I love to collect free PDF white papers, but I hardly ever read them. I made an exception for the recent release of â€œKeyword Research and Selection: The Definitive Guide to Gathering, Sorting and Organizing Your Keywords into a High-Performance SEO Campaignâ€ by Stoney G. deGeyter (and Jason Green) of E-Marketing Performance and Pole Position Marketing.
â€œKeyword Research and Selectionâ€ is an excellent place to begin your keyword research. It offers good advice and best practices for keyword research. For example, â€œKRSâ€ advises: â€œDonâ€™t get locked into using the keyword phrase precisely as its most often searched, even if the stemmed variations show little search volumeâ€ (13).
Stoney and Jason address another attitude that Iâ€™ve encountered all too often: â€œDon’t promote terms on the basis of generating hits, instead promote terms on the basis of generating salesâ€ (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:
- â€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 audienceâ€ (16). It might be a way to identify larger competitors, but itâ€™s also important to identify who each keywordâ€™s specific competitors are. There may not be overlap, even in highly similar keywords.
- That aside, there isnâ€™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 longerâ€”and may or may not be worth it.
- â€œWe like to organize our phrases in groups of five targeting no more than fifteen keywords per pageâ€ (19). Stoney and Jason do advise the reader to write naturally; Iâ€™m just not sure how â€œnaturalâ€ 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 youâ€™re targeting â€œgolf travel bagsâ€ (volume: 75) as well as â€œduffel bagsâ€ (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 â€œgolf travel bagsâ€ 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 Iâ€™ve ever encountered in keyword research is addressed in this book.
â€œKeyword Research and Selectionâ€ 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 improveâ€”you might be surprised.
(I have not been paid, compensated or even asked to do this review by EMP/PPM.)