Posted Monday, October 4, 2004
The Key to Finding Good Keywords
If you know anything about optimising your website for the search engines, you know how important it is to choose the right keywords. If you fail to pick the words that you want your site to be found under, you risk untargeted traffic -- or at worst, no traffic at all.
So what's the trick to selecting the right keywords? First, don't use single words; they are way too broad and the competition for them is fierce. Instead, you want to use two or three words strung together, also known as "keyphrases." Studies have shown that most people type in 2- or 3-word combinations when conducting searches; not single words.
Coming up with a list of the most targeted key-phrases for your website is not really that hard. It involves a bit of brainstorming and utilizing the right tools. One of the best methods is to think like your site's visitors, and write down words and phrases that you think they would use when searching for a site such as yours. Be creative.
Another great resource to use is a good "old fashioned" Dictionary and/or a Thesaurus to come up with related or alternate words. If you don't have a hard copy, use the online versions located at:
If you find yourself falling short of ideas, look up your competitors online and do a ‘view source’ on their pages. I'm not telling you to copy what they have; but to study what they are using, as you might see some words or phrases that you hadn't thought of, which you can add to your collection. Remember, stay away from using Trademarks. You don't want any trouble from a high priced Solicitor down the road.
If you're trying to target a certain geographic location, make sure to include your city and county in your key-phrase list. This is especially important right now, as many of the search engines have branched out into offering "local search" and you want your site to be found when these types of searches are conducted.
Now that you've got a good solid foundation, I'm going to introduce you to some other online tools that you should find helpful in your quest for the right keywords. Some of these resources are free.
1) WordTracker: (http://WordTracker.com)
This is the "Big Daddy" of keywords services and used by most Search Engine Optimization companies online today. The results are pulled from several meta search engines. Use the free trial to take her for a "test spin." If you need more power, you'll want to purchase a subscription. You can register for as little as one day for $7.80, one week for $26.00, or even a month, which runs only $52.00. You decide how much time you really need to access this powerful database.
2) Good Keywords: (http://www.goodkeywords.com)
Free software to download that will help you find the perfect set of keywords for your site. Windows based only.
3) Keyword Suggestion Tool (http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/suggestion/)
This online tool will show you the results of your keyword search from both Overture and Wordtracker. Find out how often a phrase is searched for and get suggestions for alternate words as well. Free.
4) Overture Search Term Suggestion Tool (http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/)
This free online tool is offered up by Overture. Type in your word or phrase and find out how many times that particular word was searched for last month, and related searches that include your term.
5) Google AdWords Keyword Tool (https://adwords.google.com/select/main?cmd=KeywordSandbox)
This online tool is courtesy of Google AdWords. Type in your phrase and you'll be shown a list of other possibilities. A slightly modified version of this tool is available at (http://www.masteringadwords.com/resources/google_tool.asp)
6) Espotting Keyword Generator (http://www.espotting.com/popups/keywordgenbox.asp)
Not to be left out, Espotting also offers their own online research tool which will also show you how many times that phrase has been searched for in the previous month.
If you're interested in creating "niche sites" and want to see the words people are searching for check out these:
Lycos 50 Daily Report: (http://50.lycos.com/) Kanoodle: (http://kanoodle.com/spy/) MetaCrawler: (http://www.metacrawler.com/info.metac/searchspy)
For a full page of keyword selection tools: (http://tinyurl.com/3ovca)
If you don't have time to do your own research for keywords,this is an excellent service that will do the hard work for you: (http://www.SeoResearchLabs.com/)
Remember, when selecting keywords or key-phrases for your website you want to make very sure you're choosing the right ones, or it could spell total disaster when it comes to the search engines. Also, each page of your site should be optimised for two or at the most three key phrases, but that's another topic.
Finding the right keywords isn't brain surgery. It just takes a little time and ingenuity and the ability to put yourself in your customer's shoes.
About the Author
Merle (just Merle, thank you) is an experienced Internet Marketer/Promoter Consultant. She knows what it takes for business websites to be Successful. She has been online for over six years and has three websites to her credit: MC Promotions (http://www.MCPromotions.com)- Merle's World (http://www.MerlesWorld.com) and Ezine Ad Auction (http://www.EzineAdAuction.com)
Merle lives in a suburb right outside of Cleveland, Ohio with her two dogs, Teddy Bear and Dakota, and her fiancée. Her hobbies include reading (especially anything Net-related), writing and publishing her three ezines, M.C. Promotions Press, Merle's Mission and Ezine Ad Auction Authority. All 3 publications have a combined subscriber base of well over 10,000. Feel free to contact her with any questions.