Keyphrase evolution: from seeds to ripe fruit, grow your list!

Hello!  Glad you’re here, because today’s how-to “SEO It” is both essential and creative! We’re gonna get into how to grow and refine our killer keyphrase seed list using fun, free tools!  The words for today’s lesson are specificity, seasonality, and trends.

Last week, we dipped our toes into the murky SEO waters and fished out our core, killer keyphrases, then organized and prioritized them into an Excel (or simple legal pad) list.  That accomplished, with some satisfaction (yes?) let’s look at how to grow and refine that list to round out our overall smart keyphrase strategy to optimize conversions!

Ready?  Open up that Initial Seed Research spreadsheet, in whatever form, where you should see your seed keyphrases, their respective search volumes, and the relative priority you assigned to each one, from 1 (highest priority) to 5 (lowest, yet important).

Now, we’re going to run those keyphrases through — yes — our search engine of choice one more time. This time, we’re tuning into keyphrase specifity:  just because a keyphrase may be relevant to your business, it may not be the best one to use on your site.  For example, think of a payroll service where companies can outsource their accounts payable. Although the keyphrase “accounts payable“applies to the company, the search results are not specifically focused around someone looking to outsource their accounts payable.

Refining the search with the term “accounts payable outsourcing,” the results are much more targeted and potent for this website:

At the bottom of the search engine results page, you should note additional keyphrase suggestions, under “Searches related to: your keyphrase. If these additional search terms are applicable and specific to your site, then congratulations! You’ve just found even more keyphrases!

Next, let’s run a few of our keyphrases through Twitter to get insights into our product/service’s market seasonality, trends and real-time buzz. (We reviewed this strategy in a previous post, but it’s well worth a revisit here.)

Recalling our “leather bracelets” example, from the keyphrase brainstorming post, let’s see what comes up when we run it through Twitter Search:

Going back to our original keyphrase list, the term “leather snap bracelets” may well not have been on it!  If it’s an up-and-coming trend that you hadn’t thought about, voila! You’ve found a new keyphrase that you know people are talking about!

Finally, let’s take a deeper look into our keyphrases using Google insights. This free (and yes, fun!) tool is another way we can anticipate keyphrase seasonality, focus our marketing message, and determine market trends.

For instance, let’s say that you run a clothing store.  Notice the trend difference between “men’s clothing”and “women’s clothing”:

There are more searches for “men’s clothing” during the holiday months, while traffic remains fairly flat the rest of the time. So,  as a clothing retailer, you should make sure that your men’s clothing pages are written, uploaded, and optimized before the holiday months.

If you look to the right of the Google insights page, you will see “rising searches” — another source of additional, trending keyphrases that you’ll want to pay attention to for your ongoing, evolving keyphrase strategy!

So are you about done with all this research?  Does it seem to be taking forever? Take heart:  that means you’re doing it right!  The good news is that once the hard, grinding work is over, with the completion of your initial “seed” keyphrase list, you’ll be able to easily update and refine your list every few months or so by checking for new terms and deleting those non-performing ones.  Yay!

Next week, we’ll talk about how to fill in the other tabs of your Excel (or legal pad) keyphrase document, divide up your keyphrase list, and start creating your per-page SEO strategy!  From there, you’ll have everything in place to start writing.