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Search Engine Keywords Phrase Selection

Aug 4, 2008
Search engines are the vehicles that drive potential customers to your websites. Specific and effective road signs are needed to direct these visitors to your site. You do this by creating carefully chosen keywords. The right keywords are, to phrase it lightly, the 'Open Sesame!' of the Internet.

The right words or phrases will bring an unlimited amount of traffic to your site. However, if your keywords are too general or over-used, the possibility of visitors actually making it the way to your site, or of you seeing any real profits from the visitors who do arrive, decreases at a dramatic rate.

Your keywords serve as the foundation of your marketing strategy. If they are not chosen carefully, the right people may never get the chance to find out about your marketing campaign regardless of how carefully planned and effective it may be. Your first step in plotting your strategy is to gather and evaluate keywords and phrases.

You probably think you already know the exact words to use for your search phrases. Unfortunately, if you haven't followed certain specific steps, you are probably wrong. Objectivity is difficult when you are in the midst of your business network, which is why you may not be able to choose the most efficient keywords from the inside.

You need to think like your customers. And since you are a business owner and not the consumer, your best bet is to go directly to the source.

Instead of plunging in and scribbling down a list of potential search words and phrases yourself, ask for words from as many potential customers as possible. You will most likely find out that your perspective of your business differs significantly from that of your customers.

The consumer is an invaluable resource. You will find the words you accumulate from them are words and phrases you probably never would have considered. Only after you have gathered as many words and phrases from outside resources should you add your own keywords to the list. Once you have this list prepared, you are ready for the next step: evaluation.

The aim of the evaluation process is to narrow down your list to a small number of words and phrases that will direct the highest number of quality visitors, or those consumers who are most likely to make a purchase rather than just cruise around your site and take off for greener pastures, to your website.

In evaluating the effectiveness of keywords, bear in mind these three elements: popularity, specificity, and motivation.

Popularity is the easiest to evaluate because it is an objective quality. The more popular your keyword is, the more likely the chances are that it will be typed into a search engine likely to direct visitors to your URL. You can purchase software that will rate the popularity of keywords and phrases by giving words a number rating based on genuine search engine activity. Software such as WordTracker will suggest variations of your words and phrases.

The higher the number this software assigns to a given keyword, the more traffic you can expect to be directed to your site. The only fallacy with this idea is that the more popular the keyword is, the greater the search engine position you must obtain. If you are down at the bottom of the search results, the consumer likely will never scroll down to find you.

Specificity is also important. The more specific a keyword is, the more likely that the consumer who is ready to purchase your goods or services will find you. Let's look at a hypothetical example. Say you have obtained popularity rankings for the keyword "automobile companies." However, you company specializes in bodywork only. The keyword "automobile body shops" would rank lower on the popularity scale than "automobile companies," but it would serve you much better.

Instead of getting a slew of people interested in everything from buying a car to changing oil filters, you will attract only those consumers with trashed front ends or crumpled fenders. In other words, consumers prepared to buy your services are the ones who will find you immediately. Not only that, but the greater the specificity of your keyword, the less competition you will face.

The third factor is consumer motivation. Once again, this requires putting yourself inside the mind of the customer rather than the seller to figure out what motivation prompts a person looking for a service or product to type in a particular word or phrase. Let's look at another example, such as a consumer who seeks job as an IT manager in a new city.

If you have to choose between "Seattle job listings" and "Seattle IT recruiters," which do you think will benefit the consumer more? If you were looking for this type of specific job, which keyword would you type into a search engine? The second one, naturally, as it targets people who have decided on their career, have earned the necessary experience, and are ready to enlist you as their recruiter, rather than someone just out of school who is casually trying to figure out what to do with his or her life in between keg parties.

You want to find people who are ready to act or make a purchase, and this requires subtle tinkering of your keywords until you find the most specific and directly targeted phrases to bring the most motivated traffic to your site.

Once you have chosen your keywords, your work is not done. You must evaluate performance across a variety of search engines on a continuous basis, bearing in mind that times and trends shift, as does popular lingo. You cannot rely on your log traffic analysis alone because it will not tell you how many of your visitors actually made a purchase.

Luckily, some new tools have been invented to help you judge the effectiveness of your keywords in individual search engines. Software is now available that analyzes consumer behavior in relation to consumer traffic. This allows you to discern which keywords are bringing you the most valuable customers.

After all, numbers alone do not make a good keyword; profits per visitor do. You must find keywords that direct consumers to your site who actually buy your product, fill out your forms, or download your product. This is the most important factor in evaluating the efficacy of a keyword or phrase, and should be the sword you wield when discarding and replacing ineffective or inefficient keywords with keywords that bring in better profits.

Ongoing analysis of tested keywords is the formula for search engine success. Although this is a labor-intensive process, the amount of informed effort you put into your keyword campaign will ultimately generate your business' rewards.
About the Author
Garey Simmons writes about
Search Engine Optimization
from personal experience. Having spent countless hours
working with an SEO and how to market his many
business online, Garey has lots of tips to share. For a Free Report 'Business
Owners Fear SEO' go to http://SEOCoach.Net
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