Keep the search engines happy!
Website traffic received from people finding you in search engine and directory listings is a beautiful thing. Not only is it cheaper than advertising, you automatically have motivated prospects, assuming the search term they entered is the main topic of the page on your site that they land on. It’s many times more difficult to rank on the first three pages of results than it was just a couple years ago, due to the exponential growth of the web. Use every tool at your disposal to shoot for the top!
Generate a list of keywords
Keywords and keyword phrases are the “search terms” entered into Yahoo or Google or any other listing of sites. If your site is built to satisfy human visitors, you’re off to a good start with the search engines as well, but a little tweaking can squeeze out a lot more visitors. Any word or phrase that someone may use to refer to a subject should be considered as part of the text in the page(s) discussing it. When keywords are part of your text, you have a chance of appearing in search engine results for those keywords. When you don’t specifically include them in your text, you’ll be out in the cold.
If there are lots of possibilities, the most popular and targeted words or expressions should be incorporated to increase your odds for the most traffic possible. For example, a website for “used cars” should consider
various synonyms such as “autos”, “automobiles”, “sedans”, “pre-owned cars”, and particular makes and models. Any one page could use several terms interchangeably or distinct pages could be created for each term. Your home page can contain more general terms and supporting pages will target more specifics.
Analysis of “key phrases” is a critical step for both SEO and SEM (Search Engine Marketing = Pay Per Click marketing) so it is doubly important. Both entail determining what potential customers type when looking for information and using those exact words and phrases to increase visibility in the search results for the most relevant terms for your business. Yes, web surfers help you write your text!
Generate a list of your keywords, considering technical terms, common usage, and even slang terms and phrases since different people will search for your product in different ways. Prior to finalizing your text, research, brainstorm, visit other websites, check a thesaurus for synonyms, ask your friends and definitely use tools such as the Google Keyword Tool. For many sites, your state or city or town can be an important keyword, since surfers may type in a search for “buy cars in Boston”.
The Google Keyword Tool is the top device for helping you climb the charts, and is free! Enter what you feel is a generic phrase into the Keyword Variations Tab and your results are the most important terms (when ranked by ‘search volume’) for that topic which searchers use to describe it. For pay per click advertising, it even shows the terms where there is the greatest and least competition.
Google Traffic Estimator is also free and uses historical results to predict traffic for selected phrases. WordTracker is another popular tool for determining keywords. Abakus Topword Key Phrase Density checker can also assist with creation of “Title” and “META tags”. These are important coded instructions that appear in the invisible, or HEAD section of a web page and are used by Search Engines to help “index” the page in appropriate SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages). Finally, SEObook website provides a search volume comparison tool.
Search term comparison is a great way to compare popularity of terms and company names, so you can concentrate on including the terms most likely to be searched for. Use the free tool: Google Trends.
Choose your favorite tools and go ahead and ask your customers what they search for!