5 Choosing keywords
5.1 Initially choosing keywords
Choosing keywords should be your first step when constructing a site. You should have the keyword list available to incorporate into your site text before you start composing it. To define your site keywords, you should use seo services offered by search engines in the first instance. Sites such as www.wordtracker.com and inventory.overture.com are good starting places for English language sites. Note that the data they provide may sometimes differ significantly from what keywords are actually the best for your site. You should also note that the Google search engine does not give information about frequency of search queries.
After you have defined your approximate list of initial keywords, you can analyze your competitor’s sites and try to find out what keywords they are using. You may discover some further relevant keywords that are suitable for your own site.
5.2 Frequent and rare keywords
There are two distinct strategies – optimize for a small number of highly popular keywords or optimize for a large number of less popular words. In practice, both strategies are often combined.
The disadvantage of keywords that attract frequent queries is that the competition rate is high for them. It is often not possible for a new site to get anywhere near the top of search result listings for these queries.
For keywords associated with rare queries, it is often sufficient just to mention the necessary word combination on a web page or to perform minimum text optimization. Under certain circumstances, rare queries can supply quite a large amount of search traffic.
The aim of most commercial sites is to sell some product or service or to make money in some way from their visitors. This should be kept in mind during your seo (search engine optimization) work and keyword selection. If you are optimizing a commercial site then you should try to attract targeted visitors (those who are ready to pay for the offered product or service) to your site rather than concentrating on sheer numbers of visitors.
Example. The query “monitor” is much more popular and competitive than the query “monitor Samsung 710N” (the exact name of the model). However, the second query is much more valuable for a seller of monitors. It is also easier to get traffic from it because its competition rate is low; there are not many other sites owned by sellers of Samsung 710N monitors. This example highlights another possible difference between frequent and rare search queries that should be taken into account – rare search queries may provide you with less visitors overall, but more targeted visitors.
5.3 Evaluating the competition rates of search queries
When you have finalized your keywords list, you should identify the core keywords for which you will optimize your pages. A suggested technique for this follows.
Rare queries are discarded at once (for the time being). In the previous section, we described the usefulness of such rare queries but they do not require special optimization. They are likely to occur naturally in your website text.
As a rule, the competition rate is very high for the most popular phrases. This is why you need to get a realistic idea of the competitiveness of your site. To evaluate the competition rate you should estimate a number of parameters for the first 10 sites displayed in search results:
– The average PageRank of the pages in the search results.
– The average number of links to these sites. Check this using a variety of search engines.
– The number of pages on the Internet that contain the particular search term, the total number of search results for that search term.
– The number of pages on the Internet that contain exact matches to the keyword phrase. The search for the phrase is bracketed by quotation marks to obtain this number.
These additional parameters allow you to indirectly evaluate how difficult it will be to get your site near the top of the list for this particular phrase. As well as the parameters described, you can also check the number of sites present in your search results in the main directories, such as DMOZ and Yahoo.
The analysis of the parameters mentioned above and their comparison with those of your own site will allow you to predict with reasonable certainty the chances of getting your site to the top of the list for a particular phrase.
Having evaluated the competition rate for all of your keyword phrases, you can now select a number of moderately popular key phrases with an acceptable competition rate, which you can use to promote and optimize your site.
5.4 Refining your keyword phrases
As mentioned above, search engine services often give inaccurate keyword information. This means that it is unusual to obtain an optimum set of site keywords at your first attempt. After your site is up and running and you have carried out some initial promotion, you can obtain additional keyword statistics, which will facilitate some fine-tuning. For example, you will be able to obtain the search results rating of your site for particular phrases and you will also have the number of visits to your site for these phrases.
With this information, you can clearly define the good and bad keyword phrases. Often there is no need to wait until your site gets near the top of all search engines for the phrases you are evaluating – one or two search engines are enough.
Example. Suppose your site occupies first place in the Yahoo search engine for a particular phrase. At the same time, this site is not yet listed in MSN, or Google search results for this phrase. However, if you know the percentage of visits to your site from various search engines (for instance, Google – 70%, Yahoo – 20%, MSN search – 10%), you can predict the approximate amount of traffic for this phrase from these other searches engines and decide whether it is suitable.
As well as detecting bad phrases, you may find some new good ones. For example, you may see that a keyword phrase you did not optimize your site for brings useful traffic despite the fact that your site is on the second or third page in search results for this phrase.
Using these methods, you will arrive at a new refined set of keyword phrases. You should now start reconstructing your site: Change the text to include more of the good phrases, create new pages for new phrases, etc.
You can repeat this seo exercise several times and, after a while, you will have an optimum set of key phrases for your site and considerably increased search traffic.
Here are some more tips. According to statistics, the main page takes up to 30%-50% of all search traffic. It has the highest visibility in search engines and it has the largest number of inbound links. That is why you should optimize the main page of your site to match the most popular and competitive queries. Each site page should be optimized for one or two main word combinations and, possibly for a number of rare queries. This will increase the chances for the page get to the top of search engine lists for particular phrases.