Welcome back to aimClear’s continuing coverage of #SESSF. Keyword research is a primary cog in PPC and SEO systems alike. There is no question, leveraging intent-based semantic insight for prospective customers can directly influence lift in the bottom line. Over the past year, though, the addition of Google Instant and intent-based Bing search results has made it necessary to revisit the keyword research process and adapt it to meet new standards.

Bill Hunt, President of Back Azimuth Consulting in his solo session Advanced Keyword Modeling looked at using keyword research data oftentimes pinned against organic and/or PPC keyword performance to determine success and opportunity. He examined several reporting formats and concepts that showcase keyword data in a way that yields results. At a very high level, this process is about conceptualizing how the data you have available whether from keyword suggestion tools, historical PPC performance or the recently altered search engine result pages (SERPs) can be organized, segmented and classified to best give insight into new opportunities. Read on for the full scoop.

When viewing the short and long tail keyword spectrum, it quickly becomes obvious there  is a lot going on with the keywords searchers use to find what they are looking for. Keywords are more than just a list of words.

Advanced Keyword Modeling
All too often there is a mismatch between the ad and what the searcher wants. Bill referred to a scene in film Joe Dirt that highlights this mismatch between the brand and the consumer.

Understanding the search terms and analysis allows you to understand the needs, wants and intent of the searcher.

Understanding the “Voice of the Consumer”
This next generation of analysis enables you to:

  • Effectively map your content with query and query intent
  • Identify new products and services
  • Create and influence PR and social media opportunities

Types of Keyword Models

  • Missed opportunity matrix – this is a calculation that examines:
    • What is the opportunity for a given keyword?
    • How many people are searching for it?
    • What share of that traffic are you getting?
    • What could you stand to get if you made improvements?
  • Critical keyword performance monitoring
    • How are the words that important to you really performing?
  • Co-optimization modeling
    • Paid and organic synergies
  • Preferred landing page monitoring & optimization
    • Identifying the set of keywords you want to rank for a particular page
  • Snippet optimization
    • The description being served in SERPs for a given keyword or phrase. Is the optimal snippet showing?
  • Integrate popular keywords into content pages
    • This drives content creation. Find the popular words and create content around.
  • End of life (EOL) product handling
    • Many times products that have reached EOL are removed from the site. Why not create content around this?
  • Integrate relevant keywords and landing pages into PR and social media
    • Making sure the list of pages and keywords you desire to rank for are passed through the organization so all departments are on the same page and can leverage the data.
  • Product market research

Understanding Searchers
There are typically three types of query types:

  • Informational – “search marketing conferences”
  • Navigational – “SES San Francisco agenda”
  • Transactional – “Register for SES San Francisco”

Purchase Cycle & Intent

  • Research product use and information?
  • Looking for features and functions?
  • Comparing brands?
  • Looking for discounts or promotional codes?
  • Have they already purchased?

“The average site is seeing a 65% decrease in homepage traffic. People are coming into every nook and cranny of your site directly to what they want through search engines.”

Understanding Qualifiers
Qualifiers are those words that help us isolate a specific opportunity, interest, audience or need. In Bill’s experience he found keywords containing “strategy,” “implementation,” deployment,” and “cost” was most likely a CIO or CTO. What words tell you who your audience is? Connect with the qualifiers searchers are giving you. Begin to mine those keywords and try to understand how many searchers are using those words in your keyword universe.

Brainstorming Keyword Research
In the brainstorming portion of your keyword research it is important to ask questions!

  • Why did somebody do this query?
  • How do you differentiate?
  • What page do you want them to go to?

Brainstorming words is the starting point. Take these top, general keyword phrases and use them as the basis of the next set of actions.

Research Demand & Opportunity

Keyword Prioritization
Prioritize buckets into high, medium and low categories and use these categories to:

  • Control SOV (Share of Voice) levels on specific segments in paid search
  • Identify priority words for SEO work
  • Advise content developers on best words to include in new content

It is important to allocate effort and budget to keyword prioritization. Bill recommends the following allocation:

  • High priority – 60% budet
  • Medium priority – 30% budget
  • Low priority – 10% budeget

The New Generation of Keyword Research

  • Map keywords to predefined action segments
  • Use a brainstorming session to discuss and segment words into appropriate purchase lifecycle segments.
  • Map to specific relevant pages
  • Maximize keyword modeling and search intent
  • Create searcher intent models (researching potential searchers keyword variations and assigning them a classification based on what the searcher may be thinking when they do the search)

How Do We Use Searcher Intent?

  • Leverage searcher intent modeling for paid search campaign launches
  • Leverage data to inform keyword selection at the brand level
  • Leverage data when looking to identify content development opportunities
  • Leverage data for product identification

Influence Design & Content

  • Sites need to use the words their consumers are using
  • Create a taxonomy that can be translated into a content & search strategy

Align Keyword Data to Social Media

  • Add tier 1 keywords to monitoring
  • Understand the “sentiment” of keywords
  • Understand the “context” of words
  • Compare search volume

Combine Search & Social Data
You may find recurring transient discussions happening far before you expect them to. This may give you an opportunity to drive the conversation in social media or in paid space.

That about does it. Bill proffered some great information regarding keyword modeling. If you have a chance to see him speak in the future, I would highly recommend it. Stick around aimClear blog for more coverage comin’ atcha from #SESSF.

  • Brent Rangen

    So far, Bill’s session has been my favorite. I attended his four hour session on Monday with OMS/Clickz training. It was fantastic.. complete with templates and all. Bill has a great speaking style with just the right amount of examples, statistics, and humor.