Keyword Selection – Overture vs. Wordtracker?

“Why are the Overture figure and Wordtracker always so different? Good question!” Jim Williams Managing Director JU2

Selecting effective keywords is vital to any search engine optimization campaign. Finding keywords that are going to be effective in attracting the right visitors to your website is a matter of trying to put yourself in the minds of your potential customers. How do you find out what search queries your customers use to search for your products or services? Well, you can ask your customers directly, but properly designed market research doesn’t come cheap. You can view your website statistics, although this only tells you the phrases used by visitors who have already successfully found your website. It tells you nothing about the hordes of potential customers who gave up or went with one of your competitors. What other tools do you have at your disposal?

Most search engine optimization professionals trust Overture’s keyword analysis tool and Wordtracker. If you enter “pool” into Overture, you get 46,239 searches for January 2006. Compare this to Wordtracker, which returns 1,914 searches. Why the disparity? To understand this, you need to understand how Overture and Wordtracker arrive at these numbers.

Overture’s keyword analysis tool is designed to help advertisers choose effective keywords as part of a Yahoo Search Marketing pay-per-click advertising campaign. Gives you the total number of times a search query was entered into a search engine within the Overture network in the previous calendar month and includes searches from Yahoo! Search, AltaVista and MSN, as well as others. On the other hand, Wordtracker gets its number from entries made in Metacrawler and Dogpile, metasearch engines that query all major engines simultaneously.

Also due to the way Overture provides search results to its partners, a single search often generates multiple queries. In addition to this, Overture combines plural, singular, case-sensitive searches, where the queries can have completely different meanings. While searches can also be inflated by automated queries using tools like automated bid optimizers, search engine ranking monitors, and some web analytics packages, to name just a few.

How can you minimize the effect of duplicates and automated queries? Do what Wordtracker does and go to metasearch. Metacrawler and Dogpile have a much higher ratio of human to automated queries because there is little value in targeting automated bots. Automated bid optimizers and search engine ranking monitors are usually carried out directly on search engines. Additionally, duplicate searches are eliminated because query counts are tabulated from a single source instead of combining results from a network of partners. Unfortunately, even though the combined market share of Dogpile and Metacrawler in January 2006 was less than 0.75% and they are considered niche search engines whose users tend to be much more technically savvy than the average Yahoo user, can you guess that Dogpile searches are similar to Yahoo’s? ? Probably not!

Which is the answer? As long as you understand that Overture and Wordtracker are measuring different things, both tools are invaluable aids in selecting effective keywords for your search engine optimization campaign.

For more information on keyword research and selection, contact Jim Williams at, call 0845 890 8855 or keep an eye on our blog at [].

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