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Keyword Research & Analysis Process
Customers frequently ask us how we conduct our research. Good keyword research requires creativity, a wide variety of tools, and a disciplined process. It also takes a lot of data, from multiple sources, and a system for integrating all that information into a cohesive keyword strategy.
Here's a brief overview of what goes into our reports:
Step 1: Client Intake
We hold all incoming orders for a minimum of four hours to allow our clients to submit additional information. Most of our clients take advantage of this, to tell us about their business, their priorities, their goals, and their competition. We often contact our clients with questions at this stage - the more information we have, the more effective we can be.
Step 2: Brainstorming
Once our work begins, we use a variety of research tools and techniques to better understand the "keyword space" for each client. Our tools for brainstorming include search engines like Altavista & Teoma (which offer "related searches" to help expand concepts), the always handy dictionary/thesaurus reference set, a keyword spider to examine competing sites, and customer-focused websites like discussion forums.
Step 3: The Target List
Our goal during this phase is to develop an extensive list of concepts, keywords and search terms as the basis for further research. If we've done our job well, we will have defined the major categories of keywords for our client. Typically, we end up with a list of around 50-100 search terms and concepts at this point.
Step 4: Wordtracker Research
Now it's time to dig deep, so we log onto the Wordtracker system. Wordtracker has a database of about 400 million searches, taken from the last two months' usage of the Dogpile and Metacrawler search engines. Their tools (lateral search, thesaurus, comprehensive search, and compressed search) allow us to expand our keyword list, usually to several hundred search terms.
Step 5: Sleep On It!
Yes, one of the most important elements of good keyword research is sleep. When we think we've found everything worth looking for, we like to sleep on it. There is a greater than zero chance that we'll find more in the morning! Although we sometimes do take "rush orders," it's hard to feel confident about the outcome when we skip this step.
Step 6: Prepare Final Report
Finally, after completing our keyword search, we combine all of our data sources to generate a finished report. Wordtracker provides popularity counts for all search terms, Google competition data, and bids from Overture. Alexa's paid data services are used to collect link popularity information about competing sites. Market share estimates and click-through rates come from our own research.
Keyword reports usually take 4-6 business days to complete. (Our business days are Monday-Friday 8am-6pm, excluding U.S. Federal holidays.) After all that, we're ready to deliver your report! If you need more information, feel free to contact us or review the detailed description of our keyword reports.
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