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Search Engine Optimization Expert offers SEO, Search Engine Promotion & Link Popularity Building Services in Hyderabad, India.

Search Engine Optimization : SEO BOOK.

Chapter 4

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 keywords.

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 logs.

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 much trouble.

· 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 and rodent-racing.

· 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 are available.

· 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
· 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 terms.

· 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.

Using 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, 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 these terms.
· 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 little competition.

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 these steps:
· 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.

Competitive Analysis

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 results.

· 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 conceptual ballpark.
· 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 Search.
· 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 various reasons.

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:
1828 e-commerce
1098 ecommerce
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 and services.

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