Keyword Analysis


Overview


One of the most valuable activities in search marketing is keyword research. Selecting the right keywords directly affects a site’s success. In order to garner the support your site needs, you must understand your audience and determine which phrases to use to effectively target them. Understanding this data is an art. It’s also a science.

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Keyword Analysis

Factors to Consider

Obviously, there’s a significant need to measure the results of keyword analyses and how they’re implemented. This scientific method should be complemented by an artful reason test of sorts. It’s not about getting visitors to your site as much as it is about getting the right kind of visitors. Just because a keyword’s numbers seem perfectly suited for your content doesn’t mean you should include them on your own site. That being said, a proper keyword analysis takes many qualitative and quantitative factors into account, among them total searches, cost per click, SERP position, targeting potential and competition percentage. Of course, there are many other factors involved and the formula behind how to use this information to your advantage.

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Keyword Analysis

The Basics

What is a keyword worth to your site? Keyword research tools allow you to find out. In order to fully determine the value of your keywords you must first develop hypotheses, test potential scenarios (or examples of keyword phrases) and determine what your best outcome is. Every keyword analysis needs a primer. A primer, by its very definition, is the basis by which you can decipher your data. In other words, a primer is a test one runs to determine keyword outcomes. Essentially, this begins by developing an algorithm behind your findings.

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Keyword Analysis

Analyze Data

With essentials such as click-through-rate, conversion rate and average order value out of the way, it's time to focus on the way that you'll analyze your data. With your algorithm, you'll want to establish a baseline for success. Begin by learning which sites currently out-position you for your desired keywords. Having this insight into the competition determines how likely you are to rank with your terms.

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Keyword Analysis

Keywords

After determining your baseline, you'll want to target new keywords you think will produce your desired outcome. Which keywords should you be targeting to garner better results? Once you have a working list, use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool to find any potential related keyword ideas and options. Often times you'll find thousands of potential keywords.

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Keyword Analysis

The Primer

Now that you have your list of potential keywords, you need to figure out how valuable each of them is. You can accomplish this by performing a primer, or an experiment, to determine which keywords are most valuable to you and your business.

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Keyword Analysis

The Algorithm

With the primer set up, you can now dial in on your new keyword analysis algorithm. An algorithm is a formula by which search engines determine how applicable a web page's content is to a particular search query. It's important at this point to evaluate all of the variables at your fingertips:

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Keyword Analysis

Ranking Keyword Acquisition

Now that your algorithm is set, it's time to use it for all of your potential targeted keywords. With your algorithm used across all of your potential targeted keywords, you now have an ordered, top-to-bottom keyword analysis, subcategorized by the keyword groups that you established earlier. With each keyword group, you now can sort through your keywords and make the qualitative assessment about whether each keyword in its respective group is "worth" the potential ROI for keyword targeting. You can now take your analysis to the next level and factor in the "acquisition cost" for your keywords.

Keyword Research Tips

Pick keywords wisely. Make sure your keyword phrases match your content.

Back link.Linking from another site helps your ranking.

Make variety your strategy. Choose a combination of long-tail and short-tail keywords. Better yet, use long-tail keywords with short-tail keywords in them. Including local terms, like cities or states, makes your keyword more specific. Remember, the more specific a user is in their search query the closer they are in the buying process, which means a higher conversion percentage for your site.

Get yourself out there. Use Google Places and an interactive map. This will improve your ranking.

Size up your competition. Take note of the title tags, headings and words your competitors use repeatedly in their content.

Keyword Tools

Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool. Provides estimated search volume and predicts the cost for each keyword term.

Solve Keyword Tool. Tells you the most popular search phrases for Wikipedia, Answers.com, Google, YouTube, Bing, Amazon.com, and Yahoo.

WordStream Keyword Analysis Tool. Highlights the vital marketing performance metrics and suggests actions for the best efficiency and results.

