Q and A: Which keyword research tools do you recommend for Yahoo and Bing?

QuestionGood day,

I’m not using MS Excel, but instead running another spreadsheet program on my computer.

It sounds as if I cannot run the Microsoft Advertising Intelligence tool to perform MS/Yahoo/Bing keyword research if I don’t have MS Excel. Is this correct? Is there an alternate tool that does not require MS Excel?

Which keyword research tools do you recommend be used to perform keyword research exclusively for Microsoft/Yahoo/Bing?

Providing a couple of names of keyword research tools & their urls would be mighty helpful.

Thank you,

Wendy

Hi Wendy

It’s true that MS Advertising Intelligence is a tool designed for MS Excel, however you can download the .xls file and open it with non-MS programs such as Google Docs and Open Office (for Linux).

There are also plenty of other KW research tools around to help you find keywords for Bing (Microsoft) and Yahoo. Try these for size:

MS adCenter Labs – Keyword Research Tools

Search Engine Wiki – Keyword Research Category

Hope this helps!

Kalena

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Q and A: How Do I Tackle Regional Keyword Issues in SEO?

QuestionHey Kalena,

I’m trying to optimize a site for the first time. Its a fashion jewelry site. I have come up against a couple of stumbling blocks that I need a little clarification on. One is the target market – its a New Zealand website, but we want to target New Zealander’s, Australians and the rest of the world this brings up issues of spelling – do we focus on Jewellery (New Zealand/British spelling), Jewelry (US spelling, but where a lot of the current customers come from) or Jewellry (a common misspelling).

Secondly, I’m having a hard time trying to choose my keyword phrases. Silver jewelry and costume jewelry (which seems to be the most common way people search for fashion jewelry, even though fashion jewelry sounds so much more modern!! – found out through the Google Keyword tool) seem to be the best as they are well searched for. I want to be more specific however i.e *women’s silver jewelry*, or *silver jewellery nz* or *buy silver jewelry* etc. but the search volume according to the Google Keyword tool is well below 20 per day.

Can you please suggest what I should do in this situation?

Thank you!
Mitchell

Hi Mitchell

To answer your questions:

1) The regional spelling issue is a tricky one. There are a few ways you can approach this – do you have the .com as well as the regional Top Level Domains (TLD) .co.nz and .com.au? If so, you can use the American spelling on the .com domain and the British spelling on the regional domains. However, this may create duplicate content issues unless you block robots from the near-duplicate pages.

Alternatively, you can simply use the appropriate language version for your largest target market as the default throughout your site. For example, although we are based in New Zealand, our main target market for Search Engine College is the US, so we use American English throughout our web site. Most regional markets will understand that American English is common on the Internet, so you should not isolate them by doing this.

Another, trickier, option is to use British English on your main site to attract organic local search traffic and then create a Pay Per Click advertising campaign (e.g. Google AdWords) with tailored landing pages and ad text using American English to suit your other markets. Then, run your PPC campaign targeting only those countries where American English is used more commonly, making sure you block search engine robots from indexing your American English landing pages. You could do the reverse if you decide American English should be your default language.

As for misspellings? Those are fantastic for picking up extra traffic your competitors are missing. Best way to get that traffic is by targeting the misspelled keywords within your Pay Per Click campaign or by including the misspellings in your Page Titles and META Tags (the META Keywords tag is a particularly good place for them if you don’t want human visitors to see them).

2) You are spot on wanting to target the longer tail keyword phrases such as *women’s silver jewelry* and *buy silver jewelry* because it is these specific phrases that are more likely to bring you qualified visitors who are more ready to purchase. But the beauty of targeting these longer phrases is that they also contain the more popular shorter search terms such as *silver jewelry* and *women’s jewelry*. So, by default, you are also optimizing your web site for these shorter phrases by integrating the longer ones into your tags and page copy.

Choosing long tail phrases that contain more generic popular search ones is a great way to save valuable keyword real estate in your page titles and meta tags. For example, instead of having to include both *buy silver jewellery*, AND *silver jewellery* in your meta description tag, you only need to include the longer one as it covers both. A META Description tag of “Buy women’s silver jewelry from French Fashions” sounds a lot less redundant than “Buy silver jewelry and women’s silver jewelry and silver jewelry from French Fashions”, don’t you agree?

