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Big Data in SEO (4): Pick the keyword-cherries

Big Data in SEO (4): Pick the keyword-cherries

In this series of articles entitled “Big Data in SEO”, I cover the seven topics that are important for enterprise SEO. This section will focus on keywords, or to put it better, the low-hanging cherries.

The biggest problem for large websites is not just to be ranked for the right keywords. Rather, the problem is in identifying these keywords in the midst of numerous others and focusing all the efforts on them.

Even a small online store can be found in Google search results with several hundred keywords – for a news portal, this can be as many as a million! For this reason, it doesn’t make sense to continue to increase this number or even to try to come in the top position with all of these keywords. Instead, the focus should be on identifying the right keywords and working from there.

1st step: the right keywords

For what do you want to be ranked? In other words, what are the keywords with which you can energize your sales? The first rule is: don’t just pay attention to what you want to sell to people. Instead, focus on the things for which the users search. But surely you already know this rule.

The second rule is: use big data!

The standard keyword research in the Searchmetrics Suite gives you more than you’ve been accustomed to.

Keyword research

Open keyword research, enter keyword. Done!

In this table you will find ample data for the keyword selection:

  • The search volume shows the way to the “strong” keywords. These are however not necessarily the best search terms but more on that later. In any case keywords without relevant search volume are usually not especially attractive.
  • The CPC shows how much those keywords are “worth”. In fact how much it is worth in Google AdWords. On the one hand this means that if you want to (or must) buy traffic by SEA instead of SEO then this price would be payable per user. The total is shown in the column “Advertising Budget”. On the other hand this price also shows the value of the actual placement. If you receive about 5,000 visitors per month for a keyword with a CPC of $1, then this traffic is worth $5,000!
  • The universal search integration shows you even more handling options. Marked with small icons, you can quickly find all keywords with a news integration, or those with images, videos, maps, or a shopping snippet. If you see an image or video it may be worthwhile to rank yourself with one of these. The news integration is a sign that a current topic is involved here – freshness can really be helpful. And the shopping integration is a very clear indicator that Google is of the opinion that the keyword deals with a “product”. Usually only shops and buying guides have this opportunity.
  • The search volume spreading shows the progress of the interest in the keyword over the next twelve months. This also determines if optimization of the keyword should be started right away or sometime in the future.

Of course, this data is also available via API or CSV download. Even a direct connection to merchandise management is also possible. Why is that a good thing? Very simply put, only you can say how much business you can actually make with which keyword. However, if you multiply the Searchmetrics data for this search term by YOUR margin and/or YOUR conversion, the result leads directly to the economic success that is to be expected. And you should always aim for that.

2nd step: adjust the workflow

It pays to add the “desired keywords” to the Searchmetrics Suite so you can work on them in the future. This brings us to the various regular workflows that can improve our ranking every week. One of these workflows is based strictly on the current potential of the search term.

Our detailed filter is used here in the ranking analysis of the stored keywords: In this example, I have searched for all keywords with which this page (New York Times) is ranked “on the threshold” between 11 and 20 AND has increased in comparison with the previous week.

filter functions
The filters for the ranking analysis are extremely flexible.

Why this filter? Because with these keywords, is showing upward movement but not (yet) in a visible area. Only a small boost is needed and then we are in the visible area for selected and especially attractive keywords. Got it?

Of course there is still a range of other strategies for finding the most attractive search terms for optimization. Your creativity knows no bounds, thanks to the quickly adjustable filter.

3rd step: define feasibility

You are asking yourself what could be such a boost? Here’s the answer: this is found in the Searchmetrics Suite. And not just this one, either. Let’s take a look at keyword optimization:

filter keyword optimization
A selection for keyword optimization.

Here I have also switched on a filter for the sake of simplicity. External brands can be found here for which the New York Times ranks but still has great traffic potential. And this is also shown in the column to the right. The keyword score is not green for all pages. There is improvement potential for keyword targeting as well. This can be within the keyword usage on the page or in the internal linking. More on this in another article in this series. Just one thing: for a large site, it is no longer difficult to be ranked for a keyword if you have found it once.

Extra tip: outrank the direct competition

A strategy that is sometimes sensible for finding the right keywords is a direct comparison with the closest competitors. A competitor’s domain can be entered right in the overview in the research area. The “common” keywords, or the search terms with which both domains can be found, are in the competitive comparison. The good thing is that this table can be sorted by columns (and also exported so that an evaluation can be done in Excel or with your own tool).

Competitor comparison
A line-for-line direct comparison can be made between two competitors.


A line-for-line direct comparison can be made between two competitors.

Keywords are quickly found with which the competitor receives a lot of traffic – but not our site. If this is also an attractive search term for us, it is worth it to work on these pages. Or perhaps this brings us to entire topic area that we did not focus on sufficiently. However, this table is always worth a look.

Keyword research: Efficient and not just effective

Got it? Big data SEO is not just about effectiveness, meaning making things fast and accurate. It is first and foremost about efficiency, meaning doing the right things. Only then can the economic use of our resources follow. An extensive keyword analysis with a view toward the lowest-hanging fruit is part of this in any case.

Next week we will show you more about: Improving performance: technical optimization.

Series: How top companies handle big data in SEO

On our website you can get the complete Big data-series as complete eBook. Download now!

  1. Promoting productivity: managing international teams and agencies. Large quantities of data require a very fine allocation of rights. For reasons of data protection on the one hand, but also for quality reasons: If everyone can do whatever he or she wants to, you end up not really knowing what’s inside the big data pot. The Suite allows you to perform these tasks in a simple and user-friendly way thanks to the allocation of rights.
  2. Quick overview: managing different campaigns in a structured way. Large companies always pursue multiple goals at one time. These goals can be pursued individually using the features of the Searchmetrics Suite, such as tagging and multi-tagging. But the Suite also lets you adapt and automate every report and every chart.
  3. Observing competition: learning from your competitors. Competition is sometimes the biggest surprise in online marketing. Our offline competitors are potentially only marginal online competitors, whereas our offline partners are actually our toughest competitors. We provide just the right environment in numerous data pools.
  4. Pick the cherries: tapping into hidden potential. It’s not always worthwhile to work on the keywords with the largest number of searches. Competition, universal search and existing ranks also play an important part.
  5. Improving performance: technical optimization. Sometimes even the best SEO gets muddled up when dealing with a large page. We crawl every page and report error pages and optimization potential for keywords.
  6. Return on investment: paying attention to the conversion. Ultimately, it’s about the money. Is a PPC campaign worth it or would the budget be better allocated to SEO optimization. What’s more worthwhile? We supply figures to help you make this decision.
  7. Optimizing processes: saving time and money. One employee on the team needs a daily report, another one a monthly summary. Our reports are highly flexible, relevant and can be generated with just a few clicks.

So you see: There’s a lot to be done. Big data isn’t just marketing hype or a simple glance into a crystal ball filled with data. Big data is a necessary and effective way of working that is simply part of enterprise SEO and has to be learned. We help you with it. Stay tuned!