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Competition Reports


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#31 Pets

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 04:26 PM

All I have to say now is - Thank you Google Adwords! And, of course, Dan Thies! :hmm:

#32 mcanerin

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 11:58 PM

I've found that trusting the clients keyword choices can be both a good thing and a bad thing.

Naturally, no one (hopefully) is more familiar with what a business does or offers than the business themselves. This is good.

Businesses can be so familiar that they can't think like new customers (and that's the whole idea, isn't it). That's bad.

As a case in point, I had a customer who had a great selection of Whiskey and Scotch, but had focused on Whiskey as a keyword. Turns out almost no one looks for whiskey - they look for scotch instead... I guess it's easier to type.

I include this blurb along with the checklist I give new clients:

2. A list of some keywords and concepts you want to target, along with some ideas on what services your customers would be looking for over the internet. Don't worry about "keywords" from a computer perspective (that's our job), we just need a list of what you do for a living ;) We will take it from there.

I usually get a huge list back that includes all sorts of things that would normally be not mentioned, but I find very useful for keyword research.

In short, you are both right - trust the client to know their business, but trust yourself to know yours!

Ian

#33 Farhan

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Posted 01 August 2003 - 12:27 AM

Great thread!

I think the emails sent by customers as inquiries about the product or services are also a great resource for keywords. If reviewed carefully, one can extract some gems from those as well.

#34 markm

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Posted 02 August 2003 - 01:12 AM

Hi,

Well I just joined this thread and I am going to go back to Jill's original point and the value of Wordtrackers competition reports.

I think KEI is totally flawed. The fundamental flaw is that KEI appears to be making a correlation between how many searches there are and how hard it should be to climb to the top for a particular phrase.

For instance if a term has 100,000 competing sites, the difficulty of getting the number 1 is the same no matter if there are 100 searches or 1000 searches a day. Yet the KEI varies on the number of searches. Really the KEI is irrelevant when it comes to making a decision on the competition for a phrase.

Likewise, the good KEI number does not give any indication whether there are enough searches to make SEO for that term worth your while. What matters is simply the absolute number of searches and the value you get from the ultimate conversion of the surfer to a customer.

That differs from business to business. If you are SEOing a B2B customer with a 100k sale, then 10 searches a day for the right term might be great and might have a lousy KEI.

As far as judging competition for a term...I can do it pretty quickly by going through the top 20. I build a simple spread sheet and jot down about 5 or 6 factors for each site. PR ,# of backlinks, quality of the title in relation to the keyword and some others This gives me a good feeling of the competition. Its quite revealing about the Googlithm as well.

Nice to see the Forum Jill. :tooth:

Mark

#35 Jill

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Posted 02 August 2003 - 08:56 AM

Thanks, Mark, and welcome! :thumbup:

Not surprisingly, I couldn't agree more! :D

Jill

#36 markm

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Posted 02 August 2003 - 12:15 PM

Thanks for the welcome Jill.

I actually think that KEI is a bit of a dis-service because it misleads people. When I first got into SEO, I took a workshop and everyone walked away from that workshop just thinking the only good keywords were the ones with high KEI. Reality struck :D me when I was doing a proposal for a car dealer and the term 'used cars' had quite a nice KEI because there were so many searches.

But there were something like 2 million compeitors for that term - and highly optimized (spam too.) :thumbup:

So I realized I had to roll up my sleeves and do some analysis if I was going to target a term.

Cheers,

Mark

#37 DanThies

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Posted 02 August 2003 - 01:13 PM

We don't even bother including KEI on reports, unless we're asked for it. I think it's so, so deceptive. The number of search results is not an indication of the level of competition.

A better measure of competition, is to look at the top ranked sites, see if they're optimized, and look at how they stack up in terms of links & PageRank. It's not perfect, but it's way better than KEI.

Once you know which search terms you might "want" to target, it's really then just a question of which are the most targeted, and where you can realistically compete.

#38 Jill

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Posted 02 August 2003 - 03:16 PM

Reality struck  me when I was doing a proposal for a car dealer and the term 'used cars' had quite a nice KEI because there were so many searches.


Well, theoretically that shouldn't happen, because KEI isn't based just on the number of searches. I believe it's a function of number of matches divided by number of pages that have the phrase included.

My beef is that just cuz a page has the phrase on it, doesn't mean it's optimized for the phrase.

THe whole KEI thing never made sense to me as being useful. I looked at it when they first put it in, and saw the flaws right to begin with. If they were actually getting real data from Google,etc., there could be some value. But they're not, other than how many pages have that phrase on the page.

Jill

#39 Peter

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Posted 03 August 2003 - 09:40 AM

Hi everybody,

On the question of keyword research one of my techniques is this:

Use the main keywords of the clients site to do some searches in a few search engines.

Look in the top 10 results for sites that are really related.

Look in those sites for words/terms that you didn't have yet.

Then go to the nr. 90 to 100 positions (or any where else) to see sites that are much less related. There you look for more related terms.

Then check how much the different therms and words are looked for (with overture search term suggestion tool for instance)

Put it all together and you come up with some words/phrases you never thought of before, which still can be very good.

