Gareth: Andy Beal is originally from Brighton UK but for many years now a seasoned local in North Carolina – he is a blogging and search engine marketing legend and is considered to be one of the world’s most respected online marketing experts.
Andy has worked with many top companies such as Motorola, CitiFinancial and you’ll even find Andy mentioned in numerous Books on search including “The Google Story” by David Vise and “The search” by John Battelle
Andy has appeared on CNBC and has been featured in press such as The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.
And if its business credentials your after Andy helped grow the company KeywordRanking.com from six employees and a handful of clients to company with more than 180 employees and 1,000+ search marketing clients!
And today my friends he is here to round up some of the top news going on in the world of search! Wham bam thank you man – this guy is the whole search marketing shabang! Ladies and gentleman I introduce to you Andy Beal.
Gareth: Ok, Monsieur Beal What do you have to share with us this week? Shoot.
Andy Beal: It’s a pleasure to be here – looking forward to chatting with you about some of the things that we’ve seen in the news and sharing some tips we can use this week.
Well there’s been a lot of buzz going on around right now with the Yahoo Overture’s suggestion tool and a lot of people will be concerned that that’s going to go away. A lot of search marketers have definitely relied upon that for a number of years to get a good understanding as to what people are searching for and which search queries are the most popular. So I thought we’d take a look at some additional tools that are available and also talk a little bit about some keyword research and some practical tips for your viewers.
Gareth: Sounds Wicked – Err I have to ask you my man what are those space invaders on the wall behind you?
Andy Beal: Well, I don’t quite have the budget of the fantastic set you have there in England, Gareth, so by the magic of wall transfers we have some interesting space invader designs on my wall that kind of of keeps things, just a little bit low key and casual around here, but I can assure you the rest of my office is very professional.
Gareth: Ok – I got ya! So tell us about the new tools that appeared this week?
Andy Beal: So with Yahoo moving over to new platform, it didn’t make sense for them to continue to support the Overture Inventory suggestion tool, which a lot of people use to check their keyword research. But the good news is that a couple of other companies that are very popular with keyword research tools decided to take this opportunity to provide a free service. Those companies are WordTracker and Keyword Discovery, and both have been very well known for their paid subscriptions models that they offer for keyword research tools and you can use either one of those. In the last few days they’ve actually come out with a free version of their tools, so basically search marketers can go to their site and they can get access to a little bit more of a limited version of their keyword research tools but certainly enough that even small businesses can utilize the tools to get a better understanding of which search terms are the most popular in their industry so they can target their search marketing campaign appropriately.
Gareth: Ok so no more FREE keyword data from overture – but we can get some better free data from WordTracker and Keyword Discovery – cool. So what’s a good process folks can follow to research their keywords?
Andy Beal: Yeah, that’s a great question. Certainly, you can use this tools to do a lot of the keyword research, but there is a process that I think that most business owners should go through whenever researching their different keyword they want to target. First step, I like to call brainstorming. Nobody knows the theme of the page or the content of your web site better than you do. Take a look at your site and try to get an understanding for what would somebody search for if they would be looking for the content of this page. “If I was to Google or Yahoo, what would I type in, into the search engines and what is the most appropriate key phrases?”. And ask your friends, ask your customers, anybody that you can, just brain storm and get an idea as to what naturally people would type in if they were looking for the content on your particular page. And then, second step is to take a look at the page content and get an understanding as to what key phrases it’s already naturally targeting. So, you know what the content is generally about, but it’s a good idea to see what key phrases do you already have on there, there are mentions of a particular keyword that keeps coming on the page. So, you might try to get an idea as to what the theme is for page already, because that’s typically from where you’re going be getting traffic anyway. Chances are that the search engines already have identified the particular theme for the page, so you want to get… First step is to get an idea as to what you think the page is offering, second step is to really take a good look at what you’re saying on the page to see which key phrases are indeed the most popular on the page and then what I recommend is the third step, that’s when you start jumping into the tools that are out there and start looking at the different key phrases that are the most popular on the web.
Gareth: Now I have used Keyword tools for years and I have always questioned the numbers as they can be a little out there sometimes. So should we really trust the numbers we see on these tools?
