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Finding Targeted Keyword Phrases Your Competitors Miss

By Daria Goetsch
Posted Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Search Innovation

Finding keyword phrases your competition is missing is easier than you might
think. Combinations of two and three word phrases are often overlooked by your
competitors when vying for the top competitive terms. This missed opportunity
may be a benefit to you to overcome your competition in the search engine
rankings.

Think Like A Searcher - Study Your Target Audience
Really look at the audience you want to bring to your website. Are there terms
you might not ordinarily use, or that your competitors use, that would work for
a small portion of visitors? Remember that single words tend to be more
competitive. Find two and three word phrases that would work for a searcher
looking for your website topic. If your visitors usually search on "vertical
widgets", look at "horizontal widgets" as well. Dig deep to find terms that
might not be obvious to you. Be sure to focus your terms on the actual topic of
your website, and terms that people would really search for. Have another person
compile a list of keyword phrases used to find your website or product. You'd be
surprised at the number of variations two minds can come up with instead of one.
Think like a searcher - not a website owner.

View Your Competitor's Source Code And Content For Keyword Phrases
Viewing your competitor's source code is very easy and a good way to see what
keyword phrases (if any) they are using. Using your browser, view the source
code of their page. The title and meta tags should contain the same keywords or
variations of keyword phrases if the competitor's website is optimized. Look
over the web page content as well as for keyword phrases worked into the text,
image alt text, headings and hyperlinks of the pages. If their pages are not
optimized you may gain an even bigger edge on the competition by optimizing your
web pages.

Using Keyword Tools To Find Variations Of Keyword Phrases
The Overture Suggestion Tool will provide keyword variations. You can find the
tool at (http://www.content.overture.com/d/USm/ays/index.jhtml)

Clicking on the suggestion tool link will bring up a window that allows you to
search for terms and variations of terms. Begin with your list and see how many
variations come up with the results. You might be surprised at the popularity of
some of the search variations you see. Be sure to add you new keyword phrases to
your list.

WordTracker is a keyword tool as well, you can purchase a yearly subscription or
even a one day subscription. Learn more about it here:
(http://www.wordtracker.com/)

Search On Keyword Phrases In The Search Engines
Using your expanded list of keyword phrases, search for those terms in the
search engine databases. Note the number of search engine results. The more
results, typically the more competitive the term. See the differences in number
of search results for plural versions as opposed to singular versions of your
keywords in each engine. Note the descriptions that the search engine results
bring up - are there any keyword phrases there that might apply to your website?
Don't forget the ads Google displays in their search results. Study the ads that
come up with your search terms as well. While you are searching on your keyword
phrases, check your competitor's ranking, along with the new keyword phrase
variations you come up with through the Overture Keyword and WordTracker tools.

Add Keywords Reflecting Your Local Cities And State
You can also target local areas by including them in your title/meta tags and
text of your web pages. List only the cities and state you reside in and/or
provide services to. You never know who will be looking for a local contact
producer of "blue widgets" in your city or state. Some people prefer to work
with a local company. Adding in those type of specifics, even on your contact
page with your local information, can pull in traffic your local competitors are
missing.

Check Your Site Statistics
Last but certainly not least, check your search engine stats program or raw
server logs to see what terms your visitors are using to find your website.
There may be combinations of words your visitors are using you have not thought
of or that may not be in the content of your pages.

Incorporate Keyword Phrases Into Content Of Your Web Pages
Once you have your list of varied keyword phrases, work them into your web page. Incorporating these terms into your web pages should "make sense", in other
words, they should read well and not sound "spammy". Most of all, they should
realistically be part of the content of the page, not placed there only because
you need them in the content. Have another person read your copy to see if it
sounds reasonable to them.

Keyword Variations Make A Difference
Don't miss out on the keywords your competitors might miss. Those extra keywords
could translate into profits and increased viewing of your website by visitors
who might otherwise not find you.

Copyright © 2003 Search Innovation Marketing. All Rights Reserved.

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About the Author
Daria Goetsch is the founder and Search Engine Marketing Consultant for Search
Innovation Marketing (http://www.searchinnovation.com), a Search Engine
Promotion company serving small businesses. She has specialized in search engine optimization since 1998, including
three years as the Search Engine Specialist for O'Reilly & Associates, a
technical book publishing company.