Search Engine Optimization

Keyword Research

Keyword research is one of the most important, valuable, and high-return activities in the search engine marketing field. Design Cyborg does the detective work of dissecting your market’s keyword demand. We discover not only which terms and phrases to target with SEO, but also more about your customers as a whole. With keyword research Design Cyborg predicts shifts in demand, respond to changing market conditions, and produce the products, services, and content that your clients are already actively seeking. Every search phrase that’s typed into an engine is recorded in one way or another, Design Cyborg's keyword research tools allow us to retrieve this information.

We think strategically

Keyword research tools provide valuable insight into the thinking of your potential customers. When users go to search engines and type out your company's search query they may use language that is entirely different from what you expect. Even if your product or service provides a solution they can use they may start with their problem. Someone with cancer might simply type in cancer in the search box. Then their next search might be cancer treatment or relief for cancer symptoms.

Searchers often go through a progression where they try certain searches, check out some sites, refine their searches, and repeat this process until they finally find what they want. Design Cyborg takes the time to understand typical search sequences as one technique that impacts your keyword strategy. Other elements that influence search behavior include searcher demographics (male/female, age, income, etc.), geographical location, and time of year. Seasonal products such as holiday shopping, for example, go through sharp peaks in volume during the time preceding December 25th, and then decline rapidly once the season is past. The keyword research tools used by Design Cyborg provide us with methods to investigate all of these factors. We take the time to go beyond the surface and use the tools to learn how your customer thinks, get your website in alignment with their search, and then build your web site strategy and your product strategy around this information.

Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS)

In the search marketing field, the pages the engines return to fulfill a query are referred to as search engine results pages (SERPs). Each engine returns results in a slightly different format and these may include vertical results.

 The various sections outlined in the Google search results are as follows:

  1. Search query box
  2. Vertical navigation
  3. Results information
  4. PPC Advertising
  5. Google Product Search Results
  6. Natural/organic/algorithmic results


Even though Yahoo! no longer does its own crawl of the web, or provides its own search results information (it sources them from Bing), it does format the output differently.

Search query box

All of the engines show the query you’ve performed and allow you to edit or reenter a new query from the search results page. If you begin typing, you may notice that Google gives you a list of suggested searches below. This is the Google autocomplete suggestions feature, and it can be incredibly useful for targeting keywords. Next to the search query box, the engines also offer links to the advanced search page, the features of which we’ll discuss later in the book. In addition, you will also see a microphone icon in the right of the search box that allows you to speak your query. In Google image search, this shows up as a camera icon that allows you to upload an image or get similar images back

Results information

This section provides a small amount of meta information about the results that you’re viewing,including an estimate of the number of pages relevant to that particular query (these numbers can be, and frequently are, wildly inaccurate and should be used only as a rough comparative measure). PPC (a.k.a. paid search) advertising The text ads are purchased by companies that use either Google AdWords or Bing. The results are ordered by a variety of factors, including relevance (for which click-through rate, use of searched keywords in the ad, and relevance of the landing page are factors in Google) and bid amount (the ads require a maximum bid, which is then compared against other advertisers’ bids).

Natural/organic/algorithmic results

These results are pulled from the search engines’ primary indices of the Web and ranked in order of relevance and importance according to their complex algorithms. This area of the results is the primary focus of this section of the book.

Query refinement suggestions

Query refinements are offered by Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. The goal of these links is to let users search with a more specific and possibly more relevant query that will satisfy their intent. In March 2009, Google enhanced the refinements by implementing Orion Technology, based on technology Google acquired in 2006. The goal of this enhancement is to provide a wider array of refinement choices.

Navigation to more advertising

Only Yahoo! shows this in the search results. Clicking on these links will bring you to additional paid search results related to the original query. Be aware that the SERPs are always changing as the engines test new formats and layouts.

How Vertical Results Fit into the SERPs

These “standard” results, however, are certainly not all that the engines have to offer. For many types of queries, search engines show vertical results, or instant answers, and include more than just links to other sites to help answer a user’s questions. These types of results present many additional challenges and opportunities for the SEO practitioner. This result attempts to provide the user with the answer he is seeking directly in the search results.

Page Rank

Page Rank is Google's way of giving a specific value to how popular your website is. It is based on the number of "votes" other websites cast for your website. A "vote" is simply when another website places a link on their website that is pointing to your website. Generally, the more "votes" or links you have pointing to your website, the higher your Page Rank (PR) will be. Page Rank is 1 of the many factors that Google takes into account when ranking websites.

Note: If the top 5 websites for a specific keyword have a Google Page Rank of 6 or higher, it's probably not best to shoot for that keyword until we build some momentum and get some initial traffic from the easier ranking keywords with less competition.