optimization, the art of choosing the correct keywords,
is one of the most important things related to search engine
optimization. Sadly, it's also one of the things people
tend to spend too little time on. They think up a few keywords
quickly, optimize their pages a bit and then submit them
to the engines. This usually results in not-so-good rankings
under keywords that are poorly related to the site in question.
Before you start optimizing your site for the search engines,
you should spend some time in figuring out exactly what
keywords, or what keyphrases, you are going to target. Search
engines are an excellent source of traffic, but in order
to utilize them to their full potential, some effort is
What you should do is not to rush things. Sit down, open
up your favorite text editor in one window and your site
in another. Read through the first page of your site. When
you have read it, stop to think. What is this page about?
Which of the words that appear in the document describe
the contents of the page accurately? What kind of words
or phrases would someone use if he was using a search engine
and trying to find documents like this?
you have found the answers to these questions, write down
the words and the phrases you have come up with. It doesn't
matter if the list becomes too long, as you can always remove
some of the excess words later.
When I do keyword optimization, I usually select one or
two medium-popular keywords or phrases per page. These are
my main targets, and I optimize heavily for them. Then I
squeeze a few less common phrases and words into the body
text, hoping that they will help the page to come up on
some obscure multi-word searches.
Repeat this process for every page on your site. You should
be able to create an individual, distinct list of keywords
for each page. The different lists should not "compete"
with each other, instead each should cover different areas.
This does not however mean that there shouldn't be any similarities
between your lists - it's perfectly OK to have some, but
the lists shouldn't be 100% identical. It is better to have
20 good listings on different search terms than 20 good
listings on the same one.
So, now you have your lists ready. The next thing would
be to go to Overture's (GoTo) keyword
suggestion tool and type in the different keywords and
phrases you've come up with. The tool will tell you how
many times each keyword and each phrase was searched at
Overture during the last month. It won't tell you exactly
how popular different words are, since the statistics contain
only the searches executed at Overture, but it will give
you a general idea.
Because Overture's data is not always 100% accurate, you
may also want to visit WordTracker.
The service is not free, but the trial option offers a chance
to search for good keywords without having to pay a dime.
By using both Overture and WordTracker and comparing what
they think about the popularity of different keywords, you
should be able to separate the words people search for from
those that are rarely used.
If some of the words you were planning to select aren't
commonly used in searches, you might want to consider dropping
them from your list. If other words look like they are used
quite a lot, then it might be a good idea to consider adding
them. But remember to...
Keep the search engine optimization process in mind!
By now, your list is probably pretty full of very competitive,
single-word terms such as "MP3" or "books"
or "computers" or whatever. Scratch them. This
might sound harsh, but if you're a novice, you have no chance
of achieving a top listing under such terms. Even many (dare
I say most) professionals tend to avoid them, as they are
extremely competitive. There are hundreds of thousands of
sites targeting them and even with excellent search engine
optimization skills, they are very tough to conquer. What
you should do is to narrow it down a little.
Think about different variations of these popular keywords.
If you were originally thinking about the keyword "books",
how about "buy used books online" or "antique
bookstore"? These terms would be, not easy, but easier
to rank well under. It is far better to be in the top 10
for a search term with medium usage than to rank 500th for
a heavily used term. Select keyphrases that do get searched,
but that aren't too competitive.
You might also want to target common misspellings, if some
of the keywords related to your site are often spelled wrong
. Unfortunately, it is hard to efficiently target misspellings
without damaging the authority of your site. Would you buy
anything from a person that can't even spell the name of
his merchandise? Didn't think so… so, be careful with