When researching keywords for multiple international markets, remember to use a keyword research tool that offers regional search data so you can pinpoint what persons are searching for in each country. Apart from regional spelling, regional jargon such as (accommodation vs lodging) can impact keyword search trends considerably.

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Google Tool Shines Light on 200 Years of Cultural History

If you fancy yourself a bit of a word-smith, you’ll love the latest plaything to come out of Google Labs.

The Books Ngrams Viewer is a search engine that enables you to trawl the 500 billion words making up the 5.2 million digitized books in Google’s Book Search. The viewer lets you look for specific words or phrases – and here’s the fun part – it graphs the frequency of their written use over time, giving you a historical snapshot of word usage since the year 1800 and up to 2008.

Just before Xmas, I spent a fun few hours testing out the new tool and tracking down the earliest reference I could find to the term *Lord of the Rings* – way back in 1815!  You can check out how I did it via the article I wrote for SiteProNews about my experience.

Happy New Year to you all!

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Q and A: Am I choosing the right keywords?

QuestionDear Kalena

I have a business here in the UK offering training in Microsoft Office products such as Word, Excel and Outlook.

I am a bit confused about the keywords I should be optimising my web site for and I was wondering if you could give me a little advice on my choices?

My first instinct is to optimise the site for the following:

1.Training
2.Excel
3.Word
4.Help with spreadsheets
5.Excel consultancy
6.Spreadsheets
7.Essex
8.Suffolk
9.Online support
10.Onsite support
11.Training
12.Excel help

thank you!

Mary

Hello Mary

The main purpose of keyword research is to get you thinking about all the possible keywords you could target, including those used by competitors or more importantly, those NOT used by competitors. So as well as coming up with your own seed list, you should be looking at your competitor’s web sites to see what keywords they are targeting and whether or not you should be using similar keywords.

However, I am a bit concerned by the keywords you’ve chosen for your own site. How many people who type the word *training* into a search engine are specifically seeking training in Microsoft products provided by a consultant in Essex, UK? People typing this search query in might be looking for football training coaches, or training shoes. Or scuba dive training in South Africa. Same goes for the word *Essex*. People typing that in are more likely to be looking for tourist information, accommodation or school project information than for MS training.

You’ll realize this as you learn more about search engine optimization, but you need to choose two, three and four word keyword phrases that are more tailored to your exact offering and therefore more likely to attract visitors to your site who are specifically seeking the services you offer. These visitors have a higher likelihood of converting to customers.

Search phrases you’ve listed like *help with spreadsheets* and *Excel help* are great, but phrases such as *MS Office training* and *how to use MS Word* would be more relevant for you than some of the other keywords you’ve listed.

Once you have a good seed list of keywords, you can run them through a keyword research tool to check how much potential traffic they will bring to your site and streamline your final choices for SEO.

Happy keyword hunting!

Kalena

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Q and A: What is Keyword Stuffing?

Question

Dear Kalena,

Is keyword stuffing a bunch of the same keywords or is it a bunch of unrelated keywords?

Willie

Hi Willie,

The term “Keyword Stuffing” describes the practice of  repeating a particular phrase (often many times) within the text on a single page.  Typically this would be done with the same or closely related keyword phrases – with the aim  of trying to raise the profile of that particular web page for search queries on that keyword.

Usually a few mentions of a particular keyword phrase (or related phrases) would be acceptable (and normal), but it quickly becomes very obvious to users if a particular phrase is repeated over and over again within the content of a single page.  This type of “unnatural” repetition of keywords can be very annoying from a users perspective and may actually incur search ranking penalties. If a search engine considers the page to be “over optimised” it is unlikely to achieve good rankings.

Whilst mentioning your target keyword a few times within the content of your page is sensible, overdoing it can be detrimental.  In most cases when you are writing content, you should be trying to write it for the benefit of  the user rather than the search engines.

If you are concerned that some of your pages might be “keyword stuffed” an easy test is to simply read them through.  If the pages read well, are informative and feel “natural” then you are probably OK.  If the content is awkward and there are obvious repetitions of particular keywords, I’d suggest that you consider re-writing the page.

A handy online tool that I often use to get a feel for what a page is about is Tag Crowd.  This tool allows you to specify a URL, or paste in text, and it will create a Tag Cloud of the content provided.  If one or two keywords jump out at you from the tag cloud it generates, it is possible that your page may be over-optimised.

Andy Henderson
WebConsulting SEO (Brisbane)

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