Keyword Research and Copywriting for Search Success – I

At the SMX East conference in New York City during October 2012, Linear Output’s President and CEO, Olivier Beauchemin attended the sessions of SEO Boot Camp. It was Olivier’s intent to gain a deeper understanding of the workings of current trends in the world of Search Engine Optimization. After attending the basic training courses offered, Olivier decided to revisit the deliverables offered by Linear Output. His observations based upon the conversations and networking in New York have led him to begin a process of fine-tuning customer relations for Linear Output.

The first presentation that Olivier attended was Keyword Research & Copywriting for Search Success. The moderator of the presentation was Debra Mastaler, President of Alliance-Link, a company that aids in the development of website inbound links.

The presenter was Christine Churchill, President of KeyRelevance. The presentation description describes the importance of Key Word Research; and, equally important, how to use the results of your research.

The first step to any successful marketing campaign is to know your message. With search marketing, that means knowing the search terms that are being used by your target audience. And though it sounds obvious, it helps to actually use those words in your web pages! This session covers the importance of textual content to search engines and how with some forethought, you can create HTML title tags and body copy that works to generate search traffic – and also pleases your human visitors.

In the description we read “search terms that are being used by your target audience.” This is the basis of all keyword research: what words do people use when they think of our products and services. As rudimentary as this may sound, the implementation is frequently far from obvious. At Linear Output we frequently work with clients who have their own ideas of what “search terms” the target audience uses when speaking of their products and services.

Chris Churchill

Chris Churchill speaks at
SMX East 2012 on Key Word Research

Although the first step in keyword research is to work with the client and to solicit their assistance in product and service description, it is not the end of the discussion. There are many other sources whose input needs to be considered as well. And, the fact that there are other sources to cross reference is a good thing because, as it so often happens, the source so often least likely to know the “search terms” for their own products is the client himself!

To be clear, the client’s opinion needs to be considered first. But, not last. A conflict may initially present itself if a client is adamant about the “search terms.” Oddly, within a single company, it is sometimes the marketing department that has ongoing dialogue with the customer and is aware of pet terms, nicknames, shortened names and the like which the customer base employs while describing the products and services of the client.

Opposed to this, is the development team and upper management who have a more formal understanding of their products and services and are frequently unwilling to cede their position to their client base.

Fortunately, an SEO – a person who performs Search Engine Marketing & Optimization – has access to outside resources that offer metrics for the “search terms” which are in actual use. An SEO will gather those terms and present them to the client and endeavor to convince the client to use them on the website as well as in off-site search engine marketing.

Christine Churchill presented the above dilemma with elegance and clarity. She offered a number of suggestions which, if implemented, should lead to a resolution of potential conflict caused by an unwarranted adherence to “search terms” that are only in use in the board room. Since this is the starting point of a business relationship with a client, it is essential that there be a meeting of the minds. If not, the SEO will be unable to perform his job effectively and the client will end up with poor results – not a good scenario for either the SEO or the client.

However, since human nature is as it is, there are times when the “search terms” simply cannot be agreed upon regardless of how much documentation or metrics are available. In such an unhappy instance, the only remedy is for the SEO and client to part ways since neither will be happy with the outcome of working together.


  1. Thank you for the great coverage of the Keyword Boot Camp Session at SMX East. My horse Ranger is also flattered that his picture was included in your blog post! 🙂

    I’m glad Olivier enjoyed the session.

    Thanks again,

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