An Experts’ Guide to Keyword Research

How would you handle the search marketing challenge of selecting appropriate keywords for a campaign to market vegetarian dog food? The creators of Wordtracker, a popular keyword research tool, asked some of the most respected search marketing experts in the world to tackle this challenge.

The result is a 75 page eBook that’s packed with useful tips and insights. Of course, the guide is ultimately a sales pitch for Wordtracker. Nonetheless, it’s relatively easy to filter out the “pitchy” aspects of the book and garner a lot of useful advice, strategy and tips. The book has a lot to offer, whether you use Wordtracker or not.

The Keyword Research Guide kicks off with brief introduction from Andy and Mike Mindel, creators of Wordtracker. If you’ve never done keyword research or don’t understand why it’s important, this serves as a good introduction to the subject.

The book is structured as an extended case study, featuring each invited expert taking a different tack on the subject of keyword research, monitoring and tracking. The case study revolves around a small business owner who’s striving to take a family business to the next level, by launching the line of veggie dog food mentioned above.

Here’s the lineup of experts, and the subjects they tackled:

Bryan Eisenberg leads things off with a chapter on how selection of keywords can be key in converting visitors to buyers. If you’ve ever heard Bryan speak at Search Engine Strategies, or read his book Call To Action,

Next, B.L. Ochman talks about the importance of making an emotional connection with your web site visitors. How? By doing preliminary research with your target customer base, testing different combinations of keywords to see which most effectively tap into the needs and concerns of pet owners.

Stephen Mahaney takes a hard look at business realities. How big is the target market for a product? All keyword research tools can help you estimate potential market size, and fine-tune both your campaigns and expectations to get reasonable results.

Many search marketers think keyword selection is crucial only for organic search engine optimization efforts. Not so, argues Kevin Lee, who makes a persuasive case for the value of keyword research in paid search campaigns.

To be effective, you must understand the language actually used by your customers, rather than the words you or your marketing department think will be most effective. Ken McGaffin shows how to discover your “natural” online marketplace and how to map it out.

And what happens when your campaigns aren’t working, or simply get stuck? John Alexander shows how to mine Wordtracker’s top 1000 words report for inspiration.

Neil Davidson offers another chapter on the importance of validating your marketing strategy—in the context of this case study, for example, creating a business model and campaign around vegetarian pet food rather than the more limited focus of just dog food.

Robin Good weighs in with sound advice on identifying niches that have been overlooked by others. Again, these niches can be difficult to discover without the use of a keyword research tool.

Nick Usborne wraps up the book reminding us that while keyword selection is important, even the best keywords are of little use unless your copy is well written and appeals to your users.

Wordtracker’s Keyword Research Guide is a useful collection of tips and techniques from some of the most respected search marketing practitioners working today. While its purpose is to encourage you to use the product, the guide also contains a lot of worthwhile information for anyone doing keyword research, with or without a particular tool or product.

Wordtracker’s Keyword Research Guide (PDF download; free)

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