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SEO Keyword Game - Your Assumptions Play A Role In Keyword Selection

Mar 5, 2008
Selecting and implementing the right keywords is usually one of the first tasks for readying a site for the search engines. Although the likely value of a keyword can be estimated in advance using various resources, it can only truly be measured in context i.e. once it has been in place on the site for a few months. Keywords selected in haste and without proper planning might lead to poor results in search engine rankings.

Whilst research may indicate that a keyword such as "traditional book binders" will deliver good rates of traffic, or that it will deliver less, but higher quality traffic, the verdict can't be made instantaneously. Also, for a niche site in a small market the value of a keyword will be entirely different to that of a site with a more generic proposition.

A major part of the decision-making process for selecting keywords is the understanding of searchers intent- and how that intent translates itself in a search. Given that there may be thousands of people looking for the same thing it would be wise to assume that there will be many permutations in the words used to try and find that particular thing.

In order to help research and understand the complex part that individual intent plays in searching Vertical Leap has created an SEO Keyword Game (http://www.vertical-leap.co.uk/seo-tools/seo-keyword-survey.asp). It's an online resource that requires the user to enter the search terms they would use to find the item pictured. Once a search term is entered it presents all the other search terms entered by other searchers, with an indication of the diversity, and number of searches.

In one example there is a simple product photograph of an mp3 player. If you were selecting keywords to get traffic for the image your own bias and assumptions would dictate what keywords you would apply. However, Vertical Leap's research shows that there are at least 21 different permutations that could be used. Remember, these results are human-tested, so contain misspellings:

1. mp3 player
2. usb
3. mp3
4. flash drive
5. usb key
6. usb mp3
7. usb mp3 player
8. flash memory
9. generic mp3 player
10. budget mp3 player
11. movil
12. memory stick
13. memorypen
14. USB memory mp3
15. pixel
16. mp3 plater
17. mp3 playetr
18. pen drive
19. usb memory stick
20. usb memory stick mp3 player
21. usb stick

So, what or where is the value of this keyword tool? While it can't give all the possible options for every object available on the internet (that is quite an impossible task) it does show how different people will use different keywords to search for what may seem like a more obvious choice to someone else.

It clearly presents the challenges faced in basing keyword research on your own set of assumptions, and it highlights some long tail alternatives. The images provided are fairly simple but the keywords that people use to find them may surprise you. It happens as each person determines the words to describe the image based on his/her own set of assumptions.
About the Author
Author: Joe is a campaign delivery manager with http://www.vertical-leap.co.uk/, an UK SEO company offering managed search engine marketing services. For more FREE seo tools please visit http://www.vertical-leap.co.uk/seo-tools/
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