Keyword Research – How to Win Friends and Influence People (Your Boss)

In part one of this keyword research post we dealt with the happy guys over at Global Marketing. The following is a short post on how keyword data/intelligence can produce a few points to keep your boss happy.

Your Boss

For the most part a lot of managers who stand over SEO are interested in where their website appears for the glory keywords, in comparison with known competitors. Most emails will be “hey we rank 5th for camping gear in the UK, why do appear above us, they are not as big as us”. You should always have graphs prepared to show why competitors might be outranking you for certain keywords i.e. Links Overview, Local Links Breakdown, Keyword Share of Voice etc. This isn’t a post on link building, so we are going to concentrate on gathering intelligence on

1. Keyword Competitor Intelligence

2. Keyword Share of Voice

1. Keyword Competitor Intelligence

If you have time to do proper analysis on your competitors keywords, you should end up with a number of bullet points that can be incorporated into a response on questions concerning competitors. It will also provide you with a wealth of data that can help both your paid and organic strategy.

NOTE: I got some great tips on competitive keyword analysis using Spyfu in this post from SEOROI at the start of 2010. Some of the below is a result of that post, so credit where credit due, it’s worth reading that post. Gabriel also has an advanced SEO book coming out.

a. SEMRush

SEMRush is a great tool for giving an overview of competitors adwords + organic keywords.

SEMRush Competitor Keyword Research

When looking at this data it’s important to think of keyword themes. For example, you might want to look at “walking shoes” to begin with. You can then mine the data to see what keywords in that keyword theme your competitor is appearing for in both adwords + organic, what URL is appearing, what expensive keywords your competitor is number 1 for in adwords (if they are placed 1st for an expensive keyword, you can bet that is converting well i.e. walking shoes) and what kind of ad text are being used to sell their products (ad texts under “walking shoes” as I will guarantee it’s been well optimised).

b. SpyFu

SpyFu is a great tool for competitive analysis. One of the best is domain history:

Spyfu Adwords - Competitor Keyword Research

In domain history you get not only what are your competitors top paid keywords, but more importantly how long they have been bidding on these keywords. Something I might go on and on about is only including proven keywords in your SEO campaign (check out my input on keyword research at for more) . Being able to mine your competitors data for proven keyword themes is really powerful.

You can also get information on their top organic keywords as well.

c. Keyword Spy

I already did a pretty extensive post titled PPC Keyword Research for this product.

d. Your Eyes / Google Keyword Tool

You can do it the old fashioned way, just go through your competitors site and look to see what keywords are being targeted (the internal links are usually a give away):

Keyword Competitor Research - Manual Site Review

Use the Google Keyword Tool to check if these keywords have volume.

Keyword Share of Voice

The reason I kept mentioning keyword themes is because of the SERP Dominator report an excellent post by Garrett French of That is probably one of the most actionable link building posts I have ever read. But it’s also great for building a couple of nice graphs that can easily be digested by those who need to understand the bigger picture for SEO, which is to appear top 3 for a range of keywords in a particular theme. The following is a break down of those sites who appear top 3 for a range of keywords in the “camping gear” theme.

Keyword Research - Share of Voice
Keyword Research - Share of Voice
Keyword Research - Share of Voice
Keyword Research - Share of Voice

Making Recommendations

As with part one, the above will result in a couple of bullet points and graph. For example, your response can include:

– most important keywords in the “camping gear” theme are x, y, z, they have bidded on these for the past year and have occupied the top spots for that entire time.

– are ranking well for x, y but still appear to be working on z. These seem to be a target for the company in both paid and organic, so we know they convert well.

– We are bidding on x, y and may run a trial campaign for z after running this competitor intelligence.

– In terms of organic, we have been concentrating on the longer tail of this keyword theme as “walking shoes” was our priority over 2010. But as you can see from below, our share of voice for the core keywords around “camping gear” is good and resources will shift from “walking shoes” in 2011 towards “camping gear”.

You get the picture.

Read part one on Global Marketing or subscribe to my RSS Feed to get pinged when the other two go live:

3. Large publishers

4. Your clients

About Kieran Flanagan

Online Marketer who implements both inbound and paid strategies to help companies grow internationally. Lover of content marketing, SEO, analytics, CRO and strategy. A highly motivated marketing geek high on data crack.