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Keyword Data Is Often Very Skewed – Internet Marketers To Blame?

Posted in: Keywords by Richard Hearne on November 19, 2007
Internet Marketing Ireland

I recently put up some slides from my Digiweb Presentation. In the comments Dave Callan asked me to grab some keyword data from Wordze (my sampling tool of choice BTW).

Dave asked me to grab data on 2 search phrases – “Online Marketing Ireland” and “Internet Marketing Ireland”. Wordze is a great tool for general keyword research, but you have to always bear in mind that Ireland is a small market and they getting accurate data from any tool for Irish search queries is always going to be difficult.

But strangely enough there was quite a bit of traffic on both those phrases:

Online Marketing Ireland Keyword Research
Online Marketing Ireland Search Query Report

Here’s the same report for [Internet Marketing Ireland]:

Internet Marketing Ireland Keyword Research
Internet Marketing Ireland Search Query Report

While I’m sure there has been an insurgent interest in Online/Internet marketing here in Ireland over the past year, I think that that interest has been overshadowed by something else.

But… Who’s Making All Those Searches?

The main problem with any professional keyword tool is that the data will always be based on available data sources, and in general no one source is reliable. In the case of Wordze they do appear to have access to Irish ISP data (they don’t actually tell customers where they’re data comes from BTW), but there is no real way to validate that data.

The main problem with any keyword research for the SEO/SEM category is that a very large number of the reported searches are going to be executed for the purpose of collecting keyword data (was that sentence as difficult to understand as it was to write?). So every time I do a search on Google for either of those terms I have absolutely no interest in acquiring the service – I’m just interested in who’s doing what in my niche.

And let’s face it – every man (web designer or not) and his dog is now an Irish SEO expert.

NB: Just to qualify my subtle use of irony – I reckon I could count the people who really know what they’re doing on 2 hands. Maybe even 1 hand.

And therein lies the ultimate fallacy of keyword research for the SEO/SEM niche. Chances are very high that most of those searches were conducted by people like me. I’m not saying that the data has no value, just that you have to be very careful how you interpret it. Even an Adwords campaign is unlikely to uncover the true number of ‘real’ searches.

If you’re interested in a decent keyword tool I can highly recommend Wordze. Some great features, and some new stuff in the pipeline that might be of additional interest to Search Marketers this side of the pond I believe…

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  1. Interesting post Richard. I would have to admit that I would part of the count of people searching.

    Notice how I don’t show up on the first 2 pages for those key phrases? I like to watch what everyone else is doing. ;-)

    Comment by Gavin — November 19, 2007 @ 12:58 pm

  2. “And let’s face it – every man (web designer or not) and his dog is now an Irish SEO expert.”

    Couldn’t agree with you more Richard. For better or worse we let people know that, because we feel there is no point promising something you can’t deliver – http://www.atrier.com/blog/services

    Interesting thought: You provide so much good information on this blog, did you ever wonder how many SEO experts you’ve spawned yourself?

    Comment by Brian — November 19, 2007 @ 1:06 pm

  3. @Gavin – I was the same. Never targeted those phrases. Joked with Alastair at Logon.ie that I’d have to take more of an interest.

    @Brian – /shudders/

    Comment by Richard Hearne — November 19, 2007 @ 1:15 pm

  4. Interesting entry. I think there is fair amount of contamination in each statistical data we collect. So we need to apply filter.

    Comment by Sid — November 20, 2007 @ 3:51 am

  5. What filters are you thinking of? A request is a request no matter if it is done by an internet marketing guy or not. It`s a huge problem, especially for domainers.

    Comment by Jab — November 21, 2007 @ 7:39 am

  6. Hi Richard, there must be a lot of interested parties searching for those terms to check rankings more so than people actually looking for internet marketing services etc. I can tell you I’m #1 for ‘internet marketing ireland’ and am very high for a lot of related terms but see only a dribble of traffic through them. The Irish market is just too small.

    Wordze screenshots look good.

    ps. surname is spelt with an ‘a’ not an ‘e’

    Comment by Dave Callan — November 23, 2007 @ 1:41 pm

  7. Fixed that now Dave – sorry.

    Actually the other thing to note is that lots of (if not most) people search for ‘internet marketing’ and ‘online marketing’ on google.ie – so the geographic identifier in the query very often isn’t used.


    Comment by Richard Hearne — November 23, 2007 @ 1:52 pm

  8. I think the important thing to remember here is that it is all relatively accurate. Like comparing alexa stats for two similar sites in the same industry. The trend is what is the important data, not how accurate the numbers are.

    Comment by Dave Davis — November 27, 2007 @ 7:27 pm

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