By Sharon Housley
Determining keywords is a critical step in web design. If your website and meta tags do not contain related keywords, web surfers will be unable to find your website when they conduct searches.
The formula is a little tricky – you will need to locate terms that are popular and relevant to your site. These terms may or may not be terms that *you* feel are relevant terms. The optimal terms in a site should be terms that a potential customer would use when searching for a website with your content. In order to achieve success your website should be optimized with terms and phrases that are descriptive, related to your content, and which receive a significant amount of searches. The caveat, of course, is that you want to find terms and phrases where there is little competition, so you quickly achieve high ranking in the important search engines.
relevant + popular with searchers but not with competitors = success
Markets saturated with other sites competing for search terms make it difficult to find quality keywords. Sometimes it is better to optimize for a less popular term, one that is more targeted at your visitor, as it will likely have a higher conversion rate than a less specific popular term. The first step to determining keywords is brainstorming a list of logical terms and phrases that relate to your product or offerings. This should be done by a number of individuals; sometimes people have very different ideas for search terms and by identifying a variety of people and their search terms you may tap words that hadn’t occurred to you. There are a number of free and low-cost tools available online and for download that will allow you to expand and research terms that have been brainstormed.
The results typically vary with the tools but overall the tools will assist you in determining where to focus your keyword efforts. The tools will often assist with pay-per-click engines, creating expanded, related keywords or phrases that can be bid on.
In addition to examining log files to see what terms customers are using to find a website, visit competitors’ web sites and examine their meta tags for additional terms, use a thesaurus to find related terms, include misspellings of keywords in your meta tag keywords, and optimize for various forms of nouns and verbs, including tenses and plurals.
Keyword Tools –
KeywordTumbler – KeywordTumbler takes existing keyword phrases and generates multiple variations, reordering the words. This allows you to build a large keyword list in seconds http://www.keywordtumbler.com
TheDowser – Overture Keyword Tool, Google Keyword Sandbox, Keyword Harvester, Google AdWords report analyzer, Google AdWords optimization tool, log file analyzer, conversion tracking and optimization tool. http://www.thedowser.com
WordTracker – Wordtracker helps you choose the right internet marketing keywords that will help your search engine placement and ranking. Use Wordtracker for keyword research. Web marketing is all about search engine ranking, and that starts with the proper internet marketing keywords. Get a free keyword report and web site promotion information! http://www.wordtracker.com
Keyword Suggestion Tools – A handy little tool will show you the results of your query from both Wordtracker and Overture for determining which phrases are searched most often. Enter a search phrase below to see how often it’s searched for, as well as get suggestions for alternate (but similar) keywords. http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/suggestion/
Keyword Ranking Tool – This utility can be used to check search engines for keyword ranking and track search engine ranking for your various keywords over time, which, as you probably know, is critical when doing search engine optimization. http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/keywords/
Overture Keyword Tool – After entering a keyword or phrase, Overture provides a list of related phrases that have been searched on. The tool provides a count that indicates the number of times the phrase has been searched on. http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/
Topword Tool – Topword Tool is a free online tool that analyzes a complete web page and counts keyword occurrences, as well as keyword phrases (number in brackets), equal to or above that set in the Minimum Occurrences setting. It supplies a list of keywords and keyword phrases which are most likely to achieve the highest rankings on a major search engine. The tool will also analyze your meta description/keyword and title tags and then, through color coding, inform you of words/phrases which should be included. The main use for this tool is checking your optimization and tweaking existing web sites to rank well. http://www.abakus-internet-marketing.de/tools/topword.html
Google Suggestion – The Google Suggestion is a new online tool for webmasters. As you type into the search box, Google Suggest guesses what you’re typing and offers suggestions in real time. This is similar to Google’s “Did you mean?” feature that offers alternative spellings for your query after you search, except that it works in real time. For example, if you type “bass”, Google Suggest might offer a list of refinements that include “bass fishing” or “bass guitar”. Similarly, if you type in only part of a word, like “progr,” Google Suggest might offer you refinements like “programming”, “programming languages”, “progesterone”, or “progressive”. You can choose one by scrolling up or down the list with the arrow keys or mouse. The tool provides a number that indicates the number of searches a specific word or phrase has had. http://www.google.com/webhp?complete=1&hl=en
Keyword statistics give webmasters a way to tap into what is on the minds of Internet consumers. When you can match your marketing efforts to the various ways people locate their items of interest on the net, potential customers will be streamed to your site like ants to a picnic.