There are a number of things you can do to optimize it (see Sue Studios'
article, Improving Search Engine
Placements with Content). This article will deal with keywords –
something that confuses many of us.
Keywords are crucial because it's the keywords that bring traffic to
your site when users type them into a search box. There are a number of
things to consider when choosing the keywords that will be the most effective
for you and your business.
1. Think from a customer viewpoint
What search words do you use while on the Web? What words would potential
customers use when searching for your products or services? If you are
unsure, you ask your customers, suppliers, brand managers and sales
people for suggestions.
2. Expand your keywords into a list of key phrases
After compiling an initial list, put these terms into WordTracker.
WordTracker is a Web-based tool that provides ideas for additional keywords
by telling you how popular your keywords are on other Web pages and
how many people have searched for these keywords in major search engines
in the last 24 hours.
The best keywords are those that aren't overused but are still fairly
popular. Look at uncommon combinations. WordTracker has another tool,
called the Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI), which will tell you the
number of times your keyword appears in its database and the number
of competing Web pages. This reveals the keywords that might work best
on your pages. A high KEI means the word is more popular and less competitive.
A KEI of 100 is fairly good, but anything over 400 is fantastic.
3. Create Multiple Permutations
Vary the order of words in your phrases to create different combinations.
Use very unusual combinations. Create phrases that ask a question. Include
synonyms, word substitutes, metaphors, and common misspellings. Include
brand names and models of products sold. Use additional qualifiers to
create more specific terms by creating two-, three-, and four-word phrases.
For example, if you own a metaphysical bookstore, and books of course
would be one of your keywords, some combinations may be new age books,
metaphysical bookstore, books on spirituality, etc.
4. Use Concept Qualifiers to Qualify Visitors
Specify the concept in your key phrases, such as hot stone massage.
Be specific enough so the key phrase is not too broad, such as hand
5. If You're Branded, Use Your Company Name
It pays to include your company name in your keyword phrases if you're
a well known brand. A site like Banyen Books should use key phrases
like Banyen Books, music for sale at Banyen, Banyen gifts, etc.
However, if your name is Joe Smith Massage, very few people will type
that in a search query unless they know you, so it doesn't pay to include
company names in keyword phrases when you're not branded. Still have
your company name as a separate key word or phrase on its own.
6. Use Geographic Location
If your location is key, include it in your keywords. For example,
if you are a real estate agent, and you sell locations for spas in northern
BC, then use that in your key words.
7. Review Your Competitors' Keywords
Look up your competitors' keywords to get ideas on some you might have
missed. I don’t recommend just copying their keywords because
you don't know how they were generated. Just look for an idea or two
to supplement the keywords you've generated yourself.
8. Don't Use Keywords or Phrases That Are Too Broad
Instead, use modifiers to make generic keywords and phrases more specific.
A site offering insurance-related services might use health insurance
quotes or auto insurance quotes.
To prequalify your visitors, your keywords and phrases should identify
your niche. If you're in the entertainment business, use entertainment
news, entertainment jobs, or entertainment centre. Identifying your
niche attracts the kind of traffic you need. This is important no matter
what you sell. A smaller, targeted audience is more likely to result
in conversions than a large volume of traffic that came thinking you
were selling something else.
9. Don't Use Single Words
Multi-word phrases work better than single words. It's difficult for
search engines to return relevant results on single-word searches because
there are too many answers to such a query, and users won't wade through
hundreds of result pages. They learn quickly to be very specific. A
user looking for an e-commerce software solution for an auction site
won't be searching for software.
10. Don't Use Trademark Names Other Than Your Own
Stay away from competitors' trademarks in your keywords or you might
get sued. Some companies will give permission to use their terms. Permission
will depend on potential affiliation — a manufacturer will likely
give permission to use its name to promote and sell its products on
a vendor site. However, using another company's trademark or product
name to profit from its brand is unacceptable and breaches trademark-protection