I’m a movie geek. I like the classics, I like arty flicks, and I like zombie movies. But one of my all-time favorites is Chinatown. It’s perfect fiction, perfect storytelling, and amazing cinematic atmosphere. Jake is a the original ‘persistent nebbish P.I.’ who gets into something pretty twisted. If I wasn’t doing SEO for a living, I would seriously consider being a private investigator.
I can’t complain too much. Keyword research is fun. It’s the closest to private investigator I’ll ever get, and with so many avenues, the challenge never goes away. Finding that one special keyword/keyphrase that kicks the barn doors open is pure joy. Planting it and letting it sprout into other traffic strains is even more fun. I may not get to put a cheap stopwatch under a tire, but I do get to scout scout (or eavesdrop?) in social networks to learn what people are saying. Some of my greatest keywords have come from this “investigation”.
Here’s my favorite moves:
- Analytics – Analytics is so much more valuable than most companies know. It’s more than just recording data and providing reports. It’s an absolute goldmine of insight, and is my number one starting point for most creative SEO excursions. In this case, tracking your inbound links from social networks, and really getting into the traffic-sending conversations, can be a major eye-opener. Don’t be afraid to jump in and stimulate replies.
- Social Alerter – A great new program, Social Alerter, does for a few social properties as Google Alerts does for the whole web. For Digg, Del.Icio.Us, Mixx, and Propeller comments and posts, this tool works nicely.
- Google Alerts – Speaking of Google Alerts, it’s a classic tool to track site / brand messages. Look for some keywords (or inspiration) with this.
- Tweet Volume – If you have some keywords that could be unique, and want to see how they are passed around int Twitter, try Tweet Volume.
Also, just searching and browsing in social networks for your brand or topic, and paying special attention to the tags as inspiration, will do more than just collect keywords. It will help you collect opinions, get inspired, and really connect with your visitors/customers, so you don’t get your nose cut.