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Keyword Research Guide Worth a Look




I love to collect free PDF white papers, but I hardly ever read them. I made an exception for the recent release of “Keyword Research and Selection: The Definitive Guide to Gathering, Sorting and Organizing Your Keywords into a High-Performance SEO Campaign” by Stoney G. deGeyter (and Jason Green) of E-Marketing Performance and Pole Position Marketing.

“Keyword Research and Selection” is an excellent place to begin your keyword research. It offers good advice and best practices for keyword research. For example, “KRS” advises: “Don’t get locked into using the keyword phrase precisely as its most often searched, even if the stemmed variations show little search volume” (13).

Keyword Research and SelectionStoney and Jason address another attitude that I’ve encountered all too often: “Don’t promote terms on the basis of generating hits, instead promote terms on the basis of generating sales” (15). I know lots of legitimate SEOs (ie not crooks) who focus too much on high search volume keywords that will never convert.

The points I happen to disagree with in the text are pretty minor:

  • ”When researching competition it is good to type 2 or 3 keywords at a time into the search field as this will furnish a list of competitors that are specifically targeting a similar audience” (16). It might be a way to identify larger competitors, but it’s also important to identify who each keyword’s specific competitors are. There may not be overlap, even in highly similar keywords.
  • That aside, there isn’t enough on measuring the strength of competitor pages. If the top ten is dominated by Wikipedia, About.com, and other well-linked and vetted sites, cracking the first page is going to take a lot longer—and may or may not be worth it.
  • “We like to organize our phrases in groups of five targeting no more than fifteen keywords per page” (19). Stoney and Jason do advise the reader to write naturally; I’m just not sure how “natural” a page targeting 15 keywords, no matter how closely related they are, can sound.


Finally, a matter of preference: rather than sorting keywords by search volume, I like a system where you sort keywords by potential ROI. For example, say you’re targeting “golf travel bags” (volume: 75) as well as “duffel bags” (volume: 200). If your average profit on a duffel bag is $12, but your average profit on a golf travel bag is $75, even though “golf travel bags” has a lower volume, you could make a greater ROI ($5625 vs. $2400). Even better is a system that takes into account the competitiveness of the keywords and the amount of time it will most likely take to rank well.

Overall, the book has good advice and an excellent collection, explanation and summary of free keyword research tools available. Also, nearly every client concern I’ve ever encountered in keyword research is addressed in this book.

“Keyword Research and Selection” would be most useful for an individual or company without an established keyword research process, or someone just starting to perform keyword research for his/her site. It may also be good for those with an established keyword research process to compare your process to this one to see if there are areas where you can improve—you might be surprised.

(I have not been paid, compensated or even asked to do this review by EMP/PPM.)

  • http://www.emarketingperformance.com st0n3y

    Thanks for the review Jordan. I think you are absolutely right that organizing by ROI is MUCH better than organizing by search volume. It makes me sad that I didn’t think of that! But good point, for sure.

    For us, competitive research is separate from keyword research. I tend to think that if its a good keyword then its a good keyword regardless of the competition. But it is definitely smart to know what you’re up against just so you can be realistic in goals.

    Again, thanks for the review!

  • http://www.netmarketing.com.mx Jorge Ramirez

    Again, thanks for your advices and for sharing your experience with us.

  • http://www.thevanblog.com Steven Bradley

    Jordan you’re not alone in collecting PDF white papers that you don’t read. This is one I downloaded a couple of days ago and really did want to read.

    Thanks for the reminder and the added thoughts.

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  • http://aglocofiction.blogspot.com Danny

    Keywords with lesser volume do not take as much effort as trying to attain position for large volume keywords. I have tried it myself for a long time and eventually I gave up, and I also got much better results from less popular keywords. I think its a choice you’ll have to make, choosing between multiple low volume keywords or a one or two popular keywords.

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  • http://www.seopractices.com/2007/02/guide-to-keyword-research-best.html Keyword Research Best Practices

    I’ll be checking: Keyword Research and Selection: The Definitive Guide to Gathering, Sorting and Organizing Your Keywords into a High-Performance SEO Campaign”. Thanks for the information. I will add your link to my post.

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  • http://www.thirstypony.com David Pye

    Hello all – big fan of MP for a long time. Reviewing this post I noticed a lot of the characters are “wonky”. This happened to me when I upgraded to WP 2.5 this week and I found a simple fix I thought I’d share: http://www.mydigitallife.info/2007/06/18/wordpress-charset-encoding-problem-after-upgrading-to-version-22/

    Thanks for the daily read.

    Dave Pye

    David Pye’s last blog post..Tweet Nothings: Twitter, TWhirl and the Violent Demise of Productivity