This is going to be a lightweight post about Node.js. No coding. Nothing hardcore. Just a little fun tour in the world of Google and the Node.js ecosystem.
Personal intro to Node.js
It was back in September 2014 when Gergely and Peter, two founders of RisingStack told me that they would be starting a Node.js consulting company. I have know them for a while then so I decided to help them out with my XP, which was in online marketing. (FYI: I am running a hungarian blog on Online Marketing, mostly writing about SEO and Growth Hacking, but I also work with international clients in English.)
This is how the conversation pretty much looked like:
Gergely & Peter: We are going to launch a Node.js consulting company. Can you help us with some of the online marketing?
Me (Gabor): Cool. Sure. But what the hell is Node.js?
This is how it all started. Even though I had no idea what Node.js was we came up with a deal which was pretty straight forward.
- Rank RisingStack in the top 10 on Google for the keyword: "Node.js consulting".
I knew that it would take about 3 months to achieve this. But to get there, I had to dig a little deeper. I needed to understand what Node.js was. So I turned to my best friend, to Google.
Getting to know Node.js
First I turned to Wikipedia and looked for Node.js: wikipedia.org/wiki/Node.js. The initial release dates back to 2009, so I knew that pretty much everything that was generated about Node.js (releases, articles, presentations, etc) had to be covered by the search engines. The quest was on. I just had to follow the online marketing / SEO protocol to find out things about the technology even though I didn't understand any of the code written in Node.js.
There are many tools out there you can use to check keywords, understand topics and analyze trends. Here are some I used and the actual workflow.
If you search "Node.js" on Google Trends here's what you get
Interest over time
Regional Interest (Region)
Regional Interest (City)
Regional Interest Map (City)
Top Related Search Queries
Rising Related Search Queries
It was suprising to see South Korea, Belarus and India so high up on the list. This was not what I would have guessed. But there were other interesting findings as well.
- The regional interest was the highest in Japan in 2011 worldwide.
- This shifted to South Korea in 2012.
- In 2014 the interest distribution was rather even everywhere in the world.
But the node.js ecosystem doesn't stop with one keyword. Needed to go beyond a little.
Related keywords with Übersuggest
To find related keywords we can go and check Übersuggest. It is a free keyword suggestion tool that makes good use of different suggestion services.
If we look for Node.js with Übersuggest, these are the most searched related keywords:
- node.js tutorial
- node.js express
- node.js vs php
- node.js mysql
- node.js hosting
- node.js examples
- node.js ide
- node.js cms
- node.js request
Besides showing the most searched terms, the tool also takes your base term, adds a letter or a digit to it and comes up with extra suggestions (node.js + whatever). It's like Google Autocomplete. Extremely handy if you want to look for related keywords to a topic.
While scanning through the list one keyword combo caught my eye: node.js vs php. So I did plot these back into Google Trends as a comparison too see what is happening.
Google Trend: node.js vs php
As we can see the trend of php is declining, while nodejs is slowly picking up. But we can go even deeper and look at which cities have the most "momentum" in nodejs and php.
Cities where node.js is big
Cities where php is big
Pretty cool. We actually know a lot more about node.js than just minutes ago. But we can go even further.
Number of searches for specific keywords
It is only one thing to know the top and trending keywords related to node.js.
But how many people actually search for these keywords?
Well, it is fairly easy to find out. All we have to do is to test the keywords in Google Adwords' Keyword Planner. Again, this is another free tool. All we need is a Google Account to use is.
We need to get search volume for the selected keywords. Then we'll get the following results:
Node.js takes the lead with 246K search results, in the second position we find node.js tutorial with 40K searches every month. These are followed by node.js + express, + mysql, + examples and + hosting. We can also see how much money companies are bidding to have their ads placed when you search for these terms. This also shows how tough the competition is for a keyword. This can give you a very good understanding what the demand is for nodejs, and everything that is related to its ecosystem. You can even compare it to other technologies.
The economics of search
What is great about the web and Google is that there is so much information out there you can use to your advantage. When people search for things they often face the very same economic principles that we face in business or even in real life. The laying foundation of the economics of search is based on microeconomics. We need to take three variables into account:
Demand: how many people search for the specific keywords
Supply: how many relevant results (posts, articles, videos, tutorials) are out there
Value: how valuable is the content you find
If you put these three things together, it becomes clear where you need to focus and what to optimize for.
- Need to look for keywords that a lot of (or enough) people search for, so there is demand.
- If there is demand, than provide supply, so write content, put together a landing page, create a product and finally
- make sure that it provides value to the reader / user.
There is a certain indicator / formula which shows you how tough the competition is for certain markets. It is called Keyword Efficiency Index (KEI). There are many ways to calculate it, but it shows the same thing: competition.
In general KEI looks something like this:
KEI = Demand x Demand / Supply
As for Google Search:
KEI = # of Searches x # of Searches / # of Results
The higher this KEI number is, the sexier the given keyword is. This can help you select keywords and topics you want to optimize for. Of course, this does not only work for the nodejs related ecosystem. It works for pretty much everything. If you think about developing a plugin, a 3rd party app or any service you might want to do the same analysis to see how fierce competition is on that market and if there's actually demand for what you want to develop.
But let's jump back to Node.js for a little more. You might ask:
What are the highest KEI keywords right now in the Node.js ecosystem? What are the areas where competition is not that high and there's room to do something great?
Well, here they are:
- devops tools
- node.js in action
- node.js express
- node.js express tutorial
- node.js mongodb
- node.js websocket
Having high KEI is not everything tough. There are certain markets which are just too broad to tackle, and there are small, niche markets which are competitive, but it is still worth entering them. KEI is not a secret sauce, it doesn't tell you where the unicorn land is, but it can give you a better understanding where to focus.
There are many great (and free) tools out there to do a quick background check pretty much on any topic. This was the case for me with Node.js. Months ago I knew very little about the technology, but could still manage to get a good understanding of the ecosystem in minutes.
Even though I am not a developer, only a tech savvy marketer I do advise all of you to try out some of the tools mostly marketers use. Even use Google tools for these purposes.
Because Google doesn't only help you become a better coder, but it can also help you make better decisions.
Note: Of course, simple searches will not give us back the actual state of any ecosystem, but they are great assets to understand things in fast and fashionly manner.
The deal: SEO the term Node.js
Oh, and if you were wondering how the deal went: RisingStack is ranked in the TOP3 for "node.js consulting". It took us 4 months.
Update: On Jan 22, 2015 in a comment below Charlie Robbins (CEO @Nodejistu) pointed out that it could be interesting to recheck eveything using not only the term "node.js" but also include "nodejs" and "node js" as many people search for node.js differently.
So everything has been updated as of 22 Jan, 2015 4PM CET. And here are some additional findings:
node.js + node js + nodejs
There are regional differences when it comes to using the three different forms of node.js. Here are the top regions for each variation:
- node.js: South Korea, Belarus, Hong Kong
- nodejs: China, South Korea, Hong Kong
- node js: South Korea, Belarus, India