By Hannah Howard, special to Overdrive.
If we had a dollar for every time someone asked us why we were interested in any given keyword, well… we would have a lot of money. The honest answer is that in some cases one of us just had a gut feeling that a keyword was about to get hot. However, in general have done a bunch of research that helped us get all warm and fuzzy about how important any particular keyword might be. We have used all kinds of crazy algorithms in the past but in the end it gets down to how confident we are that this keyword will drive converting traffic (not just traffic, but converting traffic). So the number 1 rule that shouldn’t even have to be on the list is that the user’s intent for that keyword matches something that we have and want to offer that user. Aside from that fundamental principle, here are 10 fairly specific things that we do when valuing keywords that you may want to consider adding to your repertoire:
- Exact Match Domain (EMD) – A domain name which includes an exact match keyword will theoretically and has historically been easier to rank for a search of that keyword. For instance, a search for credit cards would result in a website named creditcards.com having a naturally high ranking. Now, there has been much debate over the value that search engines have to an EMD and it definitely has declined over the last couple of years. However, most in marketing would still consider it an advantage to varying degrees.
- Search Ads (AdWords) – An indirect measure of a keyword’s value. Say you do a search on the keyword insurance quotes in Google, as an example. If the organic search results are accompanied by a significant number of insurance ads along the top and right-hand side of the results page, this is indicative of a high-value keyword. It’s important to also take a look at who is buying those PPC ads as well and if they are not just full of big brands (affiliate marketers are in there), then chances are good that this keyword has at least some real value.
- Compete.com – one great way to see how important a keyword is, you can utilize a tool like compete.com and take a look at known competitors sites and where they are getting traffic from. Specifically you will see what keywords they are getting both organic and paid traffic from. This is something that we would highly recommend that you do if you are interested in understanding the true value of a keyword. Obviously, you should also check the site that is currently ranking #1 for that keyword using a tool like this as well.
- Local Search Volume – This figure represents the amount of traffic local to your geographic target market which has searched a specific keyword. This is of obvious value for following the local search and marketing trends. You can find the local search volume by leveraging the Google Keyword Tool.
- Other Search Volume Tools – We would definitely not stop with just looking at the Google keyword tool. You should compare what you find there with SEMRush.com, SEOBook.com, and other similar keyword analysis tools that will give you volume estimates.
- Global Search Volume – Global search volume is much the same as above, except it is measured across the worldwide web. This measures a keyword’s overall usage over a monthly period in Google’s Keyword Tool. You should know this number, but highly favor local search volume when valuing a keyword as the global search volume is not likely to come through for you.
- – A tool offered by Microsoft that works in Excel, which can be used to research keywords and optimize a website. As you might expect, this being a Microsoft product, the values it ascribes to search terms are based upon Bing search results.
- Evaluate Sites Currently Ranking for the Keyword – It’s also important to take a realistic look at the sites that are currently ranking in the top 10 for a particular term. If those sites are huge brands and/or the number of links they have is massive (using a tool like MajesticSEO), then while the keyword may have value it could be very unlikely that you can successfully get a high ranking to take advantage of that keyword (so you should realistically devalue it accordingly).
- Online Domaining Sites or a Domain Broker – You should browse sites like , sedo.com, and others to see what exact match or very similar domains are currently going for. Another great tactic is to use those sites differently by contacting a broker and having them help you through the whole process. Both buydomains.com and sedo.com will be happy to help you find and purchase a great domain.
- Google Suggestions and Other SERP Suggestions – Another great way to determine how good a keyword is, would be to start typing it in Google and if Google automatically suggests that keyword after the first few letters are typed then you may have a very strong keyword on your hands. Google suggest is a powerful technology that enables users to find things faster. We would make sure that any keyword you go after is one that Google suggest seems to “like” (need help, go to ubersuggest.org).
Previously posted on Longhornleads.com.