs that were rising in the rankings. And you could chart buzz over time. For example, Lil Wayne is the top ranked celebrity at the moment, and you can [...]


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