Finding your keywords (the long way)

Right, this is getting boring and taking ages.  But I have to keep going because some people are still asking about SEO. [By ‘people’ I mean those that it’s relevant to, not my best mate’s mum who tried to access the Web by inserting the Freeserve Internet CD in the VCR]. For me; I’m desperate to find out whether PR can actually do SEO.

I was meaning to write this a while back having done the actual work early-Jan but there were other priorities. Much of it is quite dull with just lists of keywords. So forgive me if I’m vague on some of the details as I try and write this post without chewing my own testicles to keep me awake.

As I’ve started researching the SEO space a little bit more, I’ve found that the amount of info out there is scary. You know how sometimes you can lose hours on a weekend just browsing through blogs even if they are regurgitating what everyone else has said? And then you kick yourself because it was time you could have spent playing XBOX, pacing around the flat or just stare time?

SEO is worse. Worse because in PR at least we speak in more everyday terms [partly because some PRs are better at applying theory to the real world, partly because some PRs don’t really understand what they’re talking about]. Worse because there are a gazillion blog and forums all decentralised with no real place to start.

Most people think that SEO is one of those exact sciences. How can you argue with code and search engine rankings? It’s black and white. Like a good haircut and bad haircut – there’s no argument. But as far as I can tell no one really knows how Google works [apart from Google obviously] and so a lot of it is educated guesswork. There’s as much debate here as there is in the social media space.

Although the level of importance of keywords is still in debate, there’s little doubt that they play a significant role in achieving high rankings on search engine results pages.  

There are some great free tools on the Web which can help with your keyword research – the most obvious being Google’s fantastic Keyword tool. By sticking in a search term you can see an approximation of the number of searches for that particular term/phrase and how much competition there is with using it. With Google being as great as they are, [try Google docs – there’s no going back] they also throw in some other phrases for you to suggest.

Using a combination of SEO tools via Raven [a lot of the tools it uses are free but it integrates them all brilliantly], I started building a list of keywords based on our brands, services and the industries we operate in. See here for the list of keywords.

From what I can gather there’s no real preferred method of grouping terms, so I thought what the hell? Why don’t I just make it up? [I genuinely had a look at how other people did this but none of them really satisfied me or gave a decent enough explanation as to why they were grouped that particular way].

The headings speak for themselves, the type of keywords however, I’ve tried to group logically, keeping in mind that these will eventually become key phrases as well as words.

Unique Terms:

Keywords that were specific to Porter Novelli. These included brands, content [i.e. whitepapers], spokespeople and names of our partner agencies. We should be pretty much at the top of all search engine results pages for these search queries excepting the more generic keywords.

Core Terms:

These keywords are sector/industry specific. This is where we want a high level of visibility. These are potential clients/employees who have decided what they want, but not who [Porter Novelli] they want to help them with it.

Qualifier Terms:

The core terms are too generic. Very few people looking for a help with their PR would merely “PR” they would search “Top PR agency” or “leading PR company”. I’ve included the location of all our offices too.

Negative terms:

I only found about negative keywords through looking on the Web. Apparently, Google knows if people who have clicked on your site immediately come back to Google because they do not find what they are looking for. Therefore, having an idea of negative keywords is important. I’ve basically stolen this excellent list of negative keywords to help with this project.

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2 responses to “Finding your keywords (the long way)

  1. Wordtracker.

    *a whole lot better than Google on this score and with a bunch of extra stuff*.

    Trust me on this.

  2. Cool. will try it. Thanks Ian

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