In the first installment, I looked at tools that will help provide insights into finding the right keywords to optimize for that will lead to success in SEO. Now we will look at other tools and information to refine and/or expand your keyword list giving you additional insights to build and maintain a successful SEO campaign.
Some of these tools are not available to everyone, but these can give you great information to validate your insights and provide you the necessary information to both measure and improve your site to gain SEO success.
Tools to Refine a Keyword List
If you can’t afford or don’t have access to reporting from an analytics package such as Coremetrics, Omniture or Webtrends, you can still include analytics on your website from the likes of Google, Yahoo or some limited analytics in Bing Webmaster Tools (it is unknown if Yahoo will continue, if Bing will build their own or if Yahoo’s will become Bing analytics). If you have access, the analytics information will help you see what keywords are bringing in the traffic and which keywords that generate conversions.
One more thing to note, something that is not available from free services (as far as I am aware), advanced analytics that provide attribution (basically, tracing the steps a person takes before converting) can give you the necessary insight to skip the “cut off your nose despite your face” step, by not understanding what step in the path to conversion (commonly known as purchase path), you might overlook some of your most profitable keywords.
Search Marketing Campaigns
Paid search can provide some really important insights for your organic campaigns. Not only what the competitive landscape in search is (likely to be as competitive or more competitive than the organic landscape) but also how productive (how likely is a visitor from a particular keyword is likely to convert) a keyword may or may not be.
This information is just directional due to the fact that paid search metrics (see quality score), ad copy (see dynamic keyword insertion) and landing pages differ from organic search. The performance of these campaigns or tests will give you insights, but should not be considered a one for one comparison for organic search.
There are a number of competitive analysis tools like Hitwise, Forester, Compete, SpyFu and advanced search queries in regular search engines that can give you more insight into what your competitors are doing online, but these typically cost great deal or only give you limited insights. If you have access any of these or other similar tools, looking at this data into what competitors are ranking for, the amount of traffic a site is receiving, what other tactics a competitor is leveraging and such can give you the directional details that can give you a “leg up” on your competition.
Refining and expanding a keyword list is more difficult, but if you have more information in your analysis, you can find the best set of keywords to target in an organic search (SEO) campaign.
OK, we covered tools to research keywords and tools to refine and expand your keyword set to find the best keywords to provide the insights that will lead to SEO success.
In the future, I would like to dig deeper into standard and advanced analytics that will lead to attributing the actual value of organic traffic beyond simple rankings, traffic and conversions.