My name is Ash Nallawalla. I am an enterprise SEO by day and occasional consultant in my spare time. I can be reached through a form on the above site.

Definition of “Lateral keywords”

Lateral keywords are a new way to think of keyword ideas after checking the Google Keyword Planner tool (which still plays its own role).

With the LateralKeywords tool you can examine “significant” keywords that appear in competitor sites, such as the top-10 ranking sites. You can compare your target page with such competitor pages.

The LateralKeywords tool gives you a bucket of extracted keywords, say, 20-30 keywords to consider. You will be delighted with the gems you will see (among some other incidental words that you can ignore).

Refinement of Extracted Keywords

Some of the keywords are “significant” for the wrong reasons. They are simply common words that have been used a few times. Others are brand names. Sometimes there aren’t enough extracted keywords. When this happens, you need to adjust the sliders. Move the default Average TF of 0.505 to, say, 0.51 and run the analysis again. Also play with the Competitor TF values but only move one slider at a time until you get a satisfactory number of keywords.

Inspiration for this Tool

Eric Enge published an informative article on TF-IDF in Moz. He wrote a follow-up article. There was a link to a spreadsheet, but not all the formulas were shared, so I had to concoct a similar spreadsheet. See my presentation below from Pubcon, October 2015 for details of the formulas used.

The spreadsheet was a very slow way of collecting the data (using third-party web tools to extract the tuples) and it could take several hours per analysis of a single keyword.

My friend Vikas kindly offered to build the tool based on the spreadsheet, so it is hosted on his server in India and appears here in an iframe. I did not get value on the IDF portion of the TF-IDF formula for this purpose, so this tool only exploits the TF.

Now, you can analyse a keyword in about a minute!

Examples of Usage

A page about life insurance was compared to well-ranking pages and one of the major findings was that it had all the usual keywords about the product, but it missed the customer context. A product will sell better when it seems relevant to the customer’s needs. In this case, the typical customer cares about their family, but the target page did not mention the word “family” or any related phrase. Life insurance benefits one’s family. Eureka moment!

A university was researching a keyword, “Bachelor of Business” and this tool was able to point out that their page did not contain some important words, such as “electives”, “credit points”, “”, “program code”, “score” and so on. The page author might have assumed that other pages would contain information such as the campus location, but certain words are worth repeating on each page.

What LateralKeywords Is Not

LateralKeywords does not access any search engine and does not purport to reverse-engineer any search algorithms. It takes the supplied URLs, fetches those pages and gives you a keyword analysis. Using the significant keywords might not necessarily improve your ranking, but might be one small step in that direction.