Q and A : A Question about Keyword Research?


Dear Kalena…

I am curious as to when I research keywords, some keywords search terms have no popularity rank for them, although I do know that they are being searched for in some way or form.

When I create a keyword list for a client, how do I show relevance for my selected keyword without knowing popularity without any good data – especially for niche-type products and services?


Hi Aaron,

There are a number of Keyword Research tools around – some of the most popular being Wordtracker, Keyword Discovery and of course Googles Keyword Tool.

It’s not clear which tool you have been using specifically, but essentially most of them work in similar ways, although the source of data and the way the results are presented differ.

You need to be mindful that any Keyword Research Tool should be used as a guide only – none of the tools take into account 100% of the searches that are carried out, and often extrapolate results based on a data sample. If the data sample is relatively small, this can lead to distortions once the sample has been normalised. You may have noticed surprisingly large search volume scores for very obscure keyword phrases, for this very reason.

To give a simple example.

If a Keyword Research Tool gets a sample of search queries which represents 4% of the total worldwide queries undertaken in a particular month. if that sample happens to contain 4 instances of a query “large round spongy widgets” (all undertaken by one person), when the data is extrapolated up to 100% (by multiplying by 25), this phrase could seem to have a monthly search volume of 100 – which of course is simply not true.

On the flip side, if a specific keyword phrase seems to have NO (or low ) search data associated with it, this doesn’t necessarily mean that that phrase is not being used in search queries – it simply means that it was not present in the data sample used.

These discrepancies become less of an issue the higher the traffic volume is for a particular search term. So for high volume phrases – which is what you’d normally be looking for – most keyword tools do a reasonable job – but be sure you understand what the stats they provide represent and where their data is sourced.

As you have highlighted, for niche product/service areas, you need to be extra careful not to include an obscure keyword phrase just because the Keyword Tool said it was high volume.

When preparing a primary keyword list for your clients, you should not rely on a single source of keyword research, instead, use a few different keyword tools, and also look at competitor sites, and your clients analytics data, and amalgamate the results.

Not sure if that has actually answered your question, but I hope that it gives you an clearer insight into some of the pitfalls associated with Keyword Research Tools.

Andy Henderson
Ireckon Web Marketing

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