Elizabeth Marsten // Mar 6 2009
We’re all very well familiar with Google’s myriad of keyword generation tools, be it within the AdWords interface, the external keyword tool, by URL, by similar keywords, by topic or the new “search based keyword tool.” Then of course each search engine has it’s own keyword tool generator, add in the Wordtracker, Wordstream and Trellian’s of the world and you’ve got a lot of resources.
But where do you go to find those really weird and whacky keywords that you should be bidding on? Or at the very least, expanding your negative keyword list with?
eVisibility’s post on using Ask.com as a keyword research tool is what got me thinking about this. They actually found a quite unusual way and an actual use for Ask.com in conjuction with Google’s keyword generation tool by URL.
Simply run a search on Ask.com for one of your top keywords. Take the URL from the search results page and drop it into the Google keyword tool and select “website content.” The resulting keyword suggestions may surprise you.
Technically that method relies on a keyword generation tool, so what other ways can you generate keywords with out a keyword tool?
Start with your Google Analytics account. Under Traffic Sources-Keywords, filter out all the paid keywords by clicking on “non-paid.” Then sort from least amount of visits to the most. Now you’ll see all the little keywords that people found your site on. There may not be a lot of data here, but I know that for myself, it’s sparked an idea or two on where to go next and it most certainly have given me plenty of negative keywords!
For example, a client of mine sold wedding invitations. I often did this method to expand their negative keyword list, since they had 400 kinds, I was trying to filter out the kinds they didn’t have. Keywords like “camouflage wedding invitations” “john deere wedding invitations” and “redneck wedding invitations” were pleasant (yet humorous) surprises.
If you don’t have GA and have something more like Hitbox (ugh) try “Acquisition Sources-Typed Keywords” for a plethora of keyword potential.
Google, Yahoo and MSN have been tinkering and experimenting with their “suggested search” features, where you start typing an inquiry into the search box and some of the more popular searches start to populate the search box before you’re done typing. If you’re like me, in general, you type faster than the search engine can suggest most of the time or already have a clear enough idea that you forge on ahead.
But if you type slowly and more deliberately, all sort of suggestions come up. I have found this to be the most useful for clients that have specific product lines, IDs, model numbers or release numbers. People do search by the exact model or product line quite a bit and this is a great way to make sure you’re capturing all those keywords!
And last but not least…
Yeah, sometimes we forget, but those clients know their business better than anyone else out there and believe it or not, that means they might be able to give you some insight or keyword niches you never would have thought of even just by “googling” for their competitors. Especially in the tech heavy industries like VPNs, spyware and software and they will also know alternate terms for their products. I had a client that made and sold cubicles, but gave me the keyword “panel systems” which was much more targeted and intended for users further along the buying cycle. It was an industry term that meant the same thing as “cubicle” but I never would have guessed that on my own.
Got a keyword research method that isn’t a keyword generation tool? Share it!
Elizabeth supervises the overall search division at Portent, which includes PPC, SEO and Social Media. Check out her modest brag link bundle if you really want to know more: http://bitly.com/bundles/ebkendo/5 She has also written ebooks, is a regular on the Portent blog and speaks on PPC across the USA at various conferences. Read More