As Internet marketing professionals, we often partner with clients in highly technical industries. Developing an effective keyword strategy can pose to be a great challenge when content and search terms involve specialized terminology. A top-notch, detailed keyword research report will help steer your strategy in the right direction. Keyword research reports can be used for writing content, meta data, PPC ads, website development, and branding strategy. Hopefully this guide will assist you in discovering the correct keywords to deploy in your keyword strategy.

A Brief Intro to Tools Used for Keyword Research:

Several tools are available on the web for conducting keyword research, but only one is essential to perform keyword research. Our favorite tool is Google AdWords. This tool is the most widely used tool for keyword research, and it’s free. Although AdWords has received a lot of criticism for having inaccurate traffic estimations, it is still highly regarded as the best tool for the job. On top of providing traffic estimations for keywords, it will also suggest keywords similar to your inquiry. Adwords can also be used to find keywords people are using to reach individual pages on the website.

If you have analytics access to the website, Google Analytics is another great, free tool for finding keywords.  In GA, you have the ability to view keywords people used to access each page on the site – similar to AdWords. GA will also show referring websites to the client website. Those referring websites may contain keyword-rich content related to your client.

One of the best, paid software suites for keyword research is Raven. Raven is an all-in-one suite for Internet marketing. This suite pulls data from Wordtracker, SEM Rush, Majestic SEO, and several other marketing software platforms. The combination of all these software platforms makes it a very powerful weapon in any Internet marketers’ arsenal. Raven has the ability to pull detailed lists of top competitors in an organic search, and analyze competitor keywords.

Case Study – Sencore

Sencore specializes in video delivery and signal monitoring for professional video networks. With a client like Sencore, words and phrases like DVB-S2 satellite modulator, transcoder, and MPEG transport stream come into play. Unless you are an electrical engineer or a broadcasting technology enthusiast, these terms may sound like a foreign language to you. This creates a tactical challenge for Internet marketing professionals to overcome while performing keyword research.

Highly specialized tech companies like Sencore usually get most of their traffic from branded keywords. After analyzing traffic sources for the client, we noticed that nearly all of the keywords being used to reach their website were product model numbers along with the word “Sencore”. All traditional keyword research techniques were blown out the window because of this. Branding a line of products with model numbers only can be very limiting, and often unsuccessful.

Getting Started with Technical Keyword Research

Save yourself lots of time and heartache by starting with a client interview. Ask them to explain their products and services in short phrases, using the most relevant wording possible. Read any catalogs or literature written by the company. Many of these phrases may be used as keywords, and will also point you in the right direction of what you’ll be looking for. Investigating the client’s website and product descriptions will also give hints for keywords.

Obtaining as much knowledge of the subject as possible will greatly benefit you in the long run. After grabbing as much information as possible from the client and their website, it may be helpful to build a glossary of technical terms. In Sencore’s case, we put together a list of technical terms we gathered from their website, and put together a document containing the definitions for all of them to help us better understand their products.

Examining back links is also helpful for learning more about the client. In Sencore’s case, they attend a lot of industry events, which provided a link. They also have a series of highly technical videos and webinars on their website. All these things gave us a much better idea of what they do and how their products work. For example, a great keyword to associate with Sencore’s Modular Receiver Decoder MRD 3187B would be “digital content delivery”. By using context clues, we were able to determine this by watching Sencore’s video about the product. After running the keyword through AdWords, we determined that it gets a decent amount of traffic.

Diving Deeper into Technical Keyword Research:

Once you have compiled a starter list of keywords, create a spreadsheet to keep track of them. It may help to separate them by category. Be sure to include model numbers in the categories as well. Run each keyword through AdWords with the “broad match” option selected. This will open the door to new keyword opportunities. By running “digital content delivery” on a broad match search, we were able to come up with another 25 relevant keywords that applied to Sencore. Running the model number through AdWords will give you an idea of how to utilize branded keywords.

Keep in mind – running broad match measures different combinations of the words within the keyword phrase. Broad match will measure phrases containing the words digital, content, and delivery, but not necessarily in that order. This will cause the traffic estimations to be skewed. The keywords you come up with may not have any search volume in an exact match search. To ensure the traffic estimate is for the exact keyword wording, you will have to run an exact match.

By now, you may have hundreds of keywords in the spreadsheet. Manually typing in and running every keyword through AdWords is terribly inefficient and completely unnecessary. Start out by sorting the keywords by alphabetical order. Thoroughly examine the list, and remove any duplicate keywords. On a new worksheet, copy and paste all the keywords into Column B. In Column A, put in a left bracket. Put a right bracket in Column C. Using the fill tool, fill columns A and C with the brackets as far down as the keywords go. In Cell D1, enter in the formula in this image:

keyword research

Using the fill tool, drag the formula down to insert it for every row. The results in Column D should look like this: [digital content delivery]. This is the format AdWords uses to run an exact match search. Copy and paste the keywords into AdWords, and run the estimate. This will give you much more realistic traffic estimates for the keywords. If you notice any keywords getting high amounts of traffic, try running it through broad match to pull more keyword ideas from it.

Check out the SEO Tools guide at Search Engine Journal.

Guide to Keyword Research for Highly Technical Clients