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Use Your Keywords For Top Ten Success

Use Your Keywords For Top Ten Success

Teacher: David Carter

The key to the success of your online business - or any other business for that matter - is to attract targeted traffic to your business, ie in the case of an online business your web site.

One way of generating targeted traffic from the search engines is through the use of the "keyword" meta tag. This meta tag is used when your site is indexed by all the major search engines with the exception of Excite, Google, Lycos and Northern Light (but not directories like Yahoo), and is one of the elements taken into consideration when the engine decides how high - or low - your site will be listed.

Deciding upon which actual keywords to use for your site will have a critical bearing not only on your position in the engines, but on the level and quality of visitors to your site. If you just guess them, the chances of generating the traffic you want are slim to zero.

So how do you decide what your keywords should be? Here are five steps you should take that will help you to pick the most appropriate words.

1) Put yourself in your visitors shoes.

Imagine that you are a potential client trying to find your site. What words would they use in a search to find you? Think about it and make a list. Try and think beyond the obvious, consider using a Thesaurus to come up with slightly less common alternatives.

2) Do a search using those terms.

Go to the search engines and do a search using the list you've just made. Do the sites that come up in the top thirty look like they are appealing to the audience you are trying to reach? If so, you're obviously on the right track. Look at the keywords these sites are using (use "view source" in your browser) and see if there are any keywords they are using that could be suitable for your own site. If so, add them to your list but don't just copy the keywords from the top couple of sites and use them for your own site, it's unlikely that you'll get the same results, not to mention that it's unethical.

If you don't want to do this exercise manually, there is software available that you can use. I use Web Position Gold http://www.webmastersdirectory.com/webposition/ which I would highly recommend, but there are alternative products on the market such as Topdogg http://www.topdogg.com

3) Use words that you know people are searching for.

Make sure that you are using words that surfers are actually using. There are a number of companies that will provide you with details of the top 200 or so search words that are currently being used. Three of them are WordSpot at http://www.wordspot.com , Wordtracker at http://www.wordtracker.com/index.php and mall-net at http://www.mall-net.com/se_report/ .

Another source is Meta Spy at http://www.metaspy.com .

MetaSpy shows you in real time the searches actually being performed on MetaCrawler.

A list of the previous month's top 100 popular search terms can also be found at goto.com at http://goto.com/d/top100/index.jhtml

4) Use phrases not just individual words.

A lot of web surfers don't just use one word, they use two or more words or phrases. An excellent source of the phrases used is the suggestion tool at goto.com which you will find at http://inventory.go2.com/inventory/searchInventory.mp

As an example, here are some of the alternatives that goto produced for the phrase "making money":

  • making money on the internet
  • money making
  • money making opportunity
  • making money at home
  • making money online
  • making money on the web

In addition to suggesting the phrases, goto also tells you how

many people searched on that term in the previous month. As goto.com currently accounts for 2.8% of all search engine searches, if you multiply the goto figure by 36, it will give you an estimate of the total number of people on the web using that particular search term.

5) Be specific.

The more specific you are with your keywords or phrases, the better chance you have of a higher listing because there is less competition for your keyword.

For example, suppose you are in the travel business, so you decide on "travel" as a keyword. If you used that search term on AltaVista, you would find that it would come up with 19,933,327 sites - that's a lot of competition.

Perhaps you only do flights - well "flights" would bring the number of sites down to 727,490 , still a lot but a step in the right direction. "Airfares" would bring it down again to 195,390. Are your flights cheap? If they are then "cheap flights" would have you competing with 7,692 sites, "cheap airfares" halves that again to 2,943.

Do you specialise in flights to Europe? If you do then you'll find you are competing with 649 sites. But if your flights to Europe are cheap, you'll find that "cheap flights to Europe" competes with just 13 sites. Alternatively, "cheap airfares to Europe" lists just six sites.

So instead of competing with nearly 20 million "travel" sites, be specific with your keywords and you could end up in the top ten.

When I started writing this article, I didn't expect to find such a dramatic example. But I'm sure it can't be the only case. Perhaps when you start thinking about your own keywords you'll have the same success.

About the teacher:
David Carter is the webmaster of the Webmasters Directory
He is also the publisher of
Web Essentials, a straight talking weekly newsletter full of news, reviews and tips to help you succeed in your online business.

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