Tag Archives: keyword research

Do you consider SEO to be part of your product development?

Just saw this throwaway tweet from search guru Danny Sullivan, who I guess is currently attending SMX East in New York:

What this would suggest is that HTC looked at what people were searching for around their phones (say ‘htc purple’ or ‘htc evo fuchsia’) and realized that there was latent demand that they weren’t addressing. As a result they are now bringing out a line of multicolored phones that presumably will be on the end of these searches in future, leading to more satisfied customers and obviously a few more dollars in the bargain.

What a great example of using one of the cheapest market intelligence tools out there: internal and external search metrics. For external search, query your web analytics tool for your keyword referral data. Look at what search terms are used on Google, Yahoo, Bing and the other major engines to reach your site. Are there terms for which you don’t currently have neat product placement, but could provide something with relative ease? (If it’s longer term you may need to work it into the product roadmap). Perform the same exercise with your internal site search engine. Most solutions in this space will provide metrics on what are the most commonly searched terms on your site.

If you want to look further afield at what people are searching for on Google, you can also poke around on the Google Keyword Tool. In this example you can see related terms for the base keyword ‘htc’:

The next step is perhaps the toughest: particularly if you work for a large enterprise. Somehow you need to get this information over to your product team. They may already be clued on to what you can learn from the web and embrace your research. My experience is that there is generally some education to do (and possibly the building of a process) before you can embed this search-based market intent into product development. Still, at least you know your product portfolio will become more closely aligned to the (online) market.

Do you have any examples/experiences of your own to share?

Google Instant: longer keyword searches on first page?

You probably have seen the latest incarnation of Google search, unless you live in a cave. The Google hype machine swung into operation with a ballsy approach to a teaser followed by the Google Instant announcement and launch in the US the following day.

Since the Big G did such a good job of explaining this, I’ll let them do the talking courtesy of YouTube:

It remains to be seen what users make of this, but one expected behavior, is the use of more complex search terms as users can amend their query instantly based on the results they see. Merissa Meyer, Google’s VP of search products and user experience elaborates here. Let’s say I start looking for ‘android phones’, I can instantly see results for this term, and also derivatives. I can instantly go in the direction of telephony providers, such as ‘android phones t-mobile’ or ‘android phones verizon’. Actually, I notice there is a comparison link with an iPhone on the first page, so I could go in the direction of ‘android phones iphone’ and check out the relative merits.

For users that take to this new way of searching (there are apparently those who don’t), there are potential behavioral shifts that could affect what search results are shown, and, more importantly for us online marketers, what search results are clicked.

A couple of examples:

As noted earlier, search terms are expected to become more complex. This means we could see more traffic coming into our sites from the long tail of search: terms that could be four or more words in length. When we think of what keywords to promote and optimize, we may be able to find traffic even when we widen our portfolio into quite specific niches.

The navigational buttons that take you on to additional pages of results are that much further away. When using Google Instant, most of the clicking and typing happens around the query box at the top of the results. Don’t like what you see on your initial query? Instant makes it much easier to refine that search and see if the follow-up is more successful. This means less time flicking through the second and third page of results in search of relevant links. For marketers, this could well put additional pressure on taking that coveted spot on the first page of results.

It’s early days for this service and user adoption and behavior patterns are by no means set, but Google Instant has the potential to have a significant affect on the field of search marketing.

What the pundits are saying: