Keyword & Market Research with Yahoo Clues

by Ruud Hein December 15th, 2010 

Yahoo Clues (Beta) is like Google Insights on steroids … but with one semi-serious limitation: data doesn’t span more than the past 30 days.

Yahoo Clues landing page

When you arrive at Yahoo Clues you’ll shortly see an empty screen but Yahoo is quick to auto-populate it with the term fantasy football.

I’m going with the term “christmas songs”, with the timeline set at the default past 30 days (other options are past 7 days and today).

This is where it gets interesting.

Yahoo Clues

1. SEARCHES OVER TIME

Yahoo Clues searches over time

By itself the least interesting information on the page.

As with Google Insights, search volume is described on a relative scale from 0 to 100. The relation of the scale is to time; in this case the past 30 days.

To make this kind of information useful you need to have some absolute numbers in mind to compare these relative numbers with. If you have a pretty good idea that the search “blue widgets” is done about 100 thousand times per month then you can compare both the term to be researched and that one and have a relative-to-absolute correlation point.

Yahoo Clues searches over time comparison

Here is such a comparison.

Where Google Insights can compare up to 5 terms, Yahoo Clues does a maximum of 2. Given the amount of data they need to put on the page that makes sense.

A comparison like the one above helps you get a feel for your direction. “Christmas songs” does better than "Christmas music”.

2. DEMOGRAPHICS

Yahoo Clues demographics

Includes everything and the kitchen sink Smile Click on one of the segments to get extra query details presented in a natural language format.

Demographics displays both gender & age by default but you can zoom in on either.

Yahoo Clues demographics by age

Yahoo Clues demographics by gender

The value of the market research is again in comparing.

Yahoo Clues demographics by gender

Who are you targeting with this keyword? Who is your web site or this specific landing page for? Who is the product aimed at? The demographics age/gender view allows you to zoom into your market segment very easily.

3. INCOME

Yahoo Clues income

Search audience divided by income segments.

Yahoo! Clues calculates this category using anonymous aggregated zip code information from Yahoo! Search matched against per capita income data from the US Census Bureau.
Yahoo Clues Help

Again, click on each segment to get some extra details delivered in a natural language format.

If you’ve followed along we’ve already learned that our main audience is between 25-54, female, and with a yearly income of up to $25K.

Yahoo Clues income compared

Comparing by income we don’t see a big difference between christmas songs and christmas music: the few % difference between 25k and 25-70k is not statistically significant enough.

On the other hand, let’s say we would compare christmas songs with christmas concert:

Yahoo Clues income compared

Offsetting search volume against income bracket can help improve your profit margins.

4. LOCATION

Yahoo Clues location

US only.

To avoid the most populated states always claiming top spots, Yahoo! Clues factors out relative population differences between states and shows a ranked list of the top 10
Yahoo Clues Help

Note that all data is in relation to the search: not in relation to searches to each other.

Compared to christmas music we see very little difference but comparing christmas songs with christmas concert brings up huge differences.

Yahoo Clues location compared

5. SEARCH FLOW

Yahoo Clues search flow

This section provides a list of the most probable previous and next user searches from an analysis of aggregated search patterns across Yahoo! Search. The top item under "Previous Queries" represents the most probable search term people tried before your search term. Similarly, the top item under "Next Queries" represents the most probable search term people tried after your search term.
Yahoo Clues Help

One of my favorite views. We’ve seen this data before in Yahoo’s search interface.

Yahoo search

Having it laid out in previous queriescurrent querynext queries is a unique view however and gives great insight in the search funnel. Dpending on how specific a keyword you’re researching you can get a good insight in query repair here.

6. RELATED SEARCHES

Yahoo Clues related searches

Seen that too in Yahoo (and elsewhere). The kitchen sink aspect of the page, I guess. Nice anyway Smile

This section provides a list of the most common related search terms across Yahoo! Search and is not limited to the user search patterns displayed in "Search Flow"
Yahoo Clues Help

7. BONUS: POPULAR SEARCHES

Yahoo Clues popular searches

By today, past 7 days or past 30 days. (Milli Vanilli? What is this; the 1980’s?!)

YAHOO CLUES & GOOGLE INSIGHTS COMPARED

  Yahoo Clues Google Insights
Search Volume checkmark-green checkmark-green
Compare Searches ~ 2 ~ 5
Time Range past 30 days max. 2004 ~ present
Demographics Age, Gender, Income -
Location US only world wide
Search Flow checkmark-green -
Related Searches checkmark-green checkmark-green
Filter - web, image, news, product, country, time period, category

Obviously there is no need to choose and the two tools can live together to complement each other. Together they create a wonderful keyword and marketing research feature set.

Going feature by feature, Yahoo Clues vs. Google Insights, I must say that Yahoo Clues provides more valuable market insight. The demographics and income data is priceless; it can really help to home in on a market. For your own segments you should definitely go back every 30 days to repeat your search(es) and scrape that data into your marketing files.

Google Insights on the other hand is nicer to get a long term view on search trends: whether a search is going up or down over the years vs. just the past 30 days.

I have to pick a winner, you say? OK, if I can only use 1 then I’m going with Yahoo Clues: in the end it has a more inclusive, allround marketing & keyword research feature set than Google Insights would … as the only tool one would be allowed to use.

Which do you prefer: Google Insights or Yahoo Clues?

Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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3 Responses to “Keyword & Market Research with Yahoo Clues”

  1. Robert says:

    What a great tool from Yahoo very insightful especially the ability to look more into the demographics. I can only hope that Yahoo! Clues will eventually provide results for the UK

  2. Kris S says:

    Very insightful tool! Considering that Yahoo! and Bing together only make up about 10% of the search market (compared to Googles 85%+) – I wonder how accurately the Yahoo! sample represents the general populations?

    Cheers,
    Kris

    • Ruud Hein says:

      Good point, Kris. I think it's a case of the law of big numbers. If they'd only have 10% of North American traffic we're still talking about 26 million people. That's a pretty decent sample size.