Grouping Keywords

So we’ve got a massive list of keywords that we should be using. Just out of interest I decided to see how many phrases [theoretically at least] we could have for our site.

Using the power of maths, a few useful sites and a bit of Notepad++ wizardy [Stuart Bruce and Mat Morrison regularly harp on about the beauty of using Excel effectively. For me Notepad++ is the same – have a look here for a good guide], I’ve worked out that we have over 13 million permutations just from the core and qualifier terms.

Obviously, not all of these will be useful. Using the classic PR trick of comparing data to make it more interesting, I’ve concluded that  if each keyword variable weighed one tonne, the weight of all the keywords combined would equal that of 130,000 Boeing 757-200 or 13 million hippos.

Again, I couldn’t find any real way of grouping keywords that made any sense to me. I kind of guessed that it would be logical if we group the keywords according the web pages we would want people to land on. So using our navigation page, I’ve set it out here .

Notepad++ was great for having an idea of the different permutations. I know Yahoo pipes can pull in data from Google docs. Let’s see if it can help me create a spreadsheet for search phrases. 

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.

PR agency keywords

As I mentioned, I’m working on two different projects. This post is about the proper keyword research we hope to actually use for Porter Novelli as opposed to me messing around with diagrams and stuff.

This is really, really baby step stuff so bear with me here.

Doing a proper keyword search is much more complex and dullsome than my fun graph would suggest. It involves having a look at every single variation of your keywords and search terms and every different permutation – like watching paint dry several times but in different shades of beige.

I initially started with a list of core keywords which are unique-ish to Porter Novelli. These include “Porter Novelli” [obviously], spokespeople, office names, and various brands throughout our organisation. The way I saw it was that if people were actively looking for Porter Novelli brands or offices they should be able to find it easily.

Next, consider searchers who may not be actively looking for you, but looking for services you provide. For instance, we’d like anyone looking for a “health care PR agency” to visit us.

This is where it gets really dull, but will prove utterly invaluable. Basically, I’ve gone through our website looking through our services. I’ve listed them and used Google’s Keyword Tool to suggest variations [I’ve ignored misspelt words for now].

Therefore, for the term “public relations” I’ve got:
public relations

[You’d do this for marketing / communications / etc too]

You then need terms that will complete the search. Again using Google’s Keyword Tool I found key terms which I grouped into:
Qualifier PR agency
Geography [“PR agency Texas”]
Industry [“health care PR agency Texas”]
Services [“Digital communications agency in Texas?”]
I couldn’t think of a decent term for the last one but often people search with another qualifier [“Top 10 PR agency Texas”].

This takes ages and involves redoing the Google Keyword tool for each term that comes up just in case you miss anything out.

Right, now that I’ve got that out of the way. Interesting stuff next time [hopefully]. I can’t even be bothered sticking a nice picture on this post.

Another Search Enginey post

Yeah, I know my title isn’t search friendly. But I’m not that fussed about randoms finding it, especially as it is poorly researched and it’s just me playing around with stuff…

OK so the last couple of posts have been thinking about how to incorporate SEO to PR content and is quite unrelated to what I’m actually working on in the office right now. The reason I actually got off my pert bum and started writing the blog is because the top-digi-dawg [not his proper title] at PN, Mat Morrison asked me to keep a journal on the work I was doing on our newly launched Web site. Have a look it is really neat. While you are there, have a look here and here. Not sure if many other massive corporations would have the balls to be so transparent.

I started writing for the Under Construction blog but then got bogged down with chasing people and making changes to the site and let it slide somewhat but my new found infatuation with all things SEO, neatly ties into what I want to write about.

Blogging your work: it takes three-times longer to do anything.

I’m looking at our own site and how we can make it more search engine friendly. But it’s not just the site itself, it’s our whole Web presence. PN, you, your clients, are no longer just a single corporate Web site any more.

I know this thinking sounds about two years old but I spoke to someone recently about the seeding of their ‘viral’ game. It’s aim was to raise awareness of the client and measured its success on Web traffic to the main site. Do you then discount the hundreds/thousands of people who played the game, seen the brand but not necessarily visited the site? This kind of thinking is still rife.

My old agency, Rainier PR, seems to have a struck a good balance between how their various spaces [I’m sticking with spaces, it’s probably not what the cool kids are using but it works for me] and keywords fit together. MD’s Steve Earl and Stephen Waddington have both fairly blatantly targeted the key terms “IT PR” and “Tech PR” respectively. Steve’s blog, Earlin’ Abuse: Steve Earl’s IT PR Agency Blog ranks higher for ‘IT PR’ than the Surrey-based PR agency, and direct competitor ITPR. “Count them chickens, bad boy”, as Steve would say. Wadds’ Tech PR blog needs very little introduction for the most part. See pretty pics below.

Earlin Abuse

I’m currently researching our keywords and will blog about them shortly. I’m using Raven as my primary research tool. It costs money but aspects of it you can find elsewhere for nowt.

This post is already too long. Bye.

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?

Keyword diagram

Sketched this on the back of my notebook one day. This is the process I’m working to for now.

If it works I’ll get one of our designers to make it look a bit nicer – maybe put some pretty pictures in.



Search Engine Optimisation and Public Relations: Conversion Vs Conversation

OK, a bit of a divergence here. Actually it’s not much of a divergence, I’ve always said this blog was a place to braindump all my ideas and keep a track of where I am. It just so happens that I haven’t had much to say about work, I’ve settled down better in London and have nothing [which I deem] interesting to say. So I’m going to talk about Search Engine Optimisation and PR for  a bit. Before I start nothing I say in this is going to be new, and probably not all of it right.

For me, Search Engine Optimisation should form the basis of any comms campaign. It’s what got me into digital PR. Two and a half years ago, Rainier PR’s Wadds asked me to do a bit of research of SEO and implement some of my findings in the web site. You’ll find my poorly proofed whitepaper here. And it wasn’t so long ago when I bored PR networking queen Jaz Cummins to tears with my SEO rant when I first met her a couple of years back.

Geordie Scally and part time PR Golden child, Stephen Davies has commented on SEO in the past but following his new business venture and move to Newcastle’s premier business park, he’s been rather quiet on that front.

I flirted outrageously with Social Meedja Massif! [innit] but I always had a keen interest in the way SEO is more measurable and actually leads to conversions rather than ‘conversations’. If you were a client where would your money go?

Before you worry your little selves about the intricacies of tinkering about with ‘web code and that’, I’m not talking about breaking your Web site. I’ve no real experience of web coding, etc, I can spot patterns and take a guess at what means what but apart from that I’m as lost as horse with a wrench.

With Google dicking around with its algorithm again, content is key. This is where PR can take some of the SEO market if we’re clever enough. And the basis of content is knowing what people are searching for, i.e. keywords – which is where I am starting from and see where I get from there.

Follow me on my journey as I waste time working out how two conflicting areas[SEO and PR] can come together into something more beautiful. Take note Middle East.