Together with some common sense (The brain as was suggested before) it isn't that difficult to figure out some good key words/phrases.

Basically what you are doing here is copying the surf behavior of a websurfer. Behaving like somebody that is looking for what you clients site offers, is a very good way to find more key words/phrases.

Best regards,

Peter

#40 DanThies

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Posted 03 August 2003 - 11:15 AM

Peter:

That's a good technique for brainstorming, and identifying what I call "candidate" search terms. There are a number of ways to do that, some of them can even be automated. If search engines didn't mind automated queries you could start with a search term, pull the top 100 sites, and spider those sites to build a list of search terms.

That will get you a list of candidates, but you still have no objective basis for setting priorities. I've revealed a bit of my process, Mel did the same, several others have too. So now you're up to bat... :)

How do you take that list of "candidate" search terms, and decide which ones are more important? Is it just about the number of searches, does the competition come into the picture, can you get a sense of how well targeted these search terms are?

Or do you trust your gut? Some folks have been doing this a long time, and they do pretty well without a formal process. One of our guinea pigs for the targeting studies (an SEO consultant) predicted 8 out of the top 10 search terms from the targeting study. On the other hand, he was very surprised at the other two - not just which search terms did well, but also how far down the ones he'd predicted ended up.

#41 markm

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 07:40 PM

Well, theoretically that shouldn't happen, because KEI isn't based just on the number of searches.  I believe it's a function of number of matches divided by number of pages that have the phrase included. 

It is....but my point is even if there is a ridiculous amount of competition, a high enough number of searches (like for 'used cars') will give you good KEI, falsely giving you the idea that it is a good term to target (if you pay attention to WT's definition of a good keyword).

The problem is number of searches and number of sites have no business being in the same formula as far as I can tell!

I can tell we all agree!

#42 Peter

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 09:44 PM

Dan,

Marketing is not Math. We all know that. What the helpful programs do is looking for patterns in the exisiting world (sites). But they can only extrapolate from that information what already exists. A new site will always have some surprises.

I guess you can say I use my gut to figure out which keywords/phrases will work best. But I wouldn't call it that. I try to look for patterns too, but selectively. The better I understand the subject of a site, the easier it is for me to figure out what works. Ask me to optimize a web site about widgets (which is always used as an example) and I will need a lot more time to get the right keywords/phrases, than with a site that is about electronic ciruits. (Honestly,.... I am not a native english speaker and I have no idea what the word widget means,.. :lol: )

Predicting which key words/phrases work best is about predicting human behavior. There are no set rules for that. So we try to get as much information as we can, but than we strand in chaos. Being a good judge of character will make it easier to figure out what will work best. I believe I am a good judge of character, so I generally have little dificulties deciding about which key words/phrases to choose.

Besides that, SEO is not a one time thing, you get the best results today, and in 6 months you need to do some new work to maintain the rankings. Over time things change, just like human behavior. SEO is a technology, choosing key words/phrases has nothing to do with technology, all you can do is use technology to make the choises more easy. But it will always be a guess, so we make it an educated guess.

And that is why there are good SEO consultants, and bad SEO consultants,... :lol:

Best regards,

Peter

#43 DanThies

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 12:43 AM

Peter:

Thanks! Your points are well taken, but I would say that marketing is more than gut feeling, too. That's why opinion surveys, demographics, and feedback processes have been created.

If you need to know what people think, I suppose you can decide for yourself and get it right most of the time. On the other hand, you can ask them, and then you don't have to guess.

The point of the process I use is to measure the behavior of humans on a search engine, in as controlled a way as possible. You could call it an educated guess if you like, but I think of it as an informed decision.

BTW, there's no such thing as a widget, it's a word that was made up to describe "any thing you make or sell." Sort of. Best I can do. English is not math either. :lol:

#44 Mel

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 04:58 AM

Seems there is some confusion about what KEI really is.

According to Sumantra Roy, who developed the KEI concept:

"The Keyword Effectiveness Index is the square of the popularity of a keyword multiplied by 1000 and divided by the number of sites which appear in the search engine for that keyword" (KEI = P^2/C*1000)

Thats what it is but is it of any use?

IMO it is not, because although it takes into consideration the number of competitors, that has no bearing on how hard it is to rank on say the top five results on a give search engine.

If there are more than five results any or all of those can be well optimized and the only way you are going to know how hard or easy its going to be is to look at the pages you are competing against.

I will admit that the liklihood of there being more highly optimized pages in the top ten or twenty rises as the number of competing sites increases, but the only way of knowing is to look.


That said most that use KEI figures seem to get them from Wordtracker competition reports, which I do not feel are worthless because often you can find niches where there is little or no competition and yet enough traffic to make a page for that term worthwhile traffic wise.

#45 Peter

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 06:29 AM

Dan,

Thanks for clarifying the "widgets",.. :rofl:

What you are saying about marketing is basically my opinion too. Educated guess or informed decision,.. too me that is the same thing,... (Which one will be the better key phrase to use? :rofl: )

Regards,

Peter




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