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Keyword Mining: Archeology and Finding the Right Keywords

Posted on Thursday, July 9th, 2009 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - SEO

I came to search in a very round-about way. I studied Anthropology and Archeology Undergrad and then moved to the wilds of Los Angeles. Along the way, I’ve learned that the profession that found me and the profession I prepared for are not as different as I would have guessed. Finding the right keyword is a lot like carefully unearthing a precious artifact; it takes patience, care, and the ability to simultaneously do your job and appease your client or department.

Accept right now that finding the right keywords will take time. It will take time to learn exactly what your client wants for their site, what works and what doesn’t for their brand, and what words are worth going after and which ones are not. You can find some great wins and low hanging fruit if you start working on the right set of words, but if you didn’t take the time to gather all of the information, you could be toiling over an artifact-free patch of ground, while your colleagues/competitors are unearthing the good stuff only a few feet away.

There are about a dozen or more tools on the web, some free (like Adwords) and some subscription (like Wordtracker or Wordze), that can help you find the right keywords for the site you’re interested in optimizing. Picking the right one for the job can mean the difference between using a brush or a pickax to uncover a delicate vase. You’ll need your big guns when you’re just breaking ground: tools that will spit out volumes and volumes of keywords for everything from “fine bone china” to “earthenware vase,” and anything and everything that relates to your business, client, or site. Once you have this mass of data, you’ll need to filter it, carefully uncovering the gems. To do that by hand, you might as well say goodbye to your weekends for the next few years. At this point you’ll want to take a look at other tools that can help you make sense of your data. Some tools are as easy to use and as readily available as the sort and filter options on Excel.

You’ll need to find a balance between high volume, general keywords and longtail, specific keywords for your site. You may not get as much traffic from one longtail term as you would from one general keyword, but the cumulative effect of optimizing for a variety of terms that are more specific to your brand or product will result in better traffic from people more interested in what you do or sell. This optimization will also contribute to your site being recognized as an authority site by the search engines. In Archaeology, you’re looking for the find that will put you on the map as a researcher, but you can’t discount the small discoveries that add up and build a base for your reputation, further legitimizing your big find, when it comes along. All of the longtail keywords you use on your site that relate to the general keywords that you’re gunning for long term will contribute to creating a solid foundation so that the search engines can assess your site and decide that it is, indeed, an authority site on your brand and product. Producing unique, compelling content that is also optimized will require a delicate balance of art and science, not unlike trying to uncover finds at an Archeology site.

About Tanya Gill

Tanya is an avid fan of search marketing and the arts. As an SEO creative editor for The Search Agency, she has been able to blend the two for 2+ years.

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2 Responses to “Keyword Mining: Archeology and Finding the Right Keywords”

  1. Richard says:

    Well-written article, Tanya.

  2. The biggest challenge is positioning keyword research as more art than science.

    They say “when you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail” and it’s much the same with keyword research. If you don’t have the tools and more importantly the expertise, then any keyword looks “good enough”. That strategy leads to lack of focus and way too much work.

    Tanya and the content team do a great job at being as ‘keyword frugal’ as necessary, prefering quality to quantity in compiling and executing keyword campaigns that consistently drive optimal ROI on our client’s SEO spend.

    It’s one of the differentiations I believe makes The Search Agency one of the more successful marketing agencies in our industry.


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