Google Trends. Displays how often keywords are entered compared to the total search-volume globally.

Microsoft Bing Ads Intelligence. Gauges keywords on the Yahoo Bing Network.

Wordtracker's Basic Keyword Demand. Keyword Tool that attracts more targeted traffic for a fee.

Moz Keyword Analysis Tool. Retrieves the top rankings for any keyword and scores its difficulty based on the pages that currently rank for that keyword.

Factors to Consider

Obviously, there’s a significant need to measure the results of keyword analyses and how they're implemented. This scientific method should be complemented by an artful reason test of sorts. It's not about getting visitors to your site as much as it is about getting the right kind of visitors. Just because a keyword’s numbers seem perfectly suited for your content doesn’t mean you should include them on your own site. That being said, a proper keyword analysis takes many qualitative and quantitative factors into account, among them total searches, cost per click, SERP position, targeting potential and competition percentage. Of course, there are many other factors involved and the formula behind how to use this information to your advantage.

Making yourself more knowledgeable in keyword research allows you to predict shifts in demand, respond to various market situations, and continue to provide the content your audience is seeking, thereby increasing your conversion rates, discovering new markets, and eliminating wasteful spending on keywords that aren't producing desirable results.

The Basics

What is a keyword worth to your site? Keyword research tools allow you to find out. In order to fully determine the value of your keywords you must first develop hypotheses, test potential scenarios (or examples of keyword phrases) and determine what your best outcome is. Every keyword analysis needs a primer. A primer, by its very definition, is the basis by which you can decipher your data. In other words, a primer is a test one runs to determine keyword outcomes. Essentially, this begins by developing an algorithm behind your findings.

First, you must ask yourself which terms you feel are most relevant to your site and whether or not searchers will find what they're looking for on your site using those keywords. If your content satisfies the searcher's quest for information, and produces benefits for you financially and otherwise, then you've done your job.

Analyze Data

With essentials such as click-through-rate, conversion rate and average order value out of the way, it’s time to focus on the way that you’ll analyze your data. With your algorithm, you’ll want to establish a baseline for success. Begin by learning which sites currently out-position you for your desired keywords. Having this insight into the competition determines how likely you are to rank with your terms. What practices does your competition implement? Do they use several search ads, thereby creating a valuable keyword apt for conversion? Do you currently rank with your desired keywords? How much revenue would you generate without any SEO improvement? How much of your revenue is currently (accurately) being driven by organic search? These are all good questions that a clean, thoughtful implementation of Google Analytics can answer.

With your baseline revenue model set, you can now build out the algorithm, which will be the beginning of the primer. Your algorithm should include all the data points mentioned previously: total searches, cost-per-click, current search engine results page (SERP) position, total monthly value, average conversion rate, incremental projected potential purchases, average order value, projected clicks per month, projected incremental monthly revenue, targeting potential and competition percentage.

Keywords

After determining your baseline, you'll want to target new keywords you think will produce your desired outcome. Which keywords should you be targeting to garner better results? Once you have a working list, use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool to find any potential related keyword ideas and options. Often times you’ll find thousands of potential keywords.

Next, download all of the potential keywords into a comma-separated values (CSV) file. A CSV file allows you to save data in table format, and it can be used with any spreadsheet program. Once you’ve done that and cleaned up your keyword data (removing extraneous and/or unneeded columns, formats and/or characters), it’s time to sort the keywords by group. Even though the keyword planner tool does this for you by grouping the potential keywords by relevance, you’ll often find duplicate, overlapping and/or repetitive keywords.

The best way to go about this process is to just hunker down and start copying and pasting. After what may seem like 30 years of data-mining, you should have a nice, clean list of keywords, subcategorized by group. Your keyword list could and should range anywhere from 100 to 10,000 keywords for an average site (1,000 to 100,000 sessions per month.) In addition, you should have anywhere from 10 to 100 subcategorized groups of keywords. Thus, you should have 10 to 100 keywords in each group.

