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Keyword research is one of the most tempting parts of a search engine optimisation campaign to outsource.
My advice to UK SEO consultants and webmasters is to be very careful.
In the past we have outsourced a lot of keyword research but over the last year it has all been moved back in-house. Why?
Because the UK market is so Google-focused it is hard for keyword research firms to get the right results.
Most keyword research tools use Overture (Yahoo) or Wordtracker to some extent.
Yahoo has about a 3% market share in the UK compared to Google's 90% so the results are bound to be easily skewed by just a small number of searches.
Wordtracker uses data from the Dogpile and Metacrawler engines in the US along with a small sample of ISP data from the UK to come up with its data.
To create accurate UK data from a small ISP sample is almost impossible.
The only viable method of carrying out keyword research in the UK is to leverage Google's PPC tools and a bit of common sense.
Using the excellent traffic estimator tells me the traffic that will arrive at a site for any keyword.
This tool assumes a CTR of 5% so it is then quite easy to work out the total search volume for any term.
Google again has the lead when it comes to generating keyword ideas.
Try the external Adwords keyword tool to find your keywords and then plug them into the traffic estimator above and you have the most accurate UK keyword data available.