Identifying and developing your keywords
Because keywords play such an important foundational role in the development of
your search strategy, you will obviously want to spend a good deal of thought and
effort developing solid keywords.
Developing your keyword list has several phases:
1. Collection: In the collection phase, you will simply collect large numbers of
keywords and dump them onto a list.
2. Analysis: In the analysis phase, you will attach relative weight to terms and
cull undesirable terms.
3. Expansion: The expansion phase will take place after your campaigns have
been running for a while—this phase is a reaction to what you learn from the
performance of your campaign and from competitors in the marketplace.
At the start of your keyword research, you will want to develop a keyword matrix.
A keyword matrix is a simple data set based upon all the keywords you think might
Spreadsheet software is particularly well suited to developing a
Your keyword matrix should be organized as follows: you should have a row
entry for each potential keyword, with the keyword in the left column. In the next
row, you will record the reported monthly or daily search volume for that specific
keyword. Later in this Article, we will learn how to get keyword volumes for
particular terms. In the following column you will assign a relevance score to the
keyword between zero and 100. The relevance score is a numerical measurement of
how valuable that keyword phrase will be to your business.
Let’s examine how relevance scores are calculated. A high-relevance search term
is a search term for which the commercial intent of the searcher is a sure match for
your products or services. Let’s examine the figure below showing a keyword matrix
to illustrate how to come up with a relevance score. The keyword “plastic surgery
Austin Texas” is assigned a relevance score of 100. For a plastic surgery practitioner
in Austin Texas, that search phrase is perfectly relevant to the services they are
offering. However, the relevance score for “Plastic surgery Texas” is only 20 percent.
That is because this key term is much less desirable and only about 20 percent of
those Internet searchers would be potential customers. The other 80 percent are
looking for something else: someone searching for “Plastic surgery Texas” might be
looking for a plastic surgeon in Austin, but they might be looking in another part of
the state. Thus, the search phrase “Plastic surgery Texas” isn’t highly relevant to an
Austin surgeon. Likewise, an Internet user searching for “Bad plastic surgery photos”
might not even be searching for a service at all. The intent of that search phrase
seems to imply someone seeking some entertainment value. The relevance score
should reflect your best estimate of what percentage of the search volume represents
actual potential customers.
We then use the relevance score to arrive at a weighted value for a given search
term. The weighted value for a search term is the search volume for a given term
multiplied by the relevance percentage to arrive at an adjusted number of monthly
searches. This adjusted number represents the real value of the search term. And
so, in our example, the search phrase “Bad plastic surgery photos” has strong
search volume: 230 monthly searches. However, at such a low relevance score of 10
percent (which might even be generous), this phrase has a weighted value of only 23
searches. On the other hand, the phrase “Austin plastic surgery” is perfectly relevant
and yields a weighted value of 190 searches. This phrase is clearly the most valuable
search phrase in the keyword matrix shown.
The following table shows a keyword matrix with monthly search counts for
particular keywords as well as value weighting based on relevance. You can use
a keyword matrix to analyze your keyword list to prioritize the truly valuable