Optimising press release: Keyword research wheel

OK sorry about that, I’m still getting use to having my own proper blog.

My esteemed ex-boss, @wadds has asked me to explain my little self properly before vomiting random diagrams on my page.

Before I do that, I just want to make a few points.

I always said that I’d resist blogging until I had something to say and not care what others thought. Actually I do, and your kind words have been much appreciated.

Secondly, please, PLEASE bear in mind that the diagram was thought up following a couple of nights of restless sleep. It is definitely NOT what the Digi team at PN is using for their keyword analysis. I’m not an expert at all in this field and hoping to get shot down but if you like it, use it – let me know if you make it better. But don’t blame me if people start picking holes in it mid-presentation and starts hating you. Just saying. Get a better haircut.

OK, I’ll explain myself.

Keyword_research wheel

Keyword_research wheel

See that pretty thing up there? That’s what I’ve tentatively called the Keyword research wheel – took me ages to make the circly bit. It’s just a little thought process for when you are writing a press release. It’s made up of two main sections: the Internal Review and the External Review – which are then divided into subsections:

1. Objective [Evaluation]
What are your client’s objectives and how do keywords fit into it? For instance, you have copy  about a specific product or upgrade, let’s say a specific model of Camera, the Coolpix S710.  If you’ve made enough people aware of it, you would then make sure you would be placed highly for when people are searching for it. Alternatively, if you have a spokeperson making up a non-story opinion linking home-working/virtual conferencing/Second Life-based-meeting with green issues  [you all are and you know it] then you would want your press release to be littered with perhaps more general issues-based terms.

I’ve got another post coming up which will explain more about this.

2. Keywords [Evaluation]
Once you’ve come up with a list of keywords don’t keep it in your head. Write them down or stick them in an Excel file. There’s a table half-way down the page which is quite useful for making sure you’ve got things ticked off even though it’s more for finding keywords to track.

3. Trends [Rationalization – yes, it is a ‘z’]
What are people actually searching for? What is your target audience typing into search engines?  Using Google’s Keyword Tool you can have see what are popular search terms.

4. Competition [Rationalization]
When picking Keywords you should see how much competition there is. Is it worth going all guns blazing and trying to rank highly for “Porn sex”? Probably not. Start thinking about the weird shit.

I posed a question to my colleague Kerry the other day regarding competitor’s keywords. Should you care what your direct competitors are doing? For instance, you’d think Porter Novelli should be looking at Edelman and Weber’s keyword list. Sounds obvious right? Especially with all three of us launching our new Web sites recently. But surely then you should only want to rank highly for popular/relevant search terms and whatever your competitors are doing is redundant? I don’t know, perhaps someone could help?

Once you’ve gone through the stages you then should tweak it a bit more so that it fits in with the client objectives – hence the circle. Finding the right keywords is basically about balancing your client’s needs, the popularity of keywords and how much competition there is. Hardly, deserving of the interest its had. It’s a bloody good bit of Powerpoint though.

Does this explain my reasoning behind the Keyword research wheel? Does it actually work? Who knows? Who cares?

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8 responses to “Optimising press release: Keyword research wheel

  1. I think that you should always look at competitor keywords, but competitors may not be who you think that they are.

    A surrogate of this could be looking at the average values in Google’s Key Word Analysis tool and then deciding do you want to optimise for the expensive words, or are their ‘search word niches’ that you want to optimise for instead?

    Or as Sun Tzu put it void and actuality.

  2. Agreed. It’s about balance. I know that seems vague but using the tools [Which I’m investigating now] you can get a clearer picture. In the end it boils down a little bit to gut feeling.

    Hopefully I’m wrong though.

  3. Great wheel Tim – nice way of simplifying what can become an incredibly complex process. I generally follow a modified version of the e-Consultancy best practice guide to SEO, but that looks a bit like a Tube map on steroids and frightens people!

  4. Thanks Paul. Again have to stress that it is very basic and still not sure if it works correctly yet. Just threw it out there and people complained about me not explaining my thinking behind it properly

  5. I’m still not convinced by this wheel, you know. I applaud your attempts to simplify a complex process, and agree broadly with what you’re saying, but there are still things that bother me.

    1) I don’t understand the difference between “internal” and “external” on your diagram.

    2) Your map doesn’t show me where data originates: I know that you’re pulling internal data, audience data, competitive review data etc. but I can’t tell how and where.

    3) I don’t understand “trends” – are you saying that you’re looking at a time-line of keyword performance? I think a trend has to have a time dimension (you can’t simply look at “last month’s data” and predict a trend.)

    4) (A big one) — you haven’t explained the point of a SEO PR is to increase the visibility of your landing page not the visibility of your press release. There’s sod-all point in optimizing keywords on a press release when those keywords don’t appear on your landing page.

    I think that you’ve started simplifying too early in your research, that you’ve become enamoured of your diagram, and that your attempts to “fix” it and “explain” it are leading you down the wrong path. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily; an over-fondness for neat diagrams is the key vice of most good planners. But I think you need to take a step back and map the more complex picture before you start making it look simple. Happy to work with you on this.

  6. Mat, fair points.

    I did get carried away. I’ll try and answer what I can but I’ve regularly stated that the diagram was me messing around and just trying to get my head around stuff.
    Here goes:

    1) Internal review = looking inside your company for keywords. This is the spokespeople they have, issues they face and products they produce. External reviews looks outside the company – i.e. what your audiences are searching for and what your competitors are using. I should have explained it in the original post.

    2) I know. This was something I was looking into and what tools we could use. I have some in mind but didn’t want to say which before I had chance to play with them all properly and checked how they all fit together. But always open to suggestions.

    3) Fair point. I had average number of searches in mind. But like you say it could differ wildly. Can any SEO guys help with this? Mr Mayfield? MR Girdwood? From what time frame should you work with in order to ascertain trends?

    4) Nope. Didn’t even cross my mind. I will take this into account when carrying out my keyword research.

    The diagram was there just to help me think of a logical process for when I was doing work with keywords [my wanders all too frequently]. I only stuck it up to see what others thought and feedback has been very helpful.

    I do bloody love diagrams though, but yes will be more careful.

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