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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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

Enterprise Search Survey

Enterprise Search Survey
Sue Feldman, research VP, content technologies at IDC, and Michelle Manafy, editor of EContent magazine, the Enterprise Search Sourcebook, and conference programmer for the Enterprise Search Summit Invite you to participate in a short (2-4 minute) survey about enterprise search tool selection. They will present the results at the Summit and on the Enterprise Search Center.

Links:
IDC: http://www.idc.com
EContent: http://www.econtentmag.com
Sourcebook: http://www.enterprisesearchcenter.com/SourceBook/default.aspx
Summit: http://www.enterprisesearchsummit.com
Survey: https://vovici.com/wsb.dll/s/2b4cg3261b

Search Solutions Jumpstart Series

From time to time we organize a free educational conference call series on search, taxonomy or content managment. Next month, we’ll be running our Search Series.

Register at http://www.earley.com/Searchjumpstart2008.asp

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Search as an Application

Challenges of Search

I just returned from a conference in Rome where I presented a session on search. The basic premise is this: Search is not a utility. Search is an application. Search needs to be thought through and integrated into the process that it is meant to support.This does not mean that there is no place for basic search – the plug and play utility model that tools like Google Search Appliance leverage. In that case, search provides a valuable function in helping people access large stores of unorganized content.As much Google bashing as I do, I am a frequent user of Google Desktop. Hypocritical? I don’t think so. GSA is appropriate for what I use it for – searching through email messages and my hard drive for certain types of information. Sometimes I find what I am looking for and sometimes I don’t. But this is because of the relative effort I place on organizing my content versus the time it takes to do so. It’s easier for me to search as I do and risk not finding something than it is for me to organize all of my email. On the other hand, I have a more structured method for the information that I place higher value on – proposals, SOW’s, client project documents and conference presentations.

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Number 1 in Silver Mining Tools

I was looking over my keyword analysis on the earley.com web site and I came across a strange search string. We had several hits for “Silver mining tools”. I thought, how odd…

I entered the search in Google and there we were: Earley & Associates had the number 1 spot on Google for Silver Mining Tools. Right next to companies that provided equipment for miners along with paid ads for sites touting silver stocks.

I then noticed why Google thought this a good match. We have an article titled “Text Mining: Search’s Silver Lining”. Turns out we don’t show up under “Silver Mining Equipment”.

(Since I first noticed this, we have slipped to the number two position. Perhaps I can get some mining companies to trade links and get us back to the top.)