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Wordtracker Wisdom: Common Keyword Questions and Answers

One of my favorite subjects to teach on at our live SEO Mastery Workshops is that of keyword research and the behavior of a specific target audience using my all time favorite research tool, Wordtracker.

For those who have not heard of, Wordtracker it is a Web based service that will help you discover which keywords and phrases will be most effective for attracting the right audience to your Web site. Not only that, but the service also tells you how competitive your keywords are (or how many other competing Web pages have been optimized with those keywords in mind) plus how many people have actually searched for those keywords in the past within the last 60 days on the major search engines.

Wordtracker can be used for even more powerful things than just "researching keywords." I'll be revealing much more in the future about the impact of researching "visitor behavior" vs. keywords


What is one of the more common mistakes made by new SEO students who are just learning how to research keywords?


One common error that some people make (both new and experienced) when researching keywords, is they tend to have a lot of preconceived keyword phrases in their minds. While this may not seem like a bad idea, the fact is that people sometimes spend hours, days, and even weeks researching hundreds of keywords only to be disappointed in the end when many of the keywords they've chosen, turn out to not have any real pulling power to attract the right traffic. There are many keywords which are just too competitive or worse, some words are not even being searched for. For success you want a keyword phrase that is at least being used by your target audience and ideally, it'll be a phrase with low competition.

Wordtracker has tremendous ability to deliver up extraordinary niche keyword phrases which are in high use by a given target audience and sometimes even with zero competition. I'll be sharing much more about exactly how you can tap into these ideal phrases and how you can do it nearly instantly without spending hours or weeks of research.


What do you mean by the term researching the target audience's "behavior?" Is that not what Web analytics software like Webtrends does?


No, Web analysis software generally tells you about the behavior of visitors within your Web site after they have found you. I am talking about the importance of researching your ideal target audiences behavior long before they ever find your Web site. Wordtracker has tremendous potential to reveal clues as to what your target audience *really* wants or what they might be looking for.


I have searched Wordtracker's report of "most searched for phrases" but I can only find one appropriate keyword phrase? I want more. How do I get more good phrases?


Here are just a few quick tips:

1. Take the one phrase or keyword you found and enter it into "Comprehensive Research" and click Proceed. That should bring out a variety of phrases that are related to the same subject. (I'll be sharing much more on this in the future)

2. Apply a little more lateral thinking about who your target audience is and research a little more about how they may be searching. Thinking "outside the box" mixed with Wordtracker's comprehensive search can be powerful.

3. If you can't find enough gold in the top 1000 "most searched for" phrases you are not thinking laterally enough. It is there, we just need practice learning how to tap into it. But for the sake of argument, if you could not find ANY keywords within the top 1000, did you know that you can actually purchase a killer list of the top 20,000 keywords or the top 100,000 keywords.


I have done well with my keyword research and Wordtracker has helped me to build some great high performance strategies. However, I want to add more great ideas for content (and sell even more product), but I feel like I have really hit a dead end? I think I've already chosen the best keywords.


If at any time you feel that you've hit a dead end, then it's time to stop thinking about your product or service and start using Wordtracker's powerful database to help reveal a new strategy which you could employ. Your focus must be on your target audience's "behavior." Stop thinking in terms of how bad you want to sell the product and start examining how people might be searching for the product. Often you will discover that there can be "multiple target audiences" perfect for your product. You just have not realized it before. I'll guarantee there are many, many, more powerful niche phrases in Wordtracker's database of over 380,000,000 million queries within the last 60 days. To many Webmasters, those powerful killer phrases remain hidden and elusive.


Wordtracker has a feature to help me identify the most common spelling errors. How many misspelled words should I include in my keyword Metatag?


The best thing here, is not to go wild with misspelled words. The keyword Meta Tag has always been a great place to include 2 or 3 misspelled words. As you may know, the keyword Meta tag is not even that influential anymore, but a couple of researched misspells will not hurt things.

TIP: A much more powerful use for an important keyword that you identifyas commonly misspelled, is to try using it in your Google Adwords campaign, if you are running one.

QUESTION: Sometimes I just want to check the validity of one keyword phrase without looking at hundreds of other suggestions returned in Wordtracker's results. Is there any way to do this easily?


Sure. On the main menu under Item 5. Multiple search, choose the second option down called Exact/Precise Search. Using this option will return details on just the specific keyword phrase you are looking for.


I would like to know how Wordtracker is for accuracy?


Wordtracker uses results which are extracted from the Meta search engines so they are actually very pure. In other words, these are numbers which are not skewed by the use of automated querying software.


Which of the major search engines are best to focus on when doing research. I am assuming it is best to spend time studying Google.


I guess it depends on which type of research you are doing. Certainly one of the best search engines to explore for keyword research is MSN. This is not only because a lot of folks are shopping on MSN but because MSN can still be influenced fairly quickly. (Secondary results are coming from Inktomi and for longer 3 or 4 word phrases and you can get real quick exposure by optimizing for results researched in MSN if you use paid inclusion.

On the other hand, if you are researching human behavior more than just keywords, I would stay focused on Google simply because you can discover great opportunities in Wordtracker for "behaviorally related" phrases. Let's face it, most folks (including your target audience) are searching on Google right now so it's still one of the "most revealing" places to help you understand what people are doing online.

About The Author

John Alexander is the Co-Director of Training of Search Engine Workshops with Robin Nobles. Together, they teach 2-day beginner, 3-day advanced, and 5-day all-inclusive "hands on" search engine marketing workshops in locations across the globe. John also teaches online search engine marketing courses through, and he's a member of Wordtracker's official question support team.


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