When broken down to the basics, search engine optimization (SEO) is simply:
- Review data
- Implement best practices
Now what sets one SEO campaign above another is the accuracy and availability of quality data. Best practices in SEO can be found freely on the Internet. However how those best practices are implemented, monitored and organized on a large scale, feeds directly back into having quality data.
Quality SEO data includes:
- Phrase selection by search volume, competition level, and conversion rate.
- Ranking trends on the major search engines
- Site usage through analytics
- Competition monitoring
As you can see it all starts with phrase selection. You can’t optimize anything without first knowing which phrases to target.
When brainstorming phrase ideas the tool of choice in the SEO world is the Google Adwords keyword tool. While likely not very accurate, it is about the best insight we have today for search volume trends.
The Google Adwords keyword tool provides valuable insight on
- Relative phrase search volume
- Related phrases
- Competition level in Adwords
Where the tool falls short is in the long tail.