To ensure the success of any digital plan requires putting the right building blocks in place to guarantee you’re developing your strategy from the ground up. In a recent blog article I discussed the importance of ensuring your website has a sound information archictecture and introduced you to the tool Screaming Frog. Another key building block is to ensure your strategy is targeting the right keywords and phrases based on your objectives as well as who and what audience you’re looking to target.
Keyword Research is an essential requirement as part of digital strategy and can be applied for a number of different digital tactics such as SEO, PPC, Affiliate or Social media and the below image from Moz.com clarifies the level of importance any digital marketer should give to mastering the art of keyword research
To cut through the endless blog posts and text books available on how to understand keyword research, I’m giving you a shortcut in how to master keyword research by introducing you to Nick Eubanks, a serial entrepreneur who has carved out a niche to become one of the lead authorities in keyword research and SEO having provided consultancy to Morgan Stanley, Thomson Reuters and ExxonMobil helping these global brands to drive qualified leads and digital revenues. He is well regarded as someone who provides hands-on digital training and insights.
Nick recently launched his own keyword research online course for anyone wanting to accelerate their learning and become a keyword research pro in 7 days. I signed up to the course and it’s provided me with valuable skills to up my keyword research skill-set with the hands on training and would definitely recommend you check it out. I caught up with Nick to discuss in more detail is Keyword research traning course, the recent changes in the search marketing landscape such as Google “Not Provided”, the rise in mobile usage and implications to keyword research as well as some general digital marketing trends.
Tell us a little about yourself
I’m a serial entrepreneur with a passion for SEO and product development. In late 2014 I started investing in growth-stage tech company’s and have been having a blast.
When did your digital career start?
In 2004 as an intern for Morgan Stanley; I was a sophomore at Saint Joe’s University here in Philly and realized one-day that making 200 phone calls to sell stock wasn’t for me – and found my way into pioneering the first-ever email marketing campaign to make it past Morgan Stanley’s compliance department (just before the CAN-SPAM Act of 2004).
The course, Mastering Keyword Research in 7 days – can you sell it us in a tweet?
Master Keyword Research in 7 Days is the fastest way to learn effective keyword research and realize ROI from SEO.
Keyword Research has got a lot more difficult since Google decided to shake up the industry with “Not Provided” – What insights do you provide to eliminate this concern?
I use a lot of the more standard techniques at this point including matching up queries from webmaster tools and filtering by landing page. Most recently I have been very impressed with Authority Labs “Now Provided” report which does the same but automates it.
With the majority of data that can be pulled from keyword research, you could easily feel out of your depth to turn the insights into actionable data – what’s you recommendations on where to start with keyword research? Long tail or head terms?
I actually follow my process that I outlined in MKR7D, I identify a variety of terms based on volume, competitiveness, and intent, score and rank them accordingly, and use it to form my timeline for up to 12 months. I almost always start with long tail terms and optimize backwards to build long-term relevancy form tail to head.
Should organisations think laterally about keyword research e.g. opportunities for keyword research to support other digital channels e.g. Social Media or affiliate marketing?
Absolutely. There’s no reason keywords, especially those with high commercial intent or indicative of intrinsic product benefits should be constricted to just organic search. The same high-solution keywords can be used to attract and convey value across almost all digital channels.
The rise in mobile is becoming an ever more important channel to engage with your existing audience and new prospects – do you have insights to suggest how mobile users search via keyword or phrases in comparison to a desktop search?
I don’t have data to substantiate this but based on my personal observations over the last 18 months, within my small section of verticals that I monitor and compete in, I’ve noticed more informational and transactional searches via mobile. So more times than not it seems people are either looking to start their search and begin gathering information, or are in a hurry and are ready to make a purchase.
You provide 101 reasons why Keyword Research is the essential building block for any successful SEO strategy (and it could be argued for any successful digital strategy which encompasses the full digital mix) – how have you seen keyword research change in its usage?
More than anything I think keyword research has grown in importance in the advent of paid social. Suddenly there’s an ever-growing source of direct to consumer touch points, with a lower barrier to entry and engagement, where brands and retailers can leverage keywords to connect with their target audience.
Mastering Keyword Research in 7 days starts with the theme of doing keyword research for existing websites v new websites – what was the significance in focusing on this?
I don’t really see it being talked about anywhere on the web – and as I explain in the lesson, in my mind you need a different approach for each. The problems are different in each scenario, and while there’s overlap, you aren’t starting at the same place. New websites require a lot more gathering, refinement, and testing, whereas existing websites give you a sense of where you’ve been, what’s worked, and can point you in different directions faster.
You’ve worked for large corporations such as Thomson Reuters, Morgan Stanley and ExxonMobil – how do you go about “selling in” the concept of SEO to a non-digital audience?
Morgan Stanley wasn’t SEO as much as it was online, and in that respect, mostly email. Thomson Reuters and Exxon already understood the far reaching implications of digital and more so were concerned with security, compliance, and brand management. In the end it’s a bit too much bureaucracy and red tape for me..
Monitoring and measuring your keyword research is essential to get the buy-in and budgets from the organisation to support ongoing efforts – what key metrics would you recommend are measured to assess the effectiveness of a keyword research strategy?
Conversions, and whenever possible revenue; always tie back new organic traffic to the dollars it’s creating and extending – as the old adage says “sales fix everything.”
There seems to be a distinct lack of actionable, hands-on digital marketing training that’s up to date and relevant. You really need to search out for the right training from individuals such as yourself; Annie Cushing’s Annielytics; Jon Cooper’s Link Building or agencies that have developed their own training e.g. Moz, DistilledU. Do you see this as an issue for the industry that the more “traditional” educational establishments have not addressed? Eg College, Universities etc?
To an extent I guess, but at the same time there’s also been huge advancements in moving education online – with massive investments made into infrastructure, reach, and localization. I think over the next 3 years we are going to see even more brick and mortar business segments moving heavily into digital, just look at the National Association for Certified Home Inspectors as an example..
How would you suggest a digital marketer develops their career to ensure they keep on top of the breadth of digital channel tactics e.g. Is it time to specialise in a specific vertical or take a broad approach?
Specialization is absolutely key; the noise across industries has become so loud that you need to carve out a niche within a niche to make any kind of name for yourself these days.
What’s on your reading list?
Anything from Steve Krug, Jared Spool, or Adam Audette.