Keywords and Creativity
Ken McGaffin and Neil Davidson gave a great seminar here at NMK on the subject of Keyword Creativity. How understanding the way that people are searching for you - and your competitors - might inform what you create for them.
Ian Delaney reports.
I have to admit to not really understanding this subject until I attended Neil and Ken’s course yesterday. The concept of keyword research seemed heavily technical, whereas coming up with content - ‘creativity’ - appeared to be a world apart.
And that’s where I was wrong. Basically, Ken’s product - Wordtracker - tells you how many people search for a particular term and what else they search for. Let’s say it’s ‘organic’. You’ve got some sort of organic product to sell or write about. Ken gave the example of a new organic product that cures insomnia. What you can then discover is the related searches people are doing. Nobody types ‘organic’ on its own into Google (well, actually, a lot of people do, but let’s ignore those idiots). So what else are they interested in? It turns out that a lot of ‘organic’ searchers are actually looking for organic food, organic clothes or organic baby products. That’s what they typed into the search engine.
Now you know that, it gives you an insight into what might be a successful new product, or a good way to pitch an existing product. Add into that knowledge that a lot of people who search for ’sleep’ - our brief is a cure for insomnia, remember - are also including the word ‘cures’, ‘remedies’ and so forth. Your ability to identify a hit or miss, and to create a brand for the product that matches what people are searching for becomes a lot stronger. Something like ‘organic baby sleep cures’ starts to look like a winner.
It goes further. Knowing the related terms around what you’re selling can inspire creativity. Neil gave the example of a white-water rafting firm. Now, it turns out that nearly everyone who searches for white-water rafting, does so with a location attached. ‘Kent white water rafting’, for example. Knowing that, wouldn’t it make a lot of sense to include other content about things to do in Kent - or wherever you are - on your site? Doing that will improve your search rankings and the value of your site to visitors.
It also turns out that a large number of people searching for ‘white water rafting’ are also searching for ‘team building’: they’re entering ‘Kent team building white water rafting’ and similar into the search engine. A section, a micro-site, or perhaps just a blog, around team-building could potentially bring in a lot of extra traffic and sales.
The Wordtracker site explains this example in more detail through a well-executed mini soap opera here (registration required). Neil also explained how this might help with persona planning and research for tackling pitches (internal and external), while Ken explained how it might help with fresh topics for content on your site and also online PR.
Anyway, a good session that the delegates enjoyed. Hopefully, we’ll put it on again soon, so look out for it. The course also includes a week’s free trial of Wordtracker.
Lastly, it would be against my conscience not to note that Microsoft has created a free service that allows some experimentation with the Keyword Creativity idea. However, it isn’t suitable for UK-specific projects, only logs Windows Live searches and doesn’t allow users to conduct nearly so sophisticated searches as Wordtracker. Worth a try, nonetheless, if you want to sample the idea in action.