Lee Odden

Keyword Research Tools for SEO & Social Media


Social Media Keyword Research is Here
Whether it’s a phrase entered in a search box on a standard search engine, on a video sharing site or tags assigned to your friends’ shared social bookmarks and shared images, the meaning and intent inferred by keywords is paramount to any kind of “pull” online marketing effort.

For search marketers, that means using keyword research tools on an ongoing basis in order to adapt to trends, seasonality and changes in what’s important to the target market.

With the “participatory web”, consumers expect not only to be able to go online and search for information and products, but they fully expect to be able to contribute content and socialize as well. Keywords come into play with search engines that crawl and rank content as well as with the folksonomy of content organization that comes with consumers tagging social media with words that are meaningful to them.

Start Your Keywords (Research)
Researching keywords helps anticipate the demand for topics and to reveal the particular phrases being searched on. Applying keyword insight into the optimization of text, images, video and other media formats published to the web allows a business to cast wider and smarter web from which to capture future customers.

Free tools such as Google AdWords Keyword Tool can be useful in generating initial keyword ideas through the “Keyword Variations” tool. The “Site-Related” tool associates the content of a page or an entire web site into groups of similar concepts, each with a specific list of related phrases. Both tools offer an indication of advertising competition and search volume (popularity) for each phrase which are useful in deciding which phrases to target. Keyword research tools such as those listed at SEO Book provide a wide variety of options.

Keeping Up With the Jones’ Keywords
Reviewing competitor web sites that are already ranking well for the phrases being targeted can be useful in gaining competitive advantage. A shortcut to this kind of research can be found with tools like seodigger.com and spyfu.com, which are not 100% accurate, but then again no free tools are. Seodigger allows you to identify the phrases that competitors are ranking for organically and SpyFu displays what phrases are being used with Pay Per Click advertising.

Searching for Keyword Gold
Often times there’s a gold mine of keyword data that can be found in the logs of a web sites’ site search utility. Offering open text search on a web site gives visitors the opportunity to bypass typical site navigation in favor of search terms that are meaningful to them.

Reviewing the logs for the search terms visitors are using after they arrive on the site can reveal topical search trends, insights into demand for new product/service offerings or variances in search phrases from which site marketers can further refine content creation and optimization.

Additionally, a review of the web site visitor statistics will show high volume and long tail phrases that drive traffic. Knowing which search phrases are actually driving traffic is a critical component in making ongoing content optimization effective.

With conversion analytics in place for organic as well as paid search, the phrases that most often result in sales or other measurable outcomes as well as their sources can be identified as targets for future content creation and advertising. Google Analytics is one of the most popular free tools for this kind of data tracking.

Keywords, Social Media and Folksonomy
For web sites that are involved with marketing through optimizing social media, the use of tags as keywords can reveal the concepts consumers most associate with the kind of content being promoted. Knowing what words interested audiences associate with content can be leveraged as social media is optimized in the same way traditional keyword research is used to optimize web pages.

The most popular tags, or keywords, are often reported on the respective social media sites such as on the del.icio.us tag page, StumbleUpon popular tags or the Technorati blog search engine tag page.

Social media monitoring tools can also provide tag/keyword insight based on communities that develop within social media web sites. Content related to monitored keyword concepts that goes viral can be visualized along with the keywords used in tags and links between blog posts, comments, trackbacks and forum posts. Monitoring tools of this type are not free, but include: Radian6, Collective Intellect, BuzzLogic as well as a variety of others. One consideration for marketers on that teeny tiny budget is that you might be able to co-op the cost with your corporate public relations departments because these tools, while expensive, really are amazing.

Check it at the Keyword Glossary
The result of conducting such extensive keyword research should start with a keyword glossary. Excel spreadsheets work well to document lists of keyword phrases and mapping them to content on the web site. Keywords should also be mapped according to content format and promotion channel.

For example, product and services oriented keywords are mapped to web pages or categories being optimized. Tag-derived keywords are mapped to media being promoted such as images, blog posts or video.  The keyword glossary is a living document that provides anyone in the organization tasked with creating and/or promoting content a reference for the types of words to use.

Whether you’re conducting keyword research for web page optimization or promoting images and videos on social media sharing sites, it makes sense to do your keyword home work. The challenge is, knowing exactly where to look.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. knowing your keywords is like a goldmine! Getting top spots in search engine ranking would definitely determine the success or failure or your venture..

    is there any better keyword research tools out there that really works?

  2. Ahh nice. I had forgotten about the popular tag pages on the social media sites.

    Have you found this info to be useful on a lot of different types of sites? Obviously for technology related sites I could see it being very useful, but what about a company that focuses on fabric production, where they might not have any sort of community already established in the social media sites.

    Any thoughts? I guess you just gotta get in there and do the research.

  3. Keywords don’t mean jack nowadays, let’S face it. It’s all about the damn links, and what they “say”, whther its a banner or a text link.

  4. Though these tools help a lot, but I think having an analysis of your own works more if combined with these tools!

  5. The idea of keyword research is the gateway to a good site ranking,if possible the best practice should be to carry out before the actual design. Well chosen keywords better result on other SEO effort.

  6. Good Advice! Thanks.

    I always find that my best keyword research is done when looking at my site’s analytics (Google Analytics). When I am researching my traffic sent VIA organic keyword rankings on Google (and others) I find what keywords have the highest conversions.

    When i compare these results to my ranking reports, I know what keywords to focus on!