Tips for Conducting Keyword Research – Part 1

Last week Stephanie wrote about (post) the importance of considering specific facets of search engine optimization in helping taxonomists guide clients in choosing the right keywords. To further that discussion, I thought I’d put together a series of posts to speak in more detail about using keyword research as a tool for determining (or at least being consciously aware of) the language being used by those searching for your content, products and/or services online.

Preparation – Creating Your Master List
The first step in the process is the groundwork. I always allocate a certain amount of time up front to plan and prepare the list of initial keywords to be used as a basis for conducting keyword research. You need to have an inventory of words or phrases to get started, so why not put some thought and effort into generating a solid list to work from. From my perspective, the better the plan, the better the results. So let’s get to it.
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DAM and Controlled Vocabulary

I worked on a project recently highlighting findability issues with unstructured content and the need for appropriate tagging using values from a controlled vocabulary.

At the heart of this project was Digital Asset Management (DAM), a rapidly growing area as more multimedia content is being distributed online, particularly for marketing purposes. The inherent problem with digital assets is the potentially large amount of information about what a piece of content is but the lack of information describing what that content is about. Unlike other content, which may contain text or be located with surrounding textual context, digital assets do not typically contain text, especially any which is structured for discovery by search engines. Any textual and searchable elements must be associated to digital assets through the use of metadata. Metadata describing what the content is, including attributes like video length, number of pixels, and file size, can be associated to the content and is often automatically attributed through business rules.

What the asset is about, however, is not inherent. It must be associated to the content either manually or automatically by loading the content once business rules have been thought out and established.

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SEO – Helping taxonomists fight the good fight

In my last post, I mentioned the difficulty that some clients/stakeholders have in letting go of certain terminology when they undertake a taxonomy project:

Search engine optimization (SEO) has become one of the most important tools in helping us taxonomists get hard data that is meaningful and fight against the inclusion of terms that are too cute, ambiguous or otherwise detract from the findability of content.

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Relating Different Lists of Terms

There are three different types of relationships in taxonomies: 

Equivalent (Synonyms: “International Business Machines = IBM”)

Hierarchical (Parent/Child : “Computer Manufacturers => IBM”)

Associative (Concept/Concept: “Software Group – Software”)

Heather Hedden’s presentation on taxonomy powered discovery for a recent Boston KM Forum contained an interesting set of examples for how to organize the last type of conceptually related term sets.

Process and agent: Programming – Programmers
Process and instrument: Skiing – Skis
Process and counter-agent: Infections – Antibiotics
Action and property: Environmental cleanup – Pollution
Action and target: Auto repair – Automobiles
Cause and effect: Hurricanes – Flooding
Object and property: Plastics – Elasticity
Raw material and product: Timber – Wood products
Discipline and practitioner: Physics – Physicists
Discipline and object: Literature – Books Continue reading