The Internet Marketing Driver: Glenn Gabe's goal is to help marketers build powerful and measurable web marketing strategies.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Creative Headlines Versus Descriptive Titles - Why Optimized Titles Tags are Still Important for SEO, My Latest Post on Search Engine Journal

Headlines can be powerful. Chances are you've come across a headline that was so enticing, you just had to learn more. It may have been funny, shocking, intriguing, etc. I think most marketers would agree that strong headlines can help drive a surge in short term traffic, while also being extremely memorable. However, I’m also sure that most SEO’s (including myself) would agree that those very headlines could risk poor search engine rankings, which means a potential loss of long term, quality traffic from organic search. And when Search can be a majority of a website’s traffic, it’s hard to ignore the power of high rankings.

The effect of creative and clever headlines on SEO.

SEO and Shoe-Throwing Incidents
There are times that I work with a client’s editorial staff to explain SEO, including keyword research, content optimization, the power of inbound links, etc. I find that many writers are interested in SEO, since they obviously want their articles and posts found via search engines. However, it's not uncommon to have a shoe fly by my head when I explain that clever and creative headlines are not optimal for SEO! As I explained in my guest post on Search Engine Journal, if I’m lucky, the shoe is thrown by someone with poor accuracy or small feet. :) Once the bombardment stops, I often start to conduct searches to show the impact of optimized headlines and titles (based on a client’s industry and focus). If you’ve read my previous blog posts, then you know I’m a big fan of backing your recommendations based on data and not opinion. I find that data is hard to ignore.

My SEO Headline Test
Based on my work with copywriters and editors, I decided to run even more tests and write a post detailing my findings. So, I conducted searches on a number of topics and checked Google, Yahoo, and Bing to determine how many of the top listings included titles that would be considered creative or clever. Then I reversed it, and checked posts and articles that I knew used clever or creative headlines to see where they ranked in natural search.

To view the results of my test, you’ll have to read my post on Search Engine Journal titled Great Headline, Poor Rankings – Why Clever Headlines Don’t Beat Optimized Title Tags for SEO

Feel free to post a comment on Search Engine Journal or here on my blog if you have any questions or thoughts about the topic.


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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Features in Keyword Discovery - Also Searched, Successful Search, Core Search Engine Information, and Competitors Search

New Features Features in Keyword Discovery 2009.If you’ve read some of my previous posts about SEO, then you know how important I think keyword research is. When you break it down, it’s risky to base decisions on what you think people are searching for versus analyzing the actual data. Once you perform keyword research, it can be used to optimize your current content, or more importantly, to help generate ideas for new content.

Needless to say, I’m neck deep in keyword research on a regular basis. Although I’ve used several tools to perform keyword research for my clients, I believe Keyword Discovery by Trellian is the industry leader. As new features are added to the product, I plan to cover them here on my blog in detail. In case you are interested, I’ve written several posts in the past about the importance of keyword research and some overlooked features in Keyword Discovery. After reading this post, you might want to also check them out.

New Features, Better Analysis
I’m going to cover four new features in this post that have been greatly helpful as I work on SEO projects. I’m a firm believer that you need to conduct a thorough analysis of your keywords versus just checking query volume. Trellian obviously understands this too, as they keep adding valuable features that make it a powerful analysis tool for search marketers. These new features help provide important pieces of information so you can make educated decisions about which keywords to target.

The four new features I will cover are:
* Also Searched Queries
* Successful Searches
* Analyze Information from Google, Yahoo, MSN/Bing, and Ask
* Competitors Search

Without further ado, let’s jump in.

1. Also Searched Queries
I love this feature. Have you ever wanted to know which other keywords people are searching for based on an initial keyword? This feature displays “also searched queries” as you search for keywords in the application (along with search volume.) So, if you enter “mens shoes” as the keyword, Keyword Discovery will show you other keywords that were searched for by the same users that searched for mens shoes. You actually know that the same users were searching for these additional keywords… In addition, the order of the results is based on user frequency (and not by pure number of searches in the database). This lets you see which keywords were most often searched by the same users versus just seeing volume numbers.

Click the image below to see a larger version:
The also searched feature in keyword discovery.

So, you can see that people searching for mens shoes are also searching for footwear, mens jeans, mens shirts, etc. You can also see specific retailers they are searching for. All of this data can help you make informed decisions about which keywords to target, as well as which additional keywords you might want to optimize for.

2. Successful Search Score
This is an important metric when analyzing keywords. Successful Search Score essentially tells you the percentage of people that clicked through a search result after searching for a keyword. It gives you a good feel for the keywords that actually generate a click through.

Below you will see a list of 13 keywords based on a search for mens shoes. You can clearly see how certain keywords generate a much higher click through. This metric should be part of your own decision making process for which keywords to target. It’s obviously not the only metric to consider, but when combined with other metrics that KD offers, it can help you determine which keywords to focus on.

Successful search score in keyword discovery.

3. Now You Can Analyze Data From Google, Yahoo, MSN/Bing, and Ask
After adding keywords to one of your projects, Keyword Discovery enables you to analyze those keywords to view a number of key metrics. For example, you can see the number of searches in the database, successful searches (mentioned above), the number of results in each engine for that keyword, and the KEI (or Keyword Effectiveness Index). Keyword Discovery recently broke down this information by core search engine, including Google, Yahoo, MSN/Bing, and Ask. Having all of this information at your fingertips enables you to analyze keywords across the core engines, in order to make smart decisions about which keywords to target. This data helps you understand how competitive each keyword is so you can target the right keywords for the task at hand.

Click the image below to see a larger version:
Analyze core search engine information in keyword discovery.

4. Competitors Feature
Checking this box when conducting a search in Keyword Discovery will display the top websites receiving search engine traffic for that keyword. There are some great competitive analysis tools on the market, and I use several of them on a regular basis, but it’s great to have some base level data at your fingertips while performing keyword research. For example, I entered mens shoes in KD and it displayed the top 100 sites receiving search engine traffic for that keyword (based on Trellian’s Competitive Analysis User Path Data). Your list might start with some obvious players, but as you scan down the results you might find some interesting competitors. And, you can use the results to start performing a deeper competitive analysis.

Click the image below to see a larger version:
Competitor search feature in keyword discovery.

This won’t be my last post about keyword research or Keyword Discovery…
So there you have it. Four new features in Keyword Discovery that can help you select the right keywords for the project at hand. I plan to write more about KD in the future as Trellian adds more features. Actually, there are some features that warrant an entire blog post, so look for more posts in the near future!

I’ll end this post with a Glenn Gabe public service announcement:

Please don’t base your SEO efforts on opinion. Perform extensive keyword research and have that research fuel your projects. A keyword is a terrible thing to waste. :)


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