Search Engine Optimization : SEO BOOK.
Picking Powerful Keywords & Understanding
The Importance of Keywords
When you go to a search engine and try to find something, you type
in a word or several words, and click the Search button. The search
engine then looks in its index for those words. Suppose that you used
the words rodent racing. Generally speaking, the search engine will
look for various things:
· Pages that contain the exact phrase rodent racing
· Pages that don't have the phrase rodent racing, but do have
the words rodent and racing in close proximity
· Pages that have the words rodent and racing somewhere, though
not necessarily close together
· Pages with word stems; for instance, pages with the word rodent
and the word race somewhere in the page
· Pages that have links pointing to them, in which the link text
contains the phrase rodent racing
· Pages with links pointing to them with the link text containing
the words rodent and racing, although not together.
The process is actually a lot more complicated than this. The search
engines doesn't necessarily show pages in the order as listed here.
All the pages with the exact phrase, then all the pages with the words
inclose proximity, and so on. Rather, when considering the order in
which to rank pages, the search engines take into consideration other
characteristics of the keyword or keyword phrase. Picking the right
keywords is critical. If you don't play the game, you can't win. And
if you don't choose the right keywords, you are not showing up to play
the game.Understanding how to search helps you understand the role of
Thinking Like Your Prey
It's an old concept: You should thing like your prey. Companies often
make mistakes with their keywords because they pick keywords based on
how they - rather than their customers - think about their products
or services. You have to stop thinking that you know what customers
call you products. Do some research to find out what consumers really
do call your products.
Do a little keyword analysis - check to see what people are actually
searching for on the web. You'll discover that words that you were positive
people would use are rarely searched, and you'll find that you have
missed a lot of common terms. Sure you may get some of the keywords
right, but if you are spending time and energy targeting particular
keywords, you might as well get'em all right! The term keyword analysis
can have several meanings:
· Analyzing the use of keywords by people searching for products,
services and information.
· Keyword-density analysis is the way to find out how often a
keyword appears in a page. Keyword analysis tools are the tools which
are actually keyword-density-analysis tools.
· It's a process of analyzing keywords in your Web site's access
Starting Your Keyword Analysis
Perform keyword analysis - a check of what keyword people use to search
on the web.
Identifying The Obvious Keywords
Begin by typing the obvious keywords into a text editor or word processor
- the ones you have already thought of, or, if you haven't started yet,
the ones that immediately come to mind. Then study the list for a few
minutes. What else can you add? What similar terms come to mind? Add
them, too. When you do your analysis, when you do your analysis, you
will find that some of the initial terms you think of aren't searched
for very often, but this list is just the start.
Looking At Your Web site's access logs
Take a Quick look at your Website's access logs,. You may not realize
it, but most logs show you the keywords that people used when they clicked
a link to your site at a search engine. Write down the terms that are
bringing people to your site.
Examining competitors' Keyword Tags
Your probably know who your competitors are. Go to their sites and open
the source ode of a few pages at each site - just choose View?Source
from the browser's menu bar to get a peek. Look for the <META NAME="keywords">
tag and see if you find any useful keywords there. Often the keywords
are garbage, or simply not there, but if you look at enough sites, you
are likely to come up with some useful terms you hadn't thought of.
Brainstorming With colleagues
Talk to other friends and colleagues to see if they can come up with
some possible keywords. Ask them something like, "If you were looking
for a site at which you could find the latest scores for rodent races
around the world, what terms would you search for?" Give everyone
a copy of your current keyword list and ask if they can think of anything
to add to it. Usually, reading the terms will spark an idea or two,
and you'll end up with a few more terms.
Looking Closely At Your List
After you've put together your initial list, go through it looking for
more obvious additions. Don't spend too much time on this; all you are
doing here is creating a preliminary list to run through a keyword tool,
which will also figure out some of these things for you.
· Obvious Spelling Mistakes: Scan through your list and see
if you can think of any obvious spelling mistakes. Some spelling mistakes
are incredibly important, with 10,15, or 20 percent of all searches
containing the word being misspelled, sometimes even more!
If the traffic from a misspelling is significant , you may want to create
a page on your site that uses that misspelling. Some sites
contain pages using misspellings in the TITLE tags, which can work very
well. These don't have to be pages that many people
see. After all, the only people who will see the misspelled titles in
a search results page are those who misspelled the words
in the first place! One nice thing about misspellings is that often
competitors have missed them, so you can grap the traffic without
· Synonyms : Sometimes similar words are easily missed. If your
business is a home-related business, for instance, have you thought
about the term house? Americans may easily overlook this word, using
home instead, but other English-speaking countries
use the word often. Still add it to the list because you may find quite
a few searches related to it. You might even use a thesaurus
to find more synonyms. However, I show you some keyword tools that will
run these kinds of searches for you - see "Using
a keyword tool."
