I had a great conversation at SMX Local with Mark Barrera of Franklin-Spirko , a SEO/PR firm in Frisco, TX, on the topic of what I call “Keyword Expansion” – the art of coming up with new keywords that you can use to attract qualified search traffic that you didn’t have in your original business plan.

Mark told me about a pharma client that sold medicine to diabetics that helped heal open wounds that are common to the disease. They were targeting keywords such as “ankle wounds” and “arm wounds” which I guess are the most common types. While looking at the client’s referral logs, Mark noticed that there were a number of searches for “oral wounds” and “mouth wounds”. The company started marketing the same product in a new package designed to appeal to people with mouth wounds and they suddenly had a new line of business that generated a lot of qualified search traffic and more sales with very little investment.

I have seen this happen over and over again with clients. Often times the client does not grasp the idea of creating a product just because they have a natural ability to rank for a certain keyword. The smart ones understand that keywords=customers and jump in before their competition does.

As the headline of this post says, keywords from your search and referral logs are a great source of R&D. Often times smart use of keywords can decrease the time to market and improve the ROI on new products.  So if you don’t have analytics software tracking referrals to your website (e.g. Mint, Google Analytics, etc.), get it up today and put your R&D hat on.

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3 Response Comments

  • linkdan  July 1, 2008 at 1:55 am

    I like your point about creating a product that you can rank for, as most people deal with it the other way around.

    As a musician, I proposed a similar idea on linkdisco.com for new music groups – as a promotional aid for your band’s website, why not name your band after a high-traffic keyword that has little competition? After all, lots of search terms would make very interesting band names…

  • Andrew Shotland  July 1, 2008 at 8:06 am

    LD, don’t be surprised if we start seeing a lot of bands with names like “DUI Attorney” and “Herbal Viagra”. 🙂

  • Marty  July 1, 2008 at 9:06 am

    We know what people search for, how often and with what keyword permutations…we can guess the others.

    It’s easy to mine buzz pockets and find out what folks are chittering about in the social medias.

    Our options are:

    1 Be advised by such research
    2 Do whatever the hell we think is cool and ignore it.

    Ummmm….ummmmm. 🙂 Great post Andrew.