Posted February 2, 2007 12:46 pm by with 12 comments

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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.)