A fundamental research and gathering information has to be the first thing on your to-do-list in any search engine marketing project. You need to know the field you are playing in. At this early stage of a SEM project, I don´t need to setup a Google account or use fancy, costly software. In this way, I am consciously setting myself limits and therefore don´t end up scattered by too many details, too many numbers at this first stage of the decision-making process. The tool I will use the most is: creativity and common sense. Which means: I gather as much details I need to get to fundamental conclusions, then act quickly on those and adjust later if necessary. Let´s try an imaginary ecommerce project for the guitar player Buckethead as an example, and let´s see with what ideas I come up with.

A first quick research for Search Engine Marketing, by using Google Trends.

I like to peek into Google trends, mainly because it´s fun to analyse the graphs. And in this case, you can see that there was a big spike in the curve in 2008 at the time of the last LP release with the band, we do not talk about. Plus it is obvious that the other two terms #bucketheadland #bucketheadpikes, which are established terms by the musician, are too much targeted towards insider fans and therefore not broad enough for this SEM project. The first decision is: Let´s go with #buckethead as the best option for keyword number one.

The autosuggest function of Google is a way to find additional keywords.

If you type a word into the search box, Google will automatically complete common questions or will suggest additional words for a search. I use this to get ideas about what keywords to choose next and what people might be interested in. In my example with #buckethead Google is suggesting these: website, merch, instagram, store or video to refine the search result and I was intrigued by the word #official, because it made sense to me. Especcially, if you set up a web shop, where you can buy directly from the artist and not through a label or reseller. But I changed my mind and went with an even more suitable option for this case, which is the word #store.

SEM – simply checking the number of search results, is a common approach.

Just to make sure, I am checking if there is a difference in the use of the terms #shop or #store. Since there is no significant discrepancy, both are good to use.

merch store … 217.000.000 results
merch shop … 270.000.000 results

I do the same procedure with the words #store and #merch and the numbers for search results looks like the following.

buckethead official merch … 319.000 results
buckethead official store … 1.220.000 results

My final conclusion looks like the following. I would start to set up a web project, maybe a landing page, before the store setup, on the base of the following main keywords: #buckethead #store. And sprinkle in the additional words #merch and #official to round off the optimizing of the index page. As domain address, I would go for these two options www.buckethead-store.com and www.buckethead.store and actually advise to get both, because for an online store it´s always good to have a backup. Just in case.

In the next blog article, you can read more about how to implement this results.