Social Media powered Keyword Research

Inspired by a fantastic article in Search Marketing Standard magazine (which, unfortunately isn’t yet online) titled “Getting Social with Keyword Research”  by Ross Dunn,  I decided to write a post on it, here, at, and a more in-depth article which I’ll submit to, soon.  A less in depth, but interesting post appeared in Search Engine Journal on How to Use Social Media for Keyword Research by Ann Smarty, last year, but it’s pretty light in details.

My own post on Social Media Search Engine Optimization Keyword Research early this year, got me thinking, along with my work with Radian6, how keyword research might be effectively done with Social Media tools.  Ross Dunn pointed out things well worth following up on like:

  • Supercharging your articles and blog posts with “hot discussion topics” [in a given subject – or community] by weaving the discussion into the article or blog posting.
  • If your running a paid search brand campaign, adjusting the content of the ads based on conversations going on around the brand.
  • Scanning Social Media for the best keywords to use to describe an existing product or service in your web-copy (again, looking at enough conversations – and looking for “slang terms” and features you might want to incorporate
    • One example I can think of, is personal – I use the Gillette Fusion razor that has 5 blades, but I didn’t realize till recently, looking at a Gillette video on “how to shave”, posted on YouTube and a Gillette Micro Site, the Gillette Fusion has a “6th Blade” on the back of the razor cartridge.  It’s possible, using social media monitoring tools like Radian6, or even, Twitter, that there are features in your product or service that you don’t market well, but are a competitive advantage.  For example, Gillette Fusion could have actually used a term like “5 Blades +1″ or “the 6 Blade Razor” and be totally correct about it … as well as getting some extra keyword traffic by adding these terms to the web-copy or ad.
  • Entrepreneur’s Wet Dream – (ha, ha – that’ll be focused on for my next column) by listening in on “amazing personal discussions” from the target market the Entrepreneur wants to reach and then go develop a product.
    • Here’s an hypothetical example – I just bought two pairs of shoes and might “tweet” or post to Facebook/Friendfeed, that it’s too bad there isn’t an “ultra-thin” insole that is also increasingly “shock resistant” that I can put into my new shoes to make them even more comfortable.   Well, if I were an Entrepreneur, looking around for a new product to create, and I knew a lot about shoes, maybe I’d do some research and see if something like that “super thin cushioned insole” existed – (maybe, even using Social Media tools like Radian6 to find out if anyone is working on such a “insole” and then – either attempt to partner with whomever is developing the insole – or …. going out and creating that super thin cushioned insole, for themselves.   It’s not so far fetched – and if anyone has a “Super Thin cushioned insole”, I’d like to try it.

Ross Dunn concentrates on Social Media Tools for Keyword Search, but I might not confine myself to free tools, but rather, the best tools.   Cheap and free is great, but not always, better.  The tools Ross Dunn mentioned in his article, again, not online at the time of my writing this post, are:

  1. TweetVolume – historical search of keyword usage on Twitter (not particularly useful because it doesn’t give you new keywords you didn’t know about related to your product or service, just shows the volumes of a few keywords as used on Twitter).  For the most part, I’d pass on this one, and, as Ross Dunn points out, TweetVolume doesn’t provide any “conversations” around the usage chart – so you can’t even see how people are using the terms – (free tools, as I said, might not be the best when you really want to get actionable data).
  2. TweetScan – real time search on Twitter against any term – moderately useful if you can hone in on some conversations where “other related keywords” or “other terms” might be used – more like hit or miss
    1. - I’d suggest come up with terms you care about – then, make RSS Feeds out of them, and then bring them into Google Reader and scan the results regularly, to see if you’ve found anything interesting.
    2. You can also find Twitter users who have recently used the terms your searching on – and that might be the beginning of forming an “influencer list” … but you’d need to do additional research to find out how many Twitter Followers each Twitter user had, etc.
  3. Twitter Search – Use similar to TweetScan – but much more powerful and can be micro-targeted.
    1. I use it to tell me if “Tweet-ups” are happening within 5 miles of my location, for example – and make that into an RSS Feed – monitor it in Google Reader – problem is – this isn’t really Keyword Research – so, it might be that Twitter Search isn’t really a great Social Media Keyword Research tools since, that’s not it’s purpose.
  4. TwitterSpectrum – pretty interesting visualizations – (see one below I did comparing Radian6 with Crimson Hexagon).

I think there might be something useful here – but I’d have to study TwitterSpectrum more – I tried “health care, public option” to see what that would look like, and it might be useful to compare two products, like Braun and Panasonic – but even there, it didn’t really help keyword research – interesting project as Art, but not particularly geared for Social Media Keyword Research.

Ross Dunn also mentioned Facebook Lexicon as a keyword research tool – but I didn’t see anything in Lexicon all that useful, to be honest – and I wrote about Lexicon recently in Limitations on Social Media as a marketing medium – we know Facebook has Lexicon2 and it makes available to large brands and advertisers who spend a decent amount of money on Facebook, additional tools that are much more useful, but are almost impossible to get access to – that might be very use for Social Media powered Keyword Research – but those are not in my hands, right now, so I can not speak to it.

However, I didn’t see any concrete examples on Social Media powered Keyword Research in Ross Dunn’s article – so in a future post – I’ll provide some.

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