· Split or Merged Words : You may find that although your product
name is one word - RodentRacing, for instance - most people are searching
for you using two words, rodent and racing. Remember to consider your
customer's point of view. Also, some words are employed
in two ways,. Some people, use the term knowledgebase, while others
use knowledge base. Which is more important? Both should
be on your list, But knowledge base is used around four to five times
more often than knowledgebase. If you optimize your pages
for knowledgebase, you are missing out on around 80 percent of the traffic!
· Singulars and Plurals : Go through your list and add singulars
and plurals. Search engines treat singulars and plurals differently.
For example, searching on rodent and rodents provides
different results,so it's important to know which term is searched for
most often.You don't need to worry about upper-versus
lowercase. You can use rodent or Rodent or RODENT.
· Hyphenated Words : Do you see any hyphenated words on your
list that could be used without the hyphen, or vice versa? Some terms
are commonly used both ways, so find out what your customers are using.
E.g. ecommerce and e-commerce. Find hyphenated words,
add both forms to your list, and determine which is more common because
search engines treat them as different searches. Search
engines generally treat a hyphen as a space. So searching for rodent-racing
is the same as searching for rodent racing. However
there is real difference between e-commerce and ecommerce,or rodentracing
· Geo-Specific Terms : Don't forget to include terms that include
your city, state, other nearby cities and so on.
· Your Company Name : If you have a well-known company name,
add that to the list, in whatever permutations you can think of (Microsoft,
MS, MSFT and so on).
· Other companies' Names And Product Names : If people will
likely be searching for companies and products similar to yours add
those companies and products to your list.
Using A Keyword Tool
After you have put together a decent size keyword list, the next step
is to use a keyword tool. This tool will enable you to discover additional
terms you haven't thought of and help determine which terms are most
important - which terms are used most often by people looking for your
products and services. Both free and the paid versions of keyword tools
· The Overture Search Term Suggestion Tool : Overture is a pay
per click service and as a service to customers it provides a free tool
that allows you to see how often a particular search term is used each
month at Overture.
Here's how to find this Tool:
· Point your browser to www.overture.com.
· Click the Advertiser Center Link
· On the new page that appears, click the Tools link and then
on the next page,click the Term Suggestion Tool Link.
· Type a search term and press Enter.
The tool tells you how often that term was searched for
throughtout the Overture network during the previous month.
The number isn't terribly important; it's the relative levels that
count. If one word was searched on 15000 times last month and another
one for 10000 times, you can be pretty sure that, on the Overture network
or not, the first term is the most important one. Overture provides
other search terms too. It looks for similar and related terms, lists
them, and also provides the number of times that those terms were searched
for. For each term in your list, use the Search Term Suggestion Tool
to find out how many times the term is used each month and to find related
· Other Keyword Tools
Several other keyword-analysis tools are available. Some
of the other pay-per-click services provide tools, for instance but
unlike Overture, you generally can't get to the tool until
you have already set up an account or gone through some preliminary
sign-up process. To find some of the other software tools
and Web-based services, do a search on keyword or keyword analysis.The
top tool here is Wordtracker.
Wordtracker is the tool that virtually all SEO professionals use. Wordtracker,
owned by a company in London, England, has access to data from several
very large metacrawlers. A metacrawler is a system that searches multiple
search engines for you. E.g. type a word into Dogpile's search box and
the system searches at Google, Yahoo! Wordtracker gets the information
about what people are searching for from Metacrawler.com, Dogpile.com
and others. For a total of over 150 million searches
Each months. It stores two months of searches in its databases, somewhere
around 310 million searches. Wordtracker combines the data for the last
60 days and then allows its customers to search this database.
Here's what information Wordtracker can provide:
· The Numbers of times in the last 60 days that the exact phrase
you entered was searched for out of 310 million or so searches.
· An estimate of how many times each day the phrase is used throughout
all the web's search engines.
· Similar terms and synonyms, and the usage statistics about
· Terms used in hundreds of competing sites' KEYWORDS meta tags,
ranked according to frequency.
· Common misspellings.
· A comparison of how often a term is searched for with how many
pages appear for that term - a nice way to find terms with relatively
Do metacrawlers provide better results? Her's what Wordtracker claims:
· Search results at the big serch engines are skewed. Many Web
site owners use them to check their sites' rankings , sometimes several
times a week. Thus, many searches are not true searches. Metacrawlers
can't be used for this purpose, so they provide leaner results.
· Wordtracker analyzes searches to find what appear to be fake,
automated searches. Some companies carry out hundreds of searches
an hour on particular keywords - company or product names, for instance
- in an attempt to trick search engines into thinking
these keywords generate a lot of interest.
Creating A Wordtracker Project
Wordtracker lets you create projects so you can store different groups
of terms - perhaps one for each Web site. Here's how:
· Click the projects button on the main navigation page. The
projects page appears.
