SMX Sydney 2012 – Christine Churchill – Advanced Keyword Modeling

This is a summary of Christine Churchill’s presentation at Search Marketing Expo / Online Marketer Conference held in Sydney 1-2 May 2012. Christine Churchill SMX Sydney

Christine Churchill is the President and CEO of, a full service online marketing company that specializes in helping businesses succeed on the web.

Christine starts by saying we need to understand the user intent with searches and where they are in the buying cycle.

Too many webmasters get the on-page SEO keywords right, but they don’t match content with searcher intent.

Keywords can indicate *exactly* where the consumer is in the buying cycle.

Christine recommends reading A Taxonomy of Web Search – a paper by Andrei Broder.

A lot of people still type in navigational queries into Google – using it as a browser e.g. CNN, Disney. Also typing informational searches eg, “How do I…”

Google rewards content that delivers the intent of original search. Searcher intent is key. Therefore, you should design your page to support the query type. Ideally, there should be no ads on an informational page.

Transactional searches should lead to a ecommerce or transactional page e.g. download, sign up, purchase etc.


Recommended Tools for Keyword Research

Google Keyword Toolbox is an obvious place to start. Another rarely used option is to put a URL into the Google Keywords Tool (as opposed to a keyword), to see related keywords for a particular site. Great source of potentially overlooked keywords.

Yahoo Clues offers a great source for keyword research and searcher demographic by region.

Google Contextual Targeting Tool (accessible via adwords) is like a digital version of the now defunct Wonder Wheel. It’s a free tool and builds a themed keyword list.

Google Trends shows US search trends in real time and related content themes growing in popularity.

DoubleClick Ad Planner is a great for competitive research.

Google Insights for Search is excellent for search term trends – future or past.

Google Instant makes a great keyword research tool as well. Don’t overlook Google’s predictive search for research purposes. It gives you great content ideas based on popular topics. But remember that Google Instant shows different results if used in Google Shopping Search.

Ubersuggest will give you alphabetical keyword suggestions.

Twitter Search is ideal for real time keyword trends.

YouTube Keyword Tool can give you additional ideas, particularly for promoting multimedia content.

YouTube Suggest is basically the same as Google Instant, but for YouTube searches. Search on YouTube for an initial keyword and notice the drop down auto-complete search suggestions to get keywords and ideas for popular video content.


Recommended Tools for Competitive Intelligence

Searchmetrics provides detailed competitor keyword information for paid, organic and universal search.

SEMRush provides competitor intelligence data for PPC bids, search rankings and more.

Spyfu enables you to see current and previous bids for PPC keywords, even ad content and historic performance.

SEOmoz Keyword Difficulty Tool allows you to compare two keyword phrases to decide best one. Also shows you the link competition you might face to target particular keywords.

When trying to cope with the loss of referrer data in your analytics (the dreaded *not provided* stats) – look at Google Keywords tool for missing queries to see those from persons not logged in to a Google account when searching. Look at Bing and other engines as well to fill in the blanks. Use PPC tests to get a guide from impressions and infer that missing data from your analytics by looking at referrer keywords and phrases.

When you’ve found your sweet spot keyword list, use those keywords in ALL your digital data, not just web pages. That should include podcasts, videos, tweets, infographics and so on.


Geographical Keyword Research

Use region-specific keyword research tools where available. Use Excel to power your keyword research strategy, it’s a much overlooked tool. Watch that the Google keyword tool is accurate for your region. Perhaps subsidise this data with local research and impression data from your locally targeted Google AdWords campaign.


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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,


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!



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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!

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) and 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:

4.Help with spreadsheets
5.Excel consultancy
9.Online support
10.Onsite support
12.Excel help

thank you!


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!


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