the inbound-i blog: Inbound Marketing Information, Ideas & Intelligence

How To Research Keywords: A High Return Online Marketing Activity

Posted by Ellie Becker on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 @ 20:03 PM

This is the second in our SEO series. Optimizing your website is probably the top way to leapfrog your competition today in my opinion.Choose Longtail Search Terms for SEO

The basic building block of SEO – and all online marketing -- is the keyword or search term. There are free research tools to learn how your prospects are actually searching for your products/services. The words they use may never occur to you. But you can discover them and use them to drive traffic to your website from these active searchers.

Here’s how important keyword research is according to SEOMoz – one of the top authorities on search engine optimization – excerpted from its “The Beginner’s Guide to SEO”:

“Keyword research is one of the most important, valuable, and high return activities in the search marketing field. Through the detective work of puzzling out your market's keyword demand, you not only learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO, but also learn more about your customers as a whole. The usefulness of this intelligence cannot be overstated. In the history of marketing, there has never been such a low barrier to entry in understanding the motivations of consumers in virtually every niche - not taking advantage is practically criminal.”

Here’s how to start researching keywords. Click on this link to Google’s free keyword tool. It was developed to help companies target Adwords in Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns. It’s also very useful in organic (unpaid) search.

Here’s what to do. In the search field type in keywords and search terms that you believe are important in your industry. In the left column of the tool, you’ll see an option called Match Type. Select the option that says Exact Match.  This will return you suggestions related to the exact broad term you typed in.

The suggestions provided are based on actual searches that have happened over the past month. Refer to the column marked ‘Local’ which is the searches performed in your country. The Global search column is for searches worldwide.

The second column from the left tells you the difficulty – or competition -- of ranking for the search term. The lower the number, the easier to rank for it on Page one of search results.

The suggested search terms are considered “longtail” search terms. For example, a recent search for the exact broad search term Social Media Marketing revealed 22,200 local monthly searches and competition of .92.

The longtail search term “using social media for marketing” only had 480 local searches but had a competition of only .62. Plus, those 480 people are more likely to be interested in finding help using social media for marketing rather than those who may be seeking broader information. That would be an interesting longtail search term for me.

You’ll make similar search term decisions for yur own industry. Keyword research is not an exact science and it’s a bit of an art. As you’ll discover, there are thousands of ways that prospects may search for your products or services. It’s humbling, actually, and important motivation for dropping jargon from our marketing language.

The best advice I can offer is to explore, experiment and analyze. HubSpot has keyword tools and analytics built in, including your ranking for specific keywords. There are other tools out there like Keyword Spy, which also gives you competitive intelligence.

Optimizing your web pages and content based on keyword research will pay off in more traffic to your site from targeted prospects.


As you consider your keyword strategy learn more about another key element of ranking for search terms - Social Media. Download your free White Paper.

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The Longtail image is from the Flickr photostream of Mister-E chris Eason under Creative Commons license.

Topics: SEOMoz, SEO, Inbound Marketing Strategy, HubSpot, Keyword Research, Keyword Spy

Outside-the-Box Ideas for Holiday Marketing Online

Posted by Ellie Becker on Mon, Nov 28, 2011 @ 19:11 PM

Out of the Box Online Marketing Ideas

Three times today I read information about inbound and online marketing strategies that had me saying, “Oh that’s a great idea!” So I thought I’d share them with you.

  1. As a Lord & Taylor customer I get their marketing emails. Today – Cyber-Monday – they took the opportunity to send a communication extending 25% online discounts to in-store purchases. What a good idea. As the media focuses people on the supposedly biggest online shopping day of the holiday season and the year, Lord & Taylor took the opportunity to reward their bricks and mortar customers for leaving their homes and offices and coming into the store. Chances are it’s a good day to do that, possibly with lower in-store traffic. Rewarding all customers for their purchases today sounds like a smart thing to do.
  2. I subscribe to an SEO software service called Keyword Spy and get their marketing emails, too. Today, their email cracked me up and underscored a great and underutilized keyword marketing strategy. Here’s the subject line of the email: Big Profets frum Bad Spellingg (and pooor typign too!) :)  The gist of the email was that in optimizing our websites and content we tend to go for properly spelled keywords. But there are millions of keyword searches using misspellings and including typos. If we’re not spelling snobs – which I definitely tend to be as a writer – we have big opportunities to attract the bad spellers and bad typists who can and will still buy our products and services. What a good idea!
  3. Google is starting to insert paid ads in new places like local maps. Savvy marketers are buying subsidized ads that make their little push-pins in the map stand out from all the rest and invite a click. Another even savvier marketer bid on his own branded keyword so that his ad for free online shipping popped up in the same ad bubble that announced a special promotion at his bricks-and-mortar store. A good idea that let him cover online and offline bases in a local map search engine result.


What good outside-the-box ideas are you using in your holiday online marketing?

If you'd like more good ideas for marketing online, download our free Ebook.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Online Marketing, SEO, Cyber Monday, Google Maps, Keyword Spy

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