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Keywords and key phrases

February 28, 2004

If you want your website to rank high in the search engines and, most importantly, if you want it to be relevant to the products and services you offer, then this article is for you.

The accurate identification, the proper selection and the final placement of the right keywords and key phrases on your site will be the determining factor for the rankings the search engines will give you.

Keywords and key phrases are the words on your web site that need to match these search terms in order for your site to drive targeted traffic to your business. Targeted traffic equals qualified prospects which in turn will convert into sales.

If you have participated in a good Reciprocal Link Exchange program, your web site should now have a good Page Rank and link popularity. Now is the right time to get that targeted visitor traffic into your business! The appropriate selection of these important keywords and key phrases can literally make or break any website.

Keyword marketing definition
The best way to define keyword marketing is simply words or short phrases which a user enters into a particular search engine or directory in order to find information relating directly to the subject of that person's particular interest. A key phrase is a combination of both keywords and adjectives. Why are keywords so important to search engine optimization? Well, those exact keywords form the basis for any web site as they produce a great impact in the search engine listings and rankings.

To better explain this, let's use an example which may simplify things a bit. We know that a search engine user enters a particular keyword or key phrase in a search box in a major search engine such as Google, Yahoo or MSN, in an effort to find web sites relating to the subject of interest. That person is only interested in search results that are relevant to his or her query.

In conjunction with the search engine's complex algorithm, keywords will determine which web site and which page in that web site is relevant to the exact keyword used in the query. Keywords are a very important aspect in implementing any search engine optimization. SEO companies such as Rank for $ales spend a considerable amount of time, energy and human resources just to determine these important, relevant keywords as they uniquely apply to that particular market sector or industry.

Let's assume a user is interested in purchasing certain IBM computer peripherals. He or she would type in "IBM computer peripherals" in a search engine. Some sites related to the search keyphrase would be listed in the SERP's (Search Engine Results Pages). Now if the user types in "Dell computer peripherals", some entirely different results would be expected in the SERP's.

From this we can infer that the probability of a site getting listed in a search result to some extent is highly dependent on the exact keywords and key phrases used. Also different users may use different search key phrases or keywords while searching.

A site named computer peripherals may get listed for a key phrase "low-cost computer peripherals" typed by user 'A' and the same may not be listed for the key phrase "Low priced computer peripherals" typed by user 'B' in the search results. Why? Well simply because the search engine searches for documents or pages containing the key phrase "low-cost" only, as the keyword and returns those documents or web pages that contain the keyword "low-cost".

Since the site used "low-cost" as the keyword and did not use "low priced" even once in any one of the pages, it gets listed for the former search query.

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Finally, keywords or key phrases to some extent are useful in determining the relevance and the search engine rankings of a web site. So the question is, what should a person put in it's keywords? The keywords and key phrases used should primarily describe and represent the content and the relevance of the particular page in which they are placed.

The keywords and key phrases used may contain the appropriate technical words relative to the subject and can also include any adjectives relating to the context. To ensure top search engine rankings, a careful research about the keywords keeping the end user in perspective is extremely important.

How do you define a keyword or key phrase? For effective search engine optimization of your web site, keywords should be formulated for each and every page. We define the keywords and key phrases that best describe the content of the page. Put yourself in the shoes of the web visitor and frame the keywords this user will use to find sites similar to yours.

That way, you can phrase relevant keywords in a very reliable and easy manner for each page. Since we went into business in 1997, and after having successfully optimized more than 3,000 web sites, we can tell you that the secret to get top search engine rankings is to concentrate on keywords and key phrases.

In the old days of the Internet, almost all search engines used to rely heavily on meta tags. Today, the only search engine which still gives a small importance to meta tags is Inktomi. The present scenario has changed a lot and each search engine has developed their own algorithm in ranking a web site. For example, Google relies mainly on its PageRank™ and link popularity algorithm, in combination with its Hilltop™ algorithm and a combination of other proprietary technologies used in its many data centers.

The Wordtracker professional search tool
If you are like most people, you might find that searching through various databases on your typical working day could be very time consuming, to say the least. Instead, what we use at Rank for $ales is the Wordtracker professional search tool. Today, WordTracker is the best and the most popular fee-based keyword and key phrase analyzer on the Internet and is used by most serious search engine optimization professionals we know of. We use it daily and we have no idea how we could ever achieve the work we do without such an important resource.

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WordTracker is based on meta search queries made by ordinary people searching the web everyday, which means that the keyword and key phrase combinations found are much more reliable than the pay-per-click listings generated by the Overture suggestion tool. Over time, we have also found that the data generated is also more objective. The Wordtracker database is compiled everyday and represents about 2 billion searches made by real people in the last 60 days. This data comes from meta data search directories such as Dogpile and the like.

To help prevent spam, most of the search engines are now tending towards more advanced, complex algorithms. These algorithms today undoubtedly form the basis for effective search engine optimization. Before you do any type of search engine marketing, you have to understand your target audience and know exactly the search terms they are using.

Once you know the precise search terms being utilized, these can be included in the content of your Web site as keywords and key phrases, with the assurance that your site will significantly improve its search rankings, both in the short as well as the long-term.


Article written by Serge Thibodeau,
President & CEO,
Rank for $ales
Copyright (c) Serge Thibodeau 2004

(Updated from my previously published article of April 2001).

Unless otherwise specified, all content and material on this site is copyrighted by Serge Thibodeau of rankforsales.com and may not be reproduced by any means without express written permission. Using my content without permission is a theft of my work. Please contact sthibodeau@rankforsales.com to discuss certain reprint options that would be acceptable.

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Rank for $ales strongly recommends the use of WordTracker to effectively identify all your right industry keywords. Accurate identification of the right keywords and key phrases used in your industry is the first basic step in any serious search engine optimization program. The keywords you think are the best may be totally different than the ones recommended by WordTracker. Click here to start your keyword and key phrase research.

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