Search Engine Keywords Selection

Search Engine Keywords Selection
By: chrono stock

Search Engine Keywords Selection

Search engines are the vehicles that drive potential

customers to your websites. But in order for visitors to

reach their destination - your website - you need to

provide them with specific and effective signs that will

direct them right to your site. You do this by creating

carefully chosen keywords.

Think of the right keywords as the Open Sesame! of the

Internet. Find the exactly right words or phrases, and

presto! hoards of traffic will be pulling up to your front

door. But if your keywords are too general or too

over-used, the possibility of visitors actually making it

all the way to your site - or of seeing any real profits

from the visitors that do arrive - decreases dramatically.

Your keywords serve as the foundation of your marketing

strategy. If they are not chosen with great precision, no

matter how aggressive your marketing campaign may be, the

right people may never get the chance to find out about it.

So your first step in plotting your strategy is to gather

and evaluate keywords and phrases.

You probably think you already know EXACTLY the right words

for your search phrases. Unfortunately, if you haven't

followed certain specific steps, you are probably WRONG.

It's hard to be objective when you are right in the center

of your business network, which is the reason that you may

not be able to choose the most efficient keywords from the

inside. You need to be able 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 you can. You will most

likely find out that your understanding of your business

and your customers' understanding is significantly


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 from deep inside the

trenches of your business.

Only after you have gathered as many words and phrases from

outside resources should you add your own keyword to the

list. Once you have this list in hand, you are ready for

the next step: evaluation.

The aim of evaluation is to narrow down your list to a

small number of words and phrases that will direct the

highest number of quality visitors to your website. By

"quality visitors" I mean those consumers who are most

likely to make a purchase rather than just cruise around

your site and take off for greener pastures. In evaluating

the effectiveness of keywords, bear in mind 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 which will then bring up your URL.

You can now purchase software that will rate the popularity

of keywords and phrases by giving words a number rating

based on real search engine activity. Software such as

WordTracker will even suggest variations of your words and

phrases. The higher the number this software assigns to a

given keyword, the more traffic you can logically expect to

be directed to your site. The only fallacy with this

concept is the more popular the keyword is, the greater the

search engine position you will need to obtain. If you are

down at the bottom of the search results, the consumer will

probably never scroll down to find you.

Popularity isn't enough to declare a keyword a good choice.

You must move on to the next criteria, which is

specificity. The more specific your keyword is, the greater

the likelihood that the consumer who is ready to purchase

your goods or services will find you.

Let's look at a hypothetical example. Imagine that 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 nevertheless serve you much better. Instead of

getting a slew of people interested in everything from

buying a car to changing their oil filters, you will get

only those consumers with trashed front ends or crumpled

fenders being directed to your site. In other words,

consumers ready to buy your services are the ones who will

immediately find you. Not only that, but the greater the

specificity of your keyword is, 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 is searching for a 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 in? The second one, of course! Using the second

keyword targets people who have decided on their career,

have 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 beer parties. You want to find people

who are ready to act or make a purchase, and this requires

subtle tinkering of your keywords until your find the most

specific and directly targeted phrases to bring the most

motivated traffic to you site.

Once you have chosen your keywords, your work is not done.

You must continually evaluate performance across a variety

of search engines, bearing in mind that times and trends

change, 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. There is now software available that

analyzes consumer behavior in relation to consumer traffic.

This allows you to discern which keywords are bringing you

the most valuable customers.

This is an essential concept: numbers alone do not make a

good keyword; profits per visitor do. You need to 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


Ongoing analysis of tested keywords is the formula for

search engine success. This may sound like a lot of work -

and it is! But the amount of informed effort you put into

your keyword campaign is what will ultimately generate your

business' rewards.

Charles Preston is President of Click Response a website marketing firm that focuses on better ROI for small businesses and affordable search engine optimization solutions. Search engine optimization and compelling marketing copy is the key to small business success online.

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