Selecting Effective Keywords
Keywords are the words that people will think of when trying to describe your type of product or service.
Selecting effective keywords should be the first step for anyone planning to build a high ranking Web site. After all, it makes no sense obtaining a good search engine placement for keywords that rarely will be used by anyone.
"Some people make it to the top of search engines and get lots of traffic. Others do the same but get nothing. Why? Simple. The first group selected keywords that many people are searching for, - while the second group did not!"
But how are you supposed to know what keywords to optimize for? How can you figure out which keywords are the most popular among those looking to buy your product or read your site? What exactly are all those people typing into the search box?
Before you start to brainstorm your list of keywords and keyword phrases, it is important to understand in general how people uses keywords
Here is one place where you can "spy" on people as they enter keywords into a real search engine: Meta Spy
Do you notice any patterns? One important thing to notice is that most people don't just enter single keywords into the search box. They are using keyword phrases.
Instead of just searching for single keywords like "books", most people will search for keyword phrases like "search engine books", search engine optimization books" or "books about search engine placement".
This is important to understand when you select keywords for your own site. Keyword combinations can be much more effective compared to single keywords.
Managing keyword phrases
Congratulations! You have managed to collect a long list of keywords related to the
subject of your site, or the products you are selling. Now you must link the
keywords together and make keyword phrases.
If you have a list of keywords like: "search engine, meta tag, promotion, software", try linking the keywords together like: "search engine software", "search engine promotion", "meta tag software" etc. Combining the keywords into keyword phrases will make it easier to rank well, and you will be targeting your visitors more effectively.
Example: Let us use my site as our example: Not everyone searching for keywords like "search engines" or "promotion" would be looking for a site like mine. In fact, most would probably be looking for a search engine, or perhaps an online advertising agency. Therefore, I will target the keyword phrase "search engine promotion" instead.
The more specific your keywords are, the better the chances that people who search for them will actually benefit from your site's content. This is an important factor to consider when you are performing keyword analysis.
Throw your keywords away
Don't worry. You did not waste all your hard work coming up with keywords for
your site. We just have to find and throw away the ones nobody is searching for.
And there is one more thing... "stop words". "These are common words that are usually ignored by search engines (like: a, an, and, for, the, of, that, it, to, if, you, etc). If your keyword phrase contains "stop words", it will be ignored.
How can you tell if a word is a stop word? Go to a search engine and search for this particular keyword. If the search engine tells you "no document matches your query," (or something similar) you will know this is a stop word for that particular engine.
Put your keywords in a spreadsheet
You are almost done. If you have carefully followed all the steps outlined above you have managed to find a huge list of keywords for your site. But chances are you still have too many keywords.
It's time for the final keyword optimization step.
Tip: Try to rank well for the most popular keywords, but do not forget that sometimes the best gold is a little farther down the mineshaft. Do not make the mistake of focusing exclusively on the most popular keywords. Less popular keywords often are much easier to rank, simply because few Webmasters are targeting those words.
When selecting keywords the trick is finding the balance between keyword demand and keyword supply. A spreadsheet is an excellent tool for this:
Enter all your selected keywords into the first column, one by one. In the next column, enter how many times that particular keyword has been searched for. Then you can easily see what keywords are in highest demand (most popular). In the last column you must write down how many other Websites you will have to compete with for this keyword.
To figure out the supply of Web sites for a particular keyword, go to a search engine like Google and perform a search for your keyword in quotes: "my keyword". The results will show exactly how many other sites are containing this keyword. This is the number of sites you will have to compete with for a top position.
Now have a good look at your spreadsheet and try to spot any keywords in high demand (lots of people are searching for those keywords), but in low supply (few sites are containing the keywords). These are the keywords that most likely will give you the best chance of success.
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