· Give your project a name and then click the change Project
Name button to save the new name. Wordtracker allows you to have seven
projects, storing different keyword lists. You can empty old projects
and rename them as you move on to new web projects.
This may be an important feature if you are an SEO professional or a
Web designer working on multiple Web sites.
· To load your existing list into the project, click the Import
button, copy and paste the words from the list into the large text box
and click the Submit button. After the list is imported,
another page opens, which contains your list with a number in parentheses
next to each keyword or keyword phrase; this is the
count, the number of times the word or phrase appears in the database.
Adding Keywords to Your Initial Project List
To use wordtracker to find more words that might be appropriate, follow
· Click the home button in the navigation bar at the top of any
wordtracker page to go to the Wordtracker home page.
· Click the Keyword Universe Link.
· Type the first keyword in your list into the box on the left
and then click the Proceed button.
After clicking the Proceed button, wait a few minutes while Wordtracker
builds a list. Then scroll down the left frame to see the list.
· Click a word in the list in the left frame to load the corresponding
table in the right frame. The table shows you actual searches from the
Wordtracker database containing the word you clicked, and other keyword
phrases containing that word. So for instance, if you click rodent,
you see search terms such as rodents, rodent control, rodents revenge,
rodent, rodent repellent, rodent pictures and so on.
Next to each term in the table, you see two numbers:
· Count : The number of times Wordtracker found the search term
in its database. The database contains searches for 60days - more
than 310 million of them. So the count is the number of times the term
was used in the last two months in the search engines
which Wordtracker builds its database.
· Predict : An estimate of how many times this term is likely
to be used each day, in all the internet search engines combined.
Wordtracker simply extrapolates from the count number to
arrive at the predict number. Wordtracker assumes that the search engines
it's working with account for a certain percentage of all searches,
so it simply takes the count number and multiples accordingly.
Here's what you can do with the list of search terms in the right frame:
· Click the Click Her to Add All Keywords to Your Basket link
toad all the keyword phrases to your project.
· Click a term to add just that term to the project.
· Click the shovel ion in the Dig column to see similar terms.
Click the shovel in the rodents revenge row, for example, to see a smaller
list containing download rodents revenge, rodents revenge download,
download rodents revenge game and so on.
Should you add all the words in the list at once, or one
by one? If most of the list seems to be garbage, scroll down the list
and add only the useful words. After you've finished tweaking
the list, here are a couple of other things you can do:
· Click another keyword phrase in the left frame to load a new
list in the right frame with search terms related to that phrase.
· Type another word from your original list into the box at the
top of the left frame. Wordtracker then retrieves more terms related
to it from the thesaurus and KEYWORDS meta tags.
· Type a term into the text box at the top of the right frame
and click the Go button to create a list based on that term.
The left frame is handy because it runs your words through
a thesaurus and grabs words from KEYWORDS meta tags.
Cleaning Up The List
After you've worked through your list, checking for relevant terms,
click the Click Here for Step 3 link at the bottom of the page. On the
Step 3 page, you see the first 100 words in your project, with the most
common appearing first. Scroll this list carefully. Look for any keywords
that really aren't appropriate. It's possible you'll find some, especially
if you clicked the all link at the top of the previous page. To delete
a term, select the check box to the right of the unwanted term and click
the Delete button at the top. Then scroll to the bottom of the list
and work your way up; if you delete 15 terms from the page, 15 more
are pulled from the next page, so you need to check them as well. Use
the right pointing triangle at the top of the list to move to the next
page. Remove only those terms that are totally inappropriate.
Exporting The List
When you are satisfied with your list, you can export it from Wordtracker.
At the top of the Step 3 page, click the Export Keywords button to open
a window that contains your compiled list. The window contains a list
of keyword phrases - a simple list with no numbers. To display the list
with the count and predict numbers, click the Click here to Get a Tab
Delimited List of Keywords link.You can highlight this list and paste
it into a word processor or text editor. You can also click the Email
Keywords button at the top of the Step 3 page to e-mail the list to
yourself or a colleague.
By doing a competitive analysis, you can identify terms that are searched
for frequently but yield few results. If you then use these keywords
on your pages, your pages are more likely to rank high in the search
engines because you face little competition from other sites. To do
a competitive analysis, click the Competition Search button at the top
of the step 3 page. On the next page that appears, you can check various
search engines and directories, two at a time. Wordtracker tells you
how often the term is searched for and how often the keyword phrase
appears in Web pages in the indexes you selected. At the bottom of the
competition Search page, you find the KEI Analysis and Quotes drop-down
list boxes. You generally want to keep these options turned on:
· Quotes : Wordtracker encloses your search term in quotation
marks when entering it into the selected search engines. For instance,
if your phrase is rodent racing, Wordtracker searchers for "rodent
racing". The quotation marks tell the search engine that you want
to find only those pages that contain the exact term rodent racing,
providing a better idea of your true competition. If you search for
the term without using quotation marks, you get all the pages with the
word rodent or racing somewhere in the page, which returns far more
· KEI Analysis : Wordtracker calculates KEI (Keyword Effectiveness
Index), which is a comparison of the number of the people searching
for a term and the number of Web pages returned by a search engine for
that term. The higher the KEI, the more powerful the term. KEI is not
always useful. A term that has few competing pages and is searched upon
infrequently can generate a high KEI. This term would have little benefit
to you because although the competition is low, the number of searches
is also low.
