Keyword research tools for social media sites

I was asked recently if there are any keyword research tools besides Google’s free keyword tool for specific social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Especially if you’re marketing your brand on these sites, it’s useful to research what keyword searches are specific to each site.

YouTube

Since YouTube is a Google-owned property, Google has reworked their keyword tool to be specific for YouTube searches. If you’re optimising your video for popular searches on the site, use the YouTube keyword suggestion tool.

Facebook

If you want to access Facebook demographic and keyword statistics, the bad news is you’ll have to have a Facebook Page up and running to access Facebook Insights, the site’s internal analytics tool. If you don’t have a Facebook Page yet, you can still use Facebook’s newly-revamped internal search tool with drop-down suggestions to find out what your target market is searching for.

Twitter

Although Twitter doesn’t have an internal keyword research tool like Google or YouTube, you can still see what’s trending on the site as a whole via the “Trending Topics” links beneath the search bar on Twitter’s internal search page. You can also click the “Advanced Search” link alongside the search box to find tweets related to a specific keyword. In terms of external sites, Hashtags.org is a good way of finding popular hashtags, or current themes for tweets.

Overall, it’s worth noting that search trends on Twitter are likely to be more current than searches on Google, which are likely to be more evergreen. Also, if something’s searched for on Google, it’s likely to also be popular on a site like Facebook and Twitter.

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Google’s May Day Update

After much debate about it by SEOs on forums like Webmasterworld, Google’s Matt Cutts has finally gone on record about what is being dubbed their “MayDay” search algorithm update. In a nutshell, this update affects results for long tail queries – in other words, those search phrases that have  four, five or more words in them. For these queries, Google is ranking “higher quality” sites (or pages) for those queries – in other words, pages that have unique content on them and great inbound links. The results are that many websites that were receiving long tail traffic to pages that weren’t particularly high quality are now suffering.

So what’s a webmaster to do?

Search Engine Land’s Vanessa Fox suggests that you look at the pages ranking highly for long tail phrases now and see if you can emulate what they’re doing. She also makes a really valid point that with Google making around 550 changes to its algorithm in 2009, its a bad use of your time to be reactive to every change. I agree. The best long term strategy is to make sure you’re providing what Google is looking for overall for its users – i.e. relevant, useful, on-topic pages that contain great content.