Practical tips for SEO keyword research

Search marketing is all about being found by your audience and delivering converting traffic to your site.

Whether you or your SEO agency do this by focusing on search engine optimization or on PPC, it’s important to base your campaigns on thorough keyword research.

As we move into a world of real-time search, understanding search engine results pages (SERP) becomes ever more important. For maximum success you’ll need to know what terms your markets are searching on, trending search terms, seasonal patterns, and forecasts.

A helpful tool from Google

Fortunately, there are some great, free online tools that can help you research trends, search patterns, and numbers in your market place.

Tools in the Google arsenal include the Google Keyword Tool, Google Traffic Estimator, and Google Trends, all of which can be used with any one of the other competitors online such as Wordtracker.

Here, I want to focus on Google’s Insights for Search. This tool can provide some great visual representation and data surrounding search behavior.

Use it to compare multiple keyword search behavior over time, filter results by time, region, type, and category and drill down into regions to see exactly which localities are contributing to the searches.

Insight for Search will also give you a forecast for the next 12 months as well as related and rising search term trends. This may help offer insight into future marketing budgeting focus or campaign design.

You can also use the tool to compare several search terms.  Below, I compared search patterns for the terms ‘SEO’ and ‘PPC’ in the UK from Jan 2006 to Jan 2010 and found an intersection in the ascent and descent around 2007.

SEO v PPC search graph

It is interesting to find that searchers are increasingly seeking information about SEO in place of PPC.

Measuring marketing campaign effectiveness

The tool can also help measure the effectiveness of omnichannel marketing campaigns. To view the increase in brand awareness or recall around the time of an integrated marketing campaign, simply select the surrounding date range (both pre and post-launch) and view the fluctuations in search behavior.

If the campaign had a wide reach and was successful you should be looking for an increase in searches in the relevant period.

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