The Primer

Now that you have your list of potential keywords, you need to figure out how valuable each of them is. You can accomplish this by performing a primer, or an experiment, to determine which keywords are most valuable to you and your business.

Each keyword is worth an amount that is equal to its potential growth. You can measure this by calculating the difference gained from its current position in the search engine results pages (SERPs) to its future potential position in the SERPs. For example, if the top position for that keyword in the SERPs has a 36 percent click-through rate and the sixth position for that keyword in the SERPs has a 4 percent click-through rate, then the gain is potentially 32 percent.

From here, the math is actually quite simple. By taking that gain percentage as a function of that keyword’s competition percentage, total average monthly searches, and cost-per-click as a site session value, you now have the potential value of that specific keyword. Essentially, you're trying to figure out the difference between where you currently rank organically and how you can improve, thus, establishing the numerator in a basic return-on-investment (ROI) analysis.

If you don't currently rank for the keywords you desire, you can purchase test traffic to determine how your desired keywords would fare. By choosing the "exact match" option in Google Adwords, directing the traffic to the pertaining page on your website, you can track your conversion rate over time.

If your search ad garnered a considerable amount of impressions, you can predict that, with a healthy click-through rate and ranking, your site stands to gain a substantial profit. By taking each keyword’s value in terms of a site session as a function of the average conversion rate, you now have the future potential conversions for your site.

By taking the future potential conversions as a function of the average order value (AOV), you now have the future potential revenue for that keyword. Together, all of these data points formulate a primer, which is the building block for your actual algorithm.

Your algorithm differs from your primer because it will weight each function in your primer, based primarily upon qualitative assessments that must be accurately quantified in order to ensure accuracy. Congratulations! You have your first SEO primer. Now, you can take your primer and establish your brand new search algorithm.

The Algorithm

With the primer set up, you can now dial in on your new keyword analysis algorithm. An algorithm is a formula by which search engines determine how applicable a web page's content is to a particular search query. It’s important at this point to evaluate all of the variables at your fingertips: Total searches, cost-per-click, current SERP position, total monthly value, average conversion rate, incremental projected potential purchases, average order value (AOV), projected clicks per month, projected incremental monthly revenue, targeting potential and competition percentage.

With each of these variables calculated appropriately, you’re now set to determine the importance of each of them. The only variable that truly requires a qualitative analysis (as opposed to a completely data-driven quantitative analysis of the other variables), is the competition percentage. This variable (competition percentage) measures the relative competitiveness of a keyword (the higher the percentage, the higher the competition for that keyword).

The more words in your keyword phrase, the less competitive it is and the easier it is to rank. A keyword phrase with more words is called a long-tail keyword and tends to be less competitive because it’s more specific in its wording. Having more words in your keyword phrase makes for a more exact match with your content. Remember, visitors seek personalized results unique to their search engine queries. The more concrete your keywords are the more likely you are to attract an audience that matches your content. Having content that corresponds with their search criteria increases your conversion percentage.

Short-tail keywords, also called head terms, are keywords with fewer words that have a higher volume of searches, and thus, are more competitive. Generally broader search terms, short-tail keywords are harder to rank because of their high volume. It's best to have keywords that are both descriptive and high volume. You'll want to rank with Gem keywords, which are long-tail keywords with a large search volume. Gem keywords produce the best results with regard to competition percentage and conversion rates.

Ranking Keyword Acquisition

Now that your algorithm is set, it’s time to use it for all of your potential targeted keywords. With your algorithm used across all of your potential targeted keywords, you now have an ordered, top-to-bottom keyword analysis, subcategorized by the keyword groups that you established earlier. With each keyword group, you now can sort through your keywords and make the qualitative assessment about whether each keyword in its respective group is “worth” the potential ROI for keyword targeting. You can now take your analysis to the next level and factor in the “acquisition cost” for your keywords.

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