Keyword Research Tools
A wide variety of options are available for performing keyword research, including tools provided by the search engines, tools developed by third parties, and tools for complex keyword analysis of terms culled during research. In this section, we will review each of these, but first, we’ll provide some perspective on how to use these tools.
Things to Keep in Mind
It is important to keep in mind when you are using the various keyword research tools to brainstorm keywords that they are all based on relatively limited data. In addition, each tool will provide different search counts than others. Rather than focusing on the exact search counts of various terms, you should think of each tool as a good way to get a general comparison of two search terms.
For example, if you compare two terms and see that one term is more popular than the other because it returns a higher search count, you can assume that Term A is more popular and searched for more often than Term B. However, you should treat the search counts as only (rough) estimates.
If you are just starting out with keyword research, consider starting with the Google Keyword Tool and either Wordtracker or KeywordDiscovery. This will give you a rich data set with which to begin your keyword research. Over time you can experiment with the other tools and adjust your process as you find tools that you prefer for one task or another.
Keyword Research Data from the Engines
The search engines provide a number of tools that can help you with keyword research. Many of these are not designed specifically for that purpose, but if used in the right manner they can provide interesting keyword research information. The data in these tools reveal the number of pages that are related to a search phrase, not the number of searches on that phrase. This is still a useful indicator of the importance of a keyword phrase, though, as more web pages tend to get built for more popular topics.
Blog search counts
Blog search data is terrific for picking out hot topics or keywords in the blogosphere and the realm of social media. Since blog search often incorporates forums and other social media properties (anyone with a feed, really), it is a great way to see how a term/phrase is looking in the social space. Be aware, though, that the data is temporal anything that’s more than a few months old is likely to be out of the blog index (this does make the data a great temporal tracking tool, however). For example, check out the 851,000 results returned by the blog search for cupcake recipes (see Figure 1) versus the 3.28 million results returned when web search was used to perform the same search.
FIGURE 1. Google blog search counts
Several of the engines offer “related” terms, including Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Ask, and Yippy (which shows related terms in clusters, as shown in Figure 5-3). This data can be invaluable if you’re looking to find related terms that may not have come up through competitive analysis or brainstorming.
Figure 2. Yippy related terms clusters
Common usage and phrase combinations
Using a search with the * character can give you a good idea of what terms/phrases commonly precede or follow a given term/phrase. For example, using ringtones can show you phrases that are commonly associated with the term ringtones, as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3. Finding common phrases
Frequency of recent usage
Using the very cool Google date range operator, shown in Figure 4, you can determine how many times in the past day, week, month, or year new content related to your term was added to the Google index. The easiest way to do this is to click on “More search tools” on the left side of the Google results. Once you do that, you can pick from “Any time” (which is the default), “Past hour,” “Past 24 hours,” “Past week,” “Past Month,” “Past Year,” and “Custom range.” This will limit you to the results that were added to the index during the referenced time frame.
Figure 4. Google pages indexed in the past 24 hours
Choosing “Custom range” provides you with a calendar method for picking the date range you want to focus the search on, so you can pick any time interval you want. For example, you might pick November 1, 2011, to December 24, 2011, if you wanted to see what happened during the previous holiday season. For additional flexibility, you can perform a normal search, get your result, and add a parameter to the end of the results page URL, using the operators shown in Table.
|&as_qdr=d||Past 24 hours|
|&as_qdr=d4||Past four days|
|&as_qdr=w5||Past five weeks|
|&as_qdr=m6||Past six months|
|&as_qdr=y2||Past two years|
Keyword Research with Tools
It is great to get this data from search engine queries, and it can certainly help you get a sense of the importance of a given keyword. However, a large array of tools exist to give you direct
insight into the volume of searches performed on specific keywords, and also to help you discover new keywords to consider.
We review many of the leading tools on the pages that follow.
|Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool||BING KEYWORD PLANNER TOOL|
This post contains the content of book The_Art_of_SEO_2nd_Edition