Adam T. Sutton

Beware: SEO Tools Can Skew Your Search Stats

May 7th, 2008

Search marketing tools are great. They provide answers in an industry where answers are scarce. The thing about tools, though, is they are not always accurate–and the tools themselves can make the problem worse.

At least that’s what I got from a conversation with Wil Reynolds, Founder, Seer Interactive. Wil and I discussed some great SEM tools and how to use them (most of them are free). We also touched on some data flaws he sees while researching.

“Sometimes in a tool like WordTracker or Keyword Discovery or the MSN tool, there will be these 5- or 10-word phrases that are reported as being a highly searched term, and you know that isn’t right,” Wil says.

That problem is caused by automated searches. When lots of people use the same tool to analyze similar data (or a few people run the same test over and over), the tool runs the same long-phrase search. So a 10-word phrase can be searched thousands of times, but never more than a handful of times by a real person.

“I would say 15 percent, 20 percent of the time I’m doing keyword research I’m going to find something that I have to just override and say ‘There’s no way that’s true,’ even though the numbers say it is,” Wil says.

So keep your head screwed on right when you’re doing keyword research. Automated tools do not buy products, but they do boost search stats.

Adam T. Sutton

About Adam T. Sutton

Adam T. Sutton, Senior Reporter, MarketingSherpa
Adam generates content for MarketingSherpa's Email and Inbound Marketing newsletters. His years of experience in interviewing marketers and conveying their insights has spanned topics such as search marketing, social media marketing, ecommerce, email and more. Adam previously powered the content behind MarketingSherpa's Search and Consumer-marketing newsletters and carries that experience into his new role. Today, in addition to writing articles, he contributes content to the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa blogs, as well as MECLABS webinars, workshops and summits.

Prior to joining MarketingSherpa, Adam was the Managing Editor at the Mequoda group. There he created content and promotions for the company's daily email newsletter and managed its schedule.

Categories: Research And Measurement, Search Marketing Tags: , , ,

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