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Search Engine Success: Keyword Selection

By Andrea Sternberg
Posted Monday, November 29, 2004

Here are some tips for selecting keyword phrases that target your most qualified audience and generate increased search engine exposure.

Determine Your Key (Words) for Success
Search engines have time and time again been proven as one of the most effective ways to connect with your customers online.

Getting the most from the search engines requires the same basic marketing principals you would use when selecting a newspaper advertisement or a phone book listing. You wouldn't want to be listed under plumbers in the phone book if you sell Corporate Gifts. However you might want to list under Corporate Gifts and Gift Baskets.

Here are some tips for selecting keyword phrases that target your most qualified audience and generate increased search engine exposure.

What's Your Phrase That Pays?

Keywords that are too general not only puts you up against a great deal of competition, it significantly reduces your ability to target traffic. Visitors that aren't looking for your products or services won't result in the conversations that pay the bills.

Now let's look at the phrase Corporate Christmas Gifts, by targeting this keyword phrase you have reduced the competing sites to only 319 and it pre qualifies your traffic.

For example let's take the keyword Gifts, on Google alone the number of competing websites is 6913077. So even if you're lucky enough to get ranked within the top three pages, only a small fraction of those who searched for gifts are actually looking for corporate gifts.

Internet, Online or On Line?

Tanking into account the different variations used by search engine users increases your exposure and rankings. Targeting variations in your keyword phrases such as Web or On Line can also reduce competition without reducing the quality of your visitors.

Bad Spellers Need You Too

Take a look at your company name; is there a chance someone might spell it wrong? You might be surprised how often common words, terms and names are misspelled in the search engines. Keywords such as the phonetic spelling of your company name or service can produce a tremendous amount of traffic. Don't forget how users typically transpose letters such as ie or f in place of ph. Just because they can't spell, doesn't mean they aren't interested in your services.

Give The What They Asked For

Keywords that are directly related to your page content produce better results in the search engines and give the searcher a better end experience. Even though someone searched for Executive Padfolios, if they land on your homepage your chances for conversion lessen dramatically if they then need to search your site for that item. Making a direct association between your keywords and site landing pages will connect your products with the right searchers in less time.

Singular vs. plural

The rule of thumb here is to use the plural version of your keyword, if someone types Gift and the keyword in your meta tag is gifts, the search engines still see the root.

Taking the time to understand how visitors find your site will give you a greater understanding of what it takes to be there when visitors who haven't found you yet come searching. Visit Straight Line Marketing for more information on Search Engine Optimization, Internet Advertising and Affordable Online Promotion

About the Author
In 1997, Andrea Sternberg took her passion for Internet marketing and the desire to deliver her clients outstanding, value based results and created Straight Line Marketing. With ten years of marketing and advertising achievements under her belt, Andrea sought to bring value of the Internet to small and mid size business without the often unattainable pricing of large firms. Visit her site @


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