Andy Beal: So, when you’re using this tools it’s important to realize that neither WordTracker nor Keyword Discovery have access to every single search query that’s going on around the web. It is not as if they are tapping into all of the search queries that happen at Google or Yahoo. They have their own selection, their own database they tap into. So, really you’re using these tools to get an idea as to what’s popular within their database of tools.
Certainly you don’t want to take it for granted that when you type something in and it tells you that there were 5000 people that searched for that key phrase that that’s how many people that are out there that are searching for. It’s relative to the size of the audience that they’re measuring. It’s also important to realize that not necessarily everything you see in the tools is accurate. Sometimes there are anomalies in there, where people are searching with automated queries and things like that so you kind of really apply some common sense. Another thing is if you decide to compare between Keyword Discovery and WordTracker you’re not going to see the same numbers.
I’ve seen huge differences when you type the same key phrase into each of the two different tools that are available and the numbers will be completely different. So, it’s important to realize that the numbers are relative within the total number of that particular tool and what you’re looking to do is to take the key phrases that you brain storm and identified from the page, put them into either Keyword Discovery or WordTracker, and look at the relative number for the other key phrases you think you might target, put together a spreadsheet to keep track of the key phrase, keep track of the key phrase frequency and try to brain storm for each page and 20 to different 25 key phrases that are relevant to the page and also have good numbers and then, once you’ve got that information, you can go back to your spreadsheet and start picking out maybe two, three or four key phrases that are the most relevant queries and also have good numbers of traffic that are appearing in the tools and then that will give you a good idea “Okay, these are the key phrases that I think they’re important and its been backed up by the tools that I’ve used, there’s good queries there, so I’m going to move forward with my search engine optimisation campaignbased upon these key phrases.”
Gareth: Andy that’s a stack of great info – Do you have any other tips for viewers when it comes to keywords?
Andy Beal: Summing up I think it’s important to realize that not all key phrases are the same. They represent different stages in a consumers or potential customers buying cycle. Some of the key phrases can be a little bit more generic, maybe research based, and so you want to look for things that are for example “DVD review” or “best options for DVDs”… You know, those are going be more research based and so you want to match those up to pages where you’re not necessarily ramming down the throats of a visitor, “Here! Here’s a product! Buy it now!”. You would match up those key phrases with other pages, maybe reviews or information about what to look for in a DVD player, for example.
Gareth: Right – so its about presenting appropriate content for the keywords taking into account the state of mind a user may be at- that makes a lot of sense.
Andy Beal: You know, there’s different stages of the buying cycle, and you get all the way around to the buying stage when somebody actually is typing in a model number for a DVD player, you are pretty sure you want to bring him into the exact page, they probably don’t want to see a review, they’re ready to go, so that’s where you try to match up your keywords appropriately to the right page. So, I think that’s certainly important to do.
Gareth: So finally when it comes to keyword research is there anything people should watch out for?
Andy Beal: Well, I think that keyword research is a complex task, is very important. Your entire campaign is based upon “I’m going to try and get positioning on the search engines for this particular key phrase” so it is a complex thing and I think it is important to understand that… Don’t try to cram all your key phrases onto a particular page. You simply don’t want to try and target 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 key phrases all on your home page thinking, “Well the home page is the strongest page I have, so surely I need to try and get all the visitors to that page”. You need to look at your site, you need to look at the your natural target on each of your page, understand what stage in cycle the page represents, is it something of a review or is it a product page, and then try to match up the key phrases to those particular pages. If it is a very competitive term, you may want to try to do only one or two key phrases to target on the page. If it’s more of a specific product, or the key phrases are further into what we call “the long tail”, and that is the key phrases are not particularly competitive and 3 or 4 words long and you might want to fill in 3 to 5 different key phrases in that page. The important thing is to not try to cram everything onto your home page. Spread everything out, try to bring people into the most appropriate page on the site.
Gareth: Well that’s been really useful and thanks for taking the time out to join us Andy. So it just remains for me Gareth Davies to say thanks for being here and until next time “Stay Lucky!”