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Keyword Research Blizzard Buries Blogger

03/13/2009

About the only time I use real, made-from-trees paper any more is when I do keyword research. I spent the day yesterday trying to take a very specific type of product, and find other markets for it through keyword research that involved a lot of thesaurus work at Wordtracker.

The first time I make a competition search there, in which I determine phrases with the best KEI (a ratio of searches to number of sites with the terms), I try to go right up to 100 terms, all as general as I can get for the subject matter. In this case, the subject matter, foul weather gear, is so specific that it’s not getting much traffic. But the general terms are so general that the KEI number is extremely low. I tried everything possible, practically, from outdoor clothing to sportswear, and all the KEIs were small, meaning all these terms have a lot of competition for not that many searches.

So, for this client, we’re going to have to draw traffic from a large combination of long-string keywords. That’s where being a creative writer starts to pay off. It’s a lot more work, it will take up a lot more of my time, but it will be worth it in the long run.

What sucks up a lot of time is just learning about the subject. Not being familiar with the clothing worn by sailors, I had to learn the basic organizational structure of the types of gear, and I had to make that fit into a keyword tree that made sense from a linguistic point of view. So, before even delving in detail into the subject, I racked my own brain for a keyword tree that would make sense to all the non-sailors who might need or want to buy this type of gear. My immediate thoughts were that it was good for both wet and cold weather, it’s made ruggedly for the outdoors, and it’s practical. The kind of gear, clothing, and accessories that would be used by hikers, cyclists, and enthusiasts of all kinds of outdoor sports and recreational activities. For that matter, people who have to work in bad weather could use some of these well-made jackets, boots, thermal layers, gloves, hats, and the like.

So, I start of general with the main words that cover all those possibilities. Those words might be too general to ever generate much traffic (the competition for the general terms is fierce). But they will lead me to other words, and they are part of the globe of words that describe these products. The Google Bot will recognize the globe of words in the site, and if it doesn’t see the general ones, it won’t get as clear a picture of what you have. Here’s the result of the first keyword brainstorming session:

  • Gear
  • Apparel
  • Clothing
  • Clothes
  • Wear
  • Garment
  • Attire
  • Equipment
  • Accessories

Then I take those words, plug them into wordtracker, scroll down the endless list of possibilities, and put them in my basket for competition ranking later. I break the new phrases up into the logical combinations that show up as something actually searched for:

  • Gear (outdoor, cold weather, foul weather, wet weather, extreme weather, sailing, protective)
  • Apparel (sports, custom, protective)
  • Clothing (sailing, waterproof, protective, weatherproof)
  • Clothes (sailing, waterproof)
  • Wear (yachting, team, sports, athletic, outdoor, work, kids rain, rain)
  • Garment (weatherproof company)
  • Attire (yachting, casual yachting, outdoor)
  • Equipment (personal protective, sailing, yachting)
  • Accessories (boating, sailing, sailboat)

From this list, I research all the new words individually, making notes on the ones with the most searches. Tose words, like sports, I have no hope of winning a search for (unless I had a big staff, a huge office, and a bunch of money). But I do get to use them in long-string combinations. Pure logic tells me that there will be more combinations from more searched for words. So, when I’m writing copy for or about this site, I want to try to use the most searched for words the most. The research on these words also leads me to other short phrases that fit the subject matter for which the KEI might be low enough for me to bother. I wind up with this list (monthly search number in parenthesis):

  • Sports (8183)
  • Outdoors (1939)
  • Recreation (940)
  • Outdoor (859)
  • Outdoor Activities (521)
  • Water Sports (359)
  • Outdoor Recreation (350)
  • Outdoor Gear (257)
  • Recreational Activities (218)
  • Outdoor Sports (152)
  • Outdoor Clothing (99)
  • Cold Weather Clothing (55)

That’s my list of “work-in” words.  Out of this cloud of hand-scribbled paper, I put together a text file with everything where I need it for easy cutting and pasting.  At the top of that file, I put the combinations from all this that have the highest KEI numbers.  And what do you know? They all suck. Good thing I don’t just go by KEI alone. So I make a new list (I make  lot of lists) from the not-as-bad KEI pile:

  • Online Clothing Stores (296)
  • Outdoor Gear (257)
  • Rain Gear (154)
  • Rainwear (112)
  • Outdoor Clothing (99)
  • Foul Weather Gear (39)
  • Cold Weather Gear (47)

And I apply what I call the toughness of competition factor. It’s easy when you use SEO for Firefox. I just do a search for each term, and then I look at the Google Page Rank of the winner of each search and note it. Then I look for the highest PR out of the top ten, and note its rank, and the lowest PR of the top ten, and note its rank. I immediately see that there is a surprising weakness for online clothing stores. The toughness research also showed that the winners of rain gear and waterproof garment company had low PRs. Throw in Outdoor gear because “outdoor” and “gear” go so well with so many of the terms, and I’ve got my title tag!

And that’s just the beginning. More to come as I dig myself out of the stack of paper that created!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 01/21/2010 5:28 am

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