Keywords, phrases and topics are at the heart of search engine marketing. In a sense, words are the backbone of the Internet because without them, websites wouldn’t likely exist. Every website is built on “keywords” and topics.
Hence, the need for keyword tools for research.
Picking key phrases and topics for your website and even social media profiles is therefore of utmost importance. However, you have to understand how this is all changing with the advent of semantic and conversational search.
Before the Internet, we relied heavily on libraries, books, newspapers, TV news, and the Yellow Pages for information about companies. The search engines changed all of that by indexing a large portion of human knowledge and they are getting smarter at understanding the meaning of what users are searching for.
Let’s look back at the various keyword tools that were developed to help us select the right words and topics for our websites, in order to make our content stand out amongst the vast online ocean.
Keywords Evolution Timeline Tools
The First Popular Keyword Research Tool
I spoke with some of the most successful marketers online, who have been utilizing various keyword tools way before they were cool.
John McDougall, who was a former client and founder of authoritymarketing.com and McDougall Interactive, who has been doing search engine marketing since the 1990s, walked me through some of the early keyword research tools:
The first popular keyword tool that I can remember is Wordtracker. Back in the day, we gave it a real workout and put it to daily use. Then we switched to Keyword Discovery and my first employee John Maher loved it because he could save folders for each client when doing keyword research.
Eventually clients started to complain that they felt the numbers were inaccurate and we looked into the way they were compiling data. It turned out that Wordtracker relied on metacrawler.com and dogpile.com to get their data and then did some math to estimate search volumes. It wasn’t until we started doing Yahoo! paid search and later picking keywords with the Google keyword tool that we realized we preferred data directly from the search engines. I do still have a soft spot in my heart for Wordtracker for being a pioneer.