The Competition Search also provides information on pay-per-click services
- services that allow you to buy a position in the search results.
More Ways To Find Keywords
Wordtracker has a number of other search tools available.
· Full Search : Wordtracker returns similar terms in the same
· Simple Search : You can dump a bunch of keyword phrases into
a text box to find actual search terms that include those keywords.
e.g. rat turns up rat terrier, pet rats, naked mole rat, and so on.
· Exact/Precise Search : This is a mixture of several tools,
including the Exact Search, the Compressed Exact Search and the Precise
· Compressed Search : This is useful for finding plurals and
singulars of words from a single list.
· Comprehensive Search : You can dig out a few useful related
terms mixed in with a large number of unrelated terms.
· Misspelling Search : This is a good way to find common misspellings
of your keywords.
Choosing Your Keywords
When you have finished working with a keyword tool, look at the final
list to determine how popular a keyword phrase actually is. You may
find that many of your original terms are not worth bothering with.
You may also find other terms near the top of the final list that you
hadn't thought about. The next sections help you clean up this list.
· Removing Ambiguous Terms : Scan through your list for ambiguous
terms, keywords phrases that probably won't do you any good for
v You missed The Target : Take a look at your list to determine whether
you have any word that may have different meanings to diferent people.
Sometimes you can immediately spot such terms. One of my clients thought
he should use the term cam on his site. To him,the term referred to
Complementary and Alternative Medicine. But to the vast majority of
searchers, cam means something different . Search Wordtracker on the
term cam, and you come up with phrases such as web cam, web cams ,free
web cams, live web cams, cam and so on. The phrases from this example
generate a tremendous amount of competition, but few of them would be
useful to my client.
v Ambiguous Terms : A client of mine wanted to promote a product designed
for controlling fires. One common term he came up with was fire control
system. However he discovered that when he searched on that term, most
sites that turned up don't promote products relating to stopping fires.
Rather, they're sites related to fire control in the military sense:
weapons fire control. This kind of ambiguity is something you really
can't determine from a system such as Wordtracker, which tells you how
often people search on a term. In fact, It's often hard to spot such
terms even by searching to see what turns up when you use the phrase.
If a particular type of Web site turns up when you search for the phrase,
does that mean people using the phrase are looking for that type of
site? You can't be sure.
v Very Broad Terms : Look at your list for terms that are incredibly
broad, too general to be of use. You may be tempted to go after high-ranking
words, but make sure that people are really searching for your products
when they type in the word. Suppose that your site is promoting degrees
in information technology. You discover that around 40 people search
for this term each day, but approximately 1500 people a day search on
the term information technology. Do you think many people searching
on the term information technology are really looking for a degree?
Probably not. Although the term generates 40000 to 50000 searches a
month, few of these will be your targets. Here are a few reasons why
you should forgo this term:
· It's probably a very competitive term, which means ranking
well onit would be difficult.
· You may be better off spending the time and effort focusing
on another, more relevant term.
· It's difficult to optimize Web pages for a whole bunch of search
terms, so if you optimize for one term, you won't be optimizing for
another, perhaps more appropriate term.
Picking Keyword Combinations
Sometimes it's a good idea to target terms lower down on your list,
rather than the ones up top, because the lower terms include the higher
terms. Suppose that you are selling an e-commerce system and you find
the list such as:
881 shopping cart
574 shopping cart software
428 shopping carts
260 ecommerce software
130 ecommerce solutions
109 e-commerce software
92 e-commerce solutions
Notice the term e-commerce. This is probably not a great term to target
because it's very general and has a lot of competition. But lower down
the list is the term e-commerce solutions. This term is a combination
of two keyword phrases: e-commerce and e-commerce solutions. If you
target e-commerce solutions and optimize your web pages for that term,
you are also optimizing for e-commerce. Notice also the term ecommerce
and the term a little lower on the list, ecommerce software. A term
even lower down encompasses both of these terms: ecommerce software
solution. Optimize your pages for ecommerce software solution, and you
have just optimized for three terms at once. Use the keyword-analysis
procedure and you will have a much better picture of your keyword landscape.
You will have a good view of how people are searching for your products