Keyword Selection in Search Engine Optimization
Keyword selection is the most important step in search engine optimization, even more so than web site design, because these keywords
1. serve as search engines’ bases for indexing or listing your site, which
2. will enable Internet users to find your site.
What follows, therefore, are some tips to keep in mind when choosing your keywords.
1. Solicit the help of co-workers, business partners, friends and family in coming up with search phrases.
Consider the following:
* Target audience
Although you’re optimizing your site for search engines, getting the people who surf the Internet to reach your site is your ultimate goal. You should therefore try to think like your target audience to determine what search words, terms or phrases might lead them to find your site. Are they likely to use technical or industry-specific jargon or simple layman terms?
* Site Purpose (or Products/Services if eCommerce)
o Target candidate terms/phrases that reflect the nature of your site
o Consider only keywords/phrases for products that you actually have in stock or services that you really offer.
o Consider optimizing for products that may be less searched but give higher profit margins.
o Know your industry and account for any seasonal or other trends.
o Look through your biggest competitors’ websites for ideas on which products they target or search phrases for which they are ranked. How? Go to their sites, view (not copy*) their source HTML codes and look for keywords found in their META tags.
o Identify the search phrases that have been untapped by your competitors.
*Copyright and intellectual property considerations may apply.
* Keyword Popularity
Use popular as opposed to ‘too popular’ or ‘too general to be useful’ terms by validating each for popularity as a search term, using:
o PPC (pay-per-click) data
-which keywords gave the highest traffic, best click through rates and greater sales conversions
o WordTracker’s KEI (keyword effectiveness index) – users can analyze their chosen search phrases to determine the level of competition for that phrase and how often your candidate keyword is used as a search query
o Google – enter identified search phrases in quotations to determine how many web pages it has identified as targeting that exact search phrase (read: your competition for those keywords)
2. Choose your keywords
* can be a single word or a combination of words or key phrase (Spiders can and will recognize them as single keywords)
* do not use common words like “the” and “and”, nor combine them with your keyword (spiders are programmed to ignore these words because of their frequent use)
* specific keyword phrases are better than keywords (as there is less competition, and results in more relevant and targeted traffic)
* consider adding your location to the keyword phrase
* keep the phrase together (keyword adjacency is important)
3. Expand your list
* mix-up the sequence of the keywords if appropriate
* combine keywords based on frequency of use and applicability
* add other words to help clarify your keywords
* consider common misspellings as additions to your keyword lists
* sort keywords according to the likelihood that they’ll be used by visitors as search words
* use the following suggestion tools:
Keyword Density Analyzer Keyword Optimization Suggestion Analyzer Generator Software
Overture Search Suggestion Tool
4. Keyword placement
* Deliver your keywords as many times as possible within a page in a reasonable sentence construct and appropriate context so as not to confuse your customers, appear redundant or considered spamming.
* Strategically place keywords on your page.
o Make your keyword the first word on the page as it will be the very first word the spider will read.
o Don’t repeat a keyword in your keyword string as you may be penalized for this.
o Last keyword should be your site identification, taken from your URL and that this string appears as content to avoid spamming.
o Place your best search words into the displayed content for your page.
* Don’t use exotic “hidden” text (cloaking) techniques.
Note: Keyword placement withing HTML tags will be discussed next time.
5. Spread your keywords
* Target 5-10 closely-related search phrases in your index page as this is likely to have the best positioning on the search engines.
* Spread out related keywords or phrases to other pages in the site to create additional entry pages for visitors.
* Choose 10 pages on your site and focus on only 2-3 phrases per page as appropriate, according to ‘themes’ (each page should ideally target just one theme).
6. Additional tips:
o your site’s ‘crawlability’
o for any redirects or other issues that may prevent your site from being well ranked
o individual URLs for all major pages in your site, using different keyword patterns and titles. Each page should cater to different keyword searches.
o to different search engines.
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