(Note: This podcast was originally published 1n 2006 under another domain name – bastioninternet.com/blog. In 2010, the blog was later migrated to this site. Some links may be outdated or there may be issues with RSS feeds)
In Search Engine Optimization part 3 we discuss how to determine the best keyword and keyword phrase targets. This will focus your site on the best terms to increase your rankings in the search engines.
1) Why Keyword Phrases are important.
The search engines and searchers are all focused on them – at least for now.
2) How to determine what phrases you want to target
Look at the nouns and adjectives that describe your company. Modify and qualify with industry niches, geographic locations, and alternate phrasing.
3) Technical processes to determine which phrases and terms to target
A few methods to see which terms are going to give you the biggest bang with the least competition.
4) Ensuring your website is being developed and maintained to take advantage of keywords in search.
Make sure your site is heading in the right direction
Some quick links I refer to:
– Yahoo Search Marketing tools
My Odeo Channel (odeo/1bf9f36afb79290e)
Download the Podcast here:
Subscribe to Drive It – Convert It! here:
Read the full transcript here …
Hi and welcome to Drive It – Convert It, for May 12, 2006. This is episode #5.
Search Engine Optimization – Part 3 – Keyword Targeting.
Drive It – Convert It! is the podcast where Small and Medium Sized businesses learn the marketing strategies and tactics behind Driving More Traffic to your website and Converting that Traffic into qualified and identifiable leads and sales.
Drive it, convert it.
I’m John Boulter. I’m the president of Bastion Internet and podcasts, show notes, and transcripts can be found at BastionInternet.com/podcast. That’s B A S T I O N internet.com/podcast.