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Great free SEO tools from Microsoft, yes Microsoft!

Most often the KEI (Keyword Effectiveness Index) is used as the primary criteria when choosing keywords for a new page or new site.  This isn't the ideal approach if you want to identify the highest converting keywords.  In this article I will explore new tools from Microsoft that can work in conjunction with KEI to identify the very best keywords for your web site.

Free SEO tools from Microsoft

The standard process involves using various tools to figure out what keywords match your market niche, and have a high KEI.  I personally use the professional edition of Web CEO
for this, but the free version will do just as good of a job for you for this task. 
For those of you that do not know, KEI is simply a calculation that indexes keywords based upon daily number of searches (search volume) vs. the total number of search results (competition).  So then keywords with a high KEI are preferential because they yield relatively high traffic and it's theorectically easier to obtain high search engine placement.

Unfortunately this keyword strategy doesn't take two major factors into account.  First, there is no way to know what your prospective demographic will be for a given keyword.  Take for example a company that sells life insurance.  The market demographic is men between the ages of 40 and 75. The search term "cheap insurance" scores extremely well in the KEI index and is easy to work into the website content.  Unfortunately it turns out that 95% of people searching for "cheap insurance" are between the ages of 18-30, and are actually looking for car insurance.

The second issue is the commercial value of a given keyword.  Take for example a company that charges for sales training services.  The search term "free sales tips" scores very well in the KEI index.  The company decides to create a page called "free sales tips" and puts some tips on that page, expecting that the landing page will convert to other services they offer.  Unfortuantely it turns out that virtually nobody looking for "free sales tips" has any intent to pay for the information or training.
The solutions to understanding keyword demographics and commerical value are provided free, believe it or not, by Microsoft.  Head on over to Microsoft adCenter Labs and click on the "Keyword and Content" menu item.

First, choose the "Keyword Forcast" tool.  Type in your top keyword and check out the results.  Not only will you get a nice trend report of traffic volume, but more importantly a breakdown of gender and age demographics.  Can this help with target marketing if your products or services are age/gender specific, you bet it can!  If this keyword doesn't fit your target demographic I would avoid it altogether.

Once you've validated the keyword suits your target demographic, choose the "Detecting Online Commerical Intention" tool.  Type in that same keyword and voila.  The probabilty score is provided as the liklihood the person typing in that search term has intent to purchase products or services.  What this really means is that keywords that score .50 would convert twice as often as keywords that score .25.  As a final step I go ahead and multiply the KEI by this factor to arrive at my final keyword rank.

Used these tools together with KEI you can develop an extremely strong list of keywords for your site.  As always, use all the appropriate techniques for onsite, and offsite search engine optization and you'll be well on your way to having a succesful search engine marketing campaign.
Tag : SEO
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