Keywords (and keyphrases) play a big role in any SEO
and marketing campaign. But most small business owners don’t have the skills required to execute a strong campaign, nor the budget to hire even an independent contractor.
Being smart about keywords goes a long way. It can help your search engine results, your traffic ratings, your ad campaigns and even give you leverage on the competition. Before you sort through any of these, the first step is to figure out keywords – and KeywordTrak
is a free tool that should really be integrated into the research phase of your campaign.
But don’t let the site’s poor design deter you from trusting it as a reliable source. KeywordTrak helps users find the best keywords for SEO and Pay Per Click campaigns by tracking about 120 million keywords across 15 million domains. The site offers targeting for the following searches and applications:
- Domains: Source a list of competitors and search their keywords
- Keywords: Source data for over 120 million keywords and phrases
- URLS: Search for text in the ad URL
- Ad Copy: Search for text anywhere in the ad
- Discovery: Find more keyword ideas
The site is incredibly simple to use. The homepage leads you straight to a no-fuss box where you can enter any site, starting with (as suggested) your competitor. You can then search for a specific option or get a complete result from your competitor’s URL, which will yield an easy-to-read report that can quickly be scanned for data, including daily ad budget, total clicks/day, average ad position and average cost/clicks.
Specifically, PR and marketing firms can use this tool to determine how much a competitor is spending on ads. After all, it doesn’t make sense to go into an ad campaign for a client with a novice attitude and (worse yet) a novice’s information. Know exactly how much your client will need to fork over just to keep up with the competition, let alone beat it.
The competitor search also yields a list of paid and organic keywords and their positions, as well as when they were last used and how successful each was. You also get a subpage of competitors featured in a pie graph, along with a list of PPC keywords for each. Next in the line of subpage results are ads (paid and organic), which include the list of keywords used and when the campaign was last used. Saving the best for last, there’s an “Explorer” feature that shoots out a brainstorm of your URL and all tangent URLS as far as competitors go. Follow the connection by clicking on a bubble to see the same display for that competitor, and so on.
Other site features include seeing a list of the top ten biggest ad payers, and sourcing ad groups (though you have to be a paying user to access that service). Pricing ranges between $39 for monthly use and $75 for quarterly use, with free accounts allowing for a mere ten results per query versus 5,000 for paid accounts of any price point. Aggressive pursuers can take advantage of the “Enterprise” package, ranging between $350-$900 with unlimited yields.
The platform lets you save all the data you’ve found and also easily export it to Excel to send to someone else or use for research – a paid membership feature. KeywordTrak offers a free limited version, but the paid version gets you a lot more results. Use the free version if you’re just starting out on your campaign, opting for the paid service if you’ve mastered the basic or are a bigger firm with a campaign already in motion but needing a bit of a tweak.
Knowing the right keywords is also part of a critical research phase if you’re going to start your own business. You need to know what the hot words are, who’s using them and which to stay away from. Keyword analysis can help you pick the right domain for your new business, navigate the first round of blog content and help you draft web content. A great place to start is with the competition. Pick the top one or two businesses in your industry, as well as the leading local ones and run a search for each. Particularly if you’re a small business owner or regionally focused (such as with an eatery), location-based results will matter more than national top of the pyramid competitors.