Thursday, June 3, 2010

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KeywordDiscovery and WordTracker are online keyword research tool that find all possible variations and permutations of search phrases, including synonyms and common misspellings that people have actually entered into search engines to find sites similar to yours. In addition, they will tell you how many people have actually used that particular search term over time. There are no other programs currently available that offer this much information. There are other tools out there, like the Overture or AdWords Keyword Suggestion tools, but they aren’t near as accurate or as robust and are not recommended for this purpose. Indeed, KeywordDiscovery and WordTracker have been the better-kept secrets for increasing relevant, targeted traffic to websites by analyzing the true search habits of people on the Internet.

Until KeywordDiscovery came around, I used WordTracker exclusively. Now I use KeywordDiscovery as my primary keyword tool as it as a larger and more accurate data set than WordTracker, and better export features. However, WordTracker has several unique features not available in KeywordDiscovery. I encourage you to sign up for either one or both. Each costs about $50 per month, which is a pittance for the wealth of data you will receive. I use both of them on a daily basis.

Before you use KeywordDiscovery or WordTracker, you should first brainstorm and make a list of all possible words and phrases that you think a customer may use to find those products, services, or information that you are offering on your site. Don’t include industry jargon, acronyms, or buzzwords that only experts in your industry or marketers would know. Think like your customer. This is an important distinction to keep in mind.

There simply is no better way to research the best keywords to use for your website. You can also use these tools to estimate beforehand how much traffic you can potentially expect to receive so it is an invaluable tool for general business research.

Step-by-step use of these tools is beyond the scope of this book. I encourage you to read the manuals and become acquainted with the interface and learn how to use these tools effectively. With that said, here are a few pointers I’ve learned over time.

Pay attention to the word form. See whether the plural form or the singular form of a keyword phrase has a higher Search number. This is important as one form of your word will be more important than another.

Don’t get hung up on KEI. Don’t focus too much on the KEI value that KeywordDiscovery or WordTracker provides for keywords. KEI by itself is a very general indicator of competition. It's primary value is in identifying some of the "low-hanging" secondary and tertiary search phrases that you should be able to optimize for fairly easily. So if the high-KEI phrase fits your site, you should optimize for it.

Just because a relevant keyword phrase may have a real low KEI number (like 0) doesn't mean you should ignore it, ESPECIALLY if it is has a high Search value. Don’t be discouraged by a large number of competing pages, you may have less true competition than you think.

Export your results to Excel. KeywordDiscovery and WordTracker allows you to export your research results to Excel, where you can then easily sort (and resort) the data any number of different ways. I highly encourage you to do this.

Both these tools offer you to store keyword Projects online. I find this feature somewhat limiting and typically don’t use them. I’d rather store my data offline on my computer for more advanced manipulation.

Select Overture in Results (WordTracker only). When using WordTracker, I select Google and Overture (bought by Yahoo) in the Competition Search. This is an important feature that WordTracker has. The Overture bid prices are a great indicator of how coveted a given keyword phrase is in the marketplace. Some keyword phrases are so competitive that one can only get traffic from them by going the pay-per-click (PPC) route. The more expensive the keyword in Overture, the more prized it is. By looking at Google and Overture at the same time, it allows you to weigh the Search values against the PPC Bid price for a better determination of the “market value" of a given keyword phrase.

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