Using Yahoo! Clues For PPC Keyword Research

Even though Yahoo Search Marketing is dead and gone, apparently Yahoo is not quite done developing toys for us PPC managers to play with. This week, they released a new, free keyword research tool called Yahoo! Clues. Although there’s certainly no lack of free PPC keyword tools out there, this one presents several features that you won’t find on other sites.

The thing that has impressed me most about Yahoo! Clues is the wealth of demographic data they’re offering up. Just about every keyword tool (including this one) gives you search volume – there’s nothing new there. But I haven’t seen a free tool before that offers a breakdown of gender, income, and location for each keyword. And, yes, I am aware that I’ve ranted before about how web demographics are overrated, but this can at least give you a jumping-off point if you’re trying to find specific audiences to target with certain keywords. The map overlay is especially helpful – it’s a lot easier to get accurate demographic location on a user’s location than it is to get income, gender, or other metrics that rely on self-reporting.

Another cool feature is the search flow box at the bottom of the page. Here, you can tell search queries that people used before and after they used the one you’re researching. This is not only helpful to find additional keywords to bid on, but should also give you insights into the customer’s buying and research process. The related keywords below the search flow is also a great indicator of other keywords you should bid on.

For all it’s good qualities, this tool is still severely limited, though. Even though you can get information on Yahoo! Clues you won’t get anywhere else, there’s still not a whole lot of data here apart from some vague trending information and the demographic breakdowns. Also, this tool only looks at data from Yahoo’s own search efforts, so the keyword research you get will probably only be accurate for the traffic in your MSN AdCenter account that comes from Yahoo. But still, there’s enough information here for a savvy keyword researcher to find some jumping-off points for more thorough research and experiments.

This tool is best used in conjunction with other tools such as the Google Keyword Tool and the Wordstream keyword tool. None of these three is going to give you a complete picture of the entire PPC space, but if you use information from all of your available resources (including your own imagination), you should be able to find a lot of opportunities for keyword coverage that you didn’t know you had.

About Shawn Livengood

Shawn Livengood is a search engine marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He has extensive experience managing pay-per-click ad campaigns for clients in various industries, from small home-based businesses to large international companies. You can connect with Shawn on Google+.
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