I was given a review license of a new keyword research tool, Keyword Examiner, last week and thought I’d give it a spin. It claims to save hours on keyword research by automating the process of competition analysis.
Rather than just evaluating how many people search for a particular phrase, it also helps you to understand how many other websites are competing for that phrase. Finding phrases with a high number of searches combined with relatively little competition is your keyword research goal.
Keyword Examiner runs an analysis of some typical search engine optimisation signals that is evidence of levels of competition for your phrases:
- The text of a page, known as phrase match (searching with “inverted commas”).
- The Title Tag of a page (using the intitle: command when searching).
- Anchor text linking to a page (using the inanchor: command when searching).
Clearly these are all important factors used by Google to determine where a web page appears in the search results. The idea of Keyword Examiner is that you can see how many people are searching for a collection of keywords (it uses the AdWords Keyword Tool for this), then run searches on Google for those keywords to see how much competition there is. The big sell is that if you did this manually, it would take hours putting together a spreadsheet of the results.
Hopefully, what you will get from the data are a few choice keywords with sufficient volume (the number of times a phrase is used each month) but not too much competition, making them good targets for SEO.
So, I tried it out with the topic of “cooking utensils”. You simply enter your topic as you would with the AdWords Keyword Tool, and the list of keywords with search volumes comes back. I then chose the ones I was interested in from the list and made my choices on competition – I went for the full house of all three types of competition (phrase, in title & in anchor), searching “pages from the web” on Google UK (I could have chosen any country in the world or “only pages from the UK” if I’d wanted).
A few minutes passed while Keyword Examiner ran the searches, as it pauses between each one to emulate human activity (Google looks out for automated searching to prevent overloading its servers). Here’s a screenshot of what I ended up with:
As you can see, there are quite a few choice looking targets in that list. Take “Indian cooking utensils” for example – a search volume of 390 per month in the UK, but only 184 pages with that phrase in the title tag and only 8 pages with that phrase in anchor text linking to them. That’s pretty low in terms of competition and, were I in that market, a good phrase to target. “Cooking utensils UK” looks quite tasty, too.
I can export that list to a spreadsheet to save it for future reference or add extra data that I might want, such as the relevant page on my website for a keyword. If you want even more data, you can also import WordTracker keywords if you’re a subscriber.
Overall, although Keyword Examiner is relatively simple compared to some SEO software, it does its job very well and keeps things simple. £19.98 per month is not a huge price to pay for the time (and tedium!) it saves and there’s no tie-in period, so you could just use it for one month if you needed to.