“In this changed world the keyword reigns supreme”.
I just felt like saying that. It sounds like a potentially meaningful and fashionable thing to say. It seems like you can really put your finger on the pulse of what’s going on if you knew what words/terms are being searched on a lot.
You also need to have an idea as to what keywords are being searched for if you’re interested in optimizing your site for the search engines. This information is also crucial if you are going to put together an effective paid search SEM campaign (which, in fact, is what I do for a living). There are a few free resources that can turn to for this; try Google Trends for a 3 year comparison of search terms complete with flags for significant events that might have affected them. You could also look at the media-oriented Yahoo Buzz Index for some entertaining trends.
What you might not know, though, is that Yahoo (or Overture as it used to be called) actually makes available search volume statistics that can be really useful guides for optimizing your site and putting together your SEM campaign. Good Keywords is a small free program that will pull down these keyword search stats through the Yahoo/Overture API. It will also allow you to do some nifty stuff with the results.
The main functionality is, of course, looking up keyword permutations; e.g. a search for ‘freeware’ at the time of this writing will show that that term is searched on 63977 times/month, followed by ‘freeware game’ and ‘freeware downloads’ (at 10439 and 7516 searches/month respectively), etc. (see screenshot above). Note that the result set will conform to Yahoo’s peculiar translation of a search term. “Freeware” and “website”, for example, reformulated as “free ware” and “web site”; plurals will be reverted back into singulars, and some words will be filtered out altogether (“how do I download freeware” will be turned into “download free ware”, with the first three words taken out).
Good Keywords will also look up misspellings of keywords for you. This is often very useful as these might be searched on a lot and significantly less expensive than the correctly spelled counterparts. It will also allow you to create your own groups of keywords from any number of keyterm search results. Further, there are a couple of really good functionalities that add a lot of value; the ‘Webpage Explorer’ function will scan a webpage and output the various one-word and two-word terms found within it as well as the frequency of these. There is also a ‘Keyword Phrase Builder’ that can help construct keyword lists by cross-joining up to 3 lists of terms (check out the following screenshot for a small example of this). Finally, Good Keywords will allow you to enter multiple websites and check for the Alexa popularity ranking for these.
All in all this is a very useful tool. It doesn’t do anything spectacular but what it does do it does well. The only real drawback in my opinion is simply that Yahoo’s data is often not the best buidling blocks you could use when you’re building something for Google, and the different permutations of the same term, as well as search frequency, are often very different for the two search engines. This issue, however, is obviously not something that the makers of Good Keywords can do anything about (Google, in contrast to Yahoo, does not transparently make search volume data available in the same way Yahoo does).
At first I was going to give this software 4 stars not 5, just because there are other more powerful resources out there for SEM/SEO, and after installing this a while back I find I really don’t use it as often as often as I thought I would. However, given that the resources I am referring to are not cheap and this software is totally free I think 5 stars are definitely in order.