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Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI)

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An updated guide to working with Wordtracker's KEI metrics

KEI (keyword effectiveness index) is one of the quickest ways to find keywords that show potential - that is, those keywords which are likely to help your site attract more traffic. It looks a bit like this:

It's a scaled metric, so you'll never see a KEI of more than 100.

It's important to look at the numbers as relative values inside a niche - what might be a good KEI for one niche may prove not to be so useful inside another niche. So, look at the relationships between the figures in this column rather than reading too much into the numbers.

So how do we use KEI? Well, there are two ways we can find helpful figures - we're looking for a high KEI as these are the keywords that show potential. The first thing to do is to sort the column by KEI just by clicking the column header. We can see the highest ones at the top of the list instantly, so look for the keywords that are relevant to your business. I've taken this screenshot from a 'chocolate cake' niche in one of my campaigns.

how to sort by KEI

The second way you can narrow down your list according to KEI (if you're familiar with the market you're targeting and have a rough idea around search behaviour in that niche) is to use the filters on the right to exclude keywords with a KEI below a certain figure - you'll probably get more of a feel of what to exclude the more you work with a niche.

how to filter by KEI

As we see in this screenshot, I've filtered the list to only show those keywords which have a higher KEI than 60 - and of the 2,000 keywords in the list, we can see that there are 44 keywords which achieve this. Sixty might not be the best number for you to use, particularly if you're working in a very competitive market, but as part of your keyword research, it's worth looking at keywords with varying KEIs to see where to draw the line between keywords you want to target, and those you feel are too competitive to approach right now.

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About Mal Darwen

Mal Darwen joined Wordtracker in 2008 as part of the Customer Service team, and now as well as running webinars in SEO and how to use the toolset is Product Manager. In the five years since starting with Wordtracker, Mal has also spoken about SEO and keywords at conferences, and has a healthy hand in Wordtracker's tweeting.

When not Wordtracking Mal plays with a band called Praying for the Rain. He also plays guitars and basses with a number of other UK and International artists. He lives in London with his family and two slightly insecure cats.