Predicting Keywords from Current Events

Posted in Consumer Behavior, Keyword Research, SEO

Sometimes it is possible to predict keyword niches from current events or things you believe will happen. Recently Yahoo Small Business Hosting had a 3 day HTTP server 500 error issue which affected WordPress blogs and other .php applications running on their servers. When we called Yahoo to deal with the issue (this blog is hosted with Yahoo Small Business Hosting for the moment) they told us “Yahoo runs .php scripts just fine” but that the outage “only affected .php pages.” They told us the server 500 error would last for up to 3 business days which surprised us. We responded with a link baiting article on our main website, aimClear.com to attract other upset Yahoo Small Business Hosting Customers.

Predicting Future Keywords
Both wordTracker (12/06 – 3/07) and Trellian (2/06-2/07) were reporting that no searches were queried for “yahoo small business hosting bug” and other keywords which might be associated with the outage. Still, since lots of people host .php applications on Yahoo Small Business Hosting servers. We wanted to experiment with attaining ranking on the search engine results page (SERP) for what we believed would be a future pocket of searches that were easy to attain rankings for now while the phrases were uncontested. Here’s the thinking in 6 steps.

First We Identified our Target Demographic
The search for “yahoo small business hosting bug” returns about 1,220,000 documents. It was easy to attain the #1 ranking because there are only 2 pages on the Internet with the literal keyword in the title tag (the article on aimClear and the post of it on Digg.com).

Getting the #1 was not that big a deal. (Sometimes SEO firms attain easy prominence and boast about #1’s that anyone could easily attain-that’s not what we’re doing). In this case the concept of predicting keyword space and attaining easy #1 rankings in advance is an interesting study. The concept of this experiment could be scaled.

Predicting the Future
It was reasonable to believe that there would be a new micro-niche revealed in upcoming keyword research data, the community of those experiencing these Yahoo Small Business Hosting errors…mostly technical web development people around the world…people aimClear care about communicating with. In other words we wanted to experiment with predicting a future keyword universe that targets a demographic that matters to us while it was easy.

Yahoo’s tech support guys called it a “bug” to us on the phone 4 times across 3 different reps and 2 calls. It is therefore likely that these particular Yahoo reps “spun” the problem (a nasty recurrent HTTP 500 Error Internal Server Error) by using the word “bug”. It was an interesting theory to speculate that Yahoo tech reps were using the term bug to describe the problem with other customers.

To Start: In spite of the non-existent literal searches for Yahoo Small Business Hosting server 500 error keywords:

1) The spectrum of people who searched last year withYahoo Small Business questions in general last year was 7412. Here are the top searches and according to Keyword Discovery (Trellian).

Search Term Searches Words Ads (Google) Ads (Yahoo)
yahoo small business web hosting 3493 5 9 8
business hosting small web yahoo 1361 5 9 0
sbc yahoo small business web hosting 702 6 9 0
yahoo small business hosting 399 4 8 7
small business web hosting yahoo 322 5 8 8
business hosting small yahoo 281 4 7 7
yahoo small business e mail hosting 239 6 10 0
discover yahoo small business hosting 45 5
yahoo small business web hosting 20 42 6
business free hosting small web yahoo 40 6
ecommerce hosting solutions from yahoo small business 35 7
yahoo small business web hosting domain name hosting 30 8
yahoo small business mail hosting 27 5
business hosting sbc small web yahoo 26 6
small business web yahoo hosting paypal 23 6
hosting yahoo small business hosting articles hosting 13 8
yahoo small business website hosting 13 5

2) As you can see in the Trellian analysis, a number of advertisers are interested the SERP.

3) In fact there are 3 advertisers for the long tail (previously statistically irrelevant) search Yahoo Small Business Hosting Bug…all ads from Register.com and Yahoo.com (probably content match ads because they target ALL related searches including the broad words). YAHOO cares about these search results because they know they are having problems with hosting and “bug” is the word the Yahoo tech support reps sometimes use.

4) As a result one could reasonably predict that a long tail niche’ of words related to “error,” “bug,” “issue” etc…would show in the next keyword reporting period.

5) In our Google Analytics report for www.aimClear.com last week the micro-niche did in fact appear-a number of organic searches which resulted in traffic to the page from Google alone. The phrases driving organic search traffic to aimClear included Yahoo Small Business Hosting Bug, Problems with Yahoo Small Business and other keywords related to the outage. The commonality among the associated keywords resulting in traffic is that none of the keywords were searched for AT ALL in both wordTracker and Keyword Discovery’s recent reporting period.

6) Google Analytics revealed that we recieved noticable traffic to our article about the hosting issues at Yahoo category from organic search regarding the Yahoo issue. All of the search keywords which resulted in organic traffic were not searched for at all last year. We predicted the future keyword space. If the problem at Yahoo Small Business Hosting had continued past the 3 days of trouble, other bloggers would write about might have discovered out article and written about it. It turns out that the issue was only an ugly 3-day blip. Therefore, at the end of the day-all that happened was an easy win us for a contested keyword hardly anyone searches for.

What We Learned
The good news is that the concept of predicting statistically relevant areas of search from current events was validated. The people who DO search for related issues are the kind of people we care about. If there had been a prolonged problem at Yahoo, aimClear might have received even more traffic from the prescient approach in predicting keyword spaces. We still received hundreds of unique visitors from the experiement.