Liana "Li" Evans (KeyRelevance.com) - Keyword research is foundation to both PPC & SEO, without it companies coming onto the internet and doing online marketing are driving blind. Research gives you insight into popularity, opportunities and what drives quality traffic.
Popularity is overrated. Popular keywords can drive traffic, but not necessarily quality. Marketers need to determine what their goals and conversions are before setting off on campaigns, know what your goals are helps to choose the right keywords to drive success for a website. Popularity can be highly overrated, it can drive a lot of traffic, but is it relevant - does it accomplish your goals.
Brainstorm for keywords, get people in a room, just coming up with keywords, don't be judgmental and don't "fall in love" with keywords. If keywords don't work, change them! Don't forget misspellings, synonyms, abbreviations, and jargon. Remember to speak the language your audience speaks.
Nico Brooks (Local Matters) - Finding vs. Searching. Understanding how people are finding you is important to successfully marketing online.
Search query log data (web analytics data) is a treasure trove of information. Tools like Hitwise, Comscore, your search engine logs and the leaked AOL data also give insight into what is driving traffic to your site as well as your competitors.
Analyzed the AOL data, found that 22.4% of the queries had local modifiers. Which indicates that searchers are refining their searches to find specific things near them. Modifiers included: zip codes, city names, county names, state names, streets (etc.). These are all indicative of searchers looking for local information when attached to a common keyword.
Andrew Shotland (Loc@alSEOGuide) - Keyword Expansion
Most companies have a narrow set of keywords. The key to expanding this is to have variations on these keywords. Vary the title tag - example "City Name Plumbers | A Quality 24 Hour Emergency Plumbing Company". Another key is content, use it to vary these keywords.
Alternative navigation paths seem to be very effective, as well (Yelp uses these effectively). Micro communities and tag pages work great. Targeted backlinks, make sure you are using your keywords and their variations.
Matt Van Wagner (Find Me Faster)- Matt has 3 case studies.
Patisserie Blue - local bakery which has an all local search audience. Target audience is really the foot traffic. Narrowed down their keywords, but didn't bother with zip codes. Used city names, vicinity names, landmark names with much success, also used the words "near" "area" "west" (directional words), and county names. Tracking was a challenge. Used free listings from Google, Yahoo and MSN local services. Had to be careful old postal abbreviations.
Bebop - children's clothing shop, wanted to win the local market in online marketing. Focused on community building around "new mothers". If they focused on national they would've gone broke. Found local success, also found a new demographic "Crazy Grand mothers"
Granite State Opera - goal was to fill seats. Opera - to broad and no one thought of it with New Hampshire. Keyword list with geo-targeting didn't work well, but what did work well was contextual ads on local news sites, specialty websites, newspapers, and specialty music sites. Also bought ads for newspaper and radio through Google - it was a bargain.