This year’s MozCon was, without a doubt, the best SEO conference I’ve ever been to. I’ve said that before and I’ll say it again – if you have the chance to go next year, and you’re a serious search marketer, you’d be insane not to attend.
Show, not tell
Big conference speaking is a little intimidating at times but I really enjoyed speaking about keyword research at MozCon. I gave a live demonstration of our adwords API extension, categorised some keyword data and learned so much about getting microphones attached correctly at the beginning of a session. I think I’ve learned with keyword research you have to show, not tell – the audience were so excited (and very kindly) gave me a round of applause (warm fuzzies).
“Wave your magic wand, Harry!”
Rand Fiskin, MozCon 2011 – Photo: Thomas Ballantyne
My favourite tools
In the session I shared a bunch of new, old, favourite and interesting tools to use in the keyword research process. If you haven’ seen the presentation, here it is:
Here are the tools from the presentation:
Google Adwords Plugin for MS Excel
Our Google Adwords plugin has been a huge success and the 700+ downloads (and counting) is a great start. It’s free and saves an infinite amount of time if you’re trying to get hold of web or mobile search volumes in your language and location. Just yesterday I used it to pull 17,000 search volumes for a client’s keyword research project. It took me half a day to build the same level of epic Excel spreadsheet that two years ago would have taken me a full week.
Here’s a short video if you’d like to see the tool in action:
SEO Tools For Excel
To capture lots of keyword inspiration, you might consider generating a keyword strategy based on a competitors site crawl (large site dynamic SEO can be so predictable). Neils Bosma made this process even easier with his amazing SEO tools for Excel plugin.
Gathering the H1, H2, <title>, meta description and keywords is so much easier thanks to the functions you see above. I know Neils has recently updated his plugin with even more features, so go check them out.
Alchemy API: VB Script for Excel
For a few years I’ve had a VB script based Excel plugin to gather data via the incredible Alchemy API. You can download the Excel macro here. Process a list of URLs and receive a list of keywords – from which you can generate search volumes using the Adwords plugin above. What’s not to like?
Ubersuggest is the tool to generate thousands of potential keyword ideas. Just add a keyword, select your language and boom! Keywords. The latest incarnation of the tool also scrapes Google News suggest. Nice.
XPathBuilder is built to make generating xpath queries easier for scraping services like Yahoo, Bing and Google search. It’s really easy to learn how to do this yourself, but I must admit I love the idea from a timesaving point of view – a specific query generator for a very specific task. I’d be very pleased to see this develop further.
Scraping QA services for inspiration
This is a quick GDocs scrape hack I cobbled together to demonstrate how pulling data from QA services can be useful for inspiration. In the SEOmoz QA system you can gether data on who is answering, post titles, number of responses and the like. Very useful to see what’s popular, perhaps to justify a blog post! Here’s my Google Docs demo (head to “SEOmoz QA Blog Post Ideas”)
The old classic – an insanely easy way to concatenate combinations of new keywords ready to go into your favourite search volume checker. It’s one of my personal favourites!
New and useful tools
The tools above are amongst my favourite – obviously I wouldn’t be doing my job without giving SEOgadget keyword research a mention which gathers search volumes, rankings and categorises keywords on the fly. You could do a lot of what’s contained in this post with our toolset, but obviously you can do it for free with a bit of hard graft.
If you’ve got any new tools you’d like to share I’d love to hear about them! Drop a comment below and say hi!
Image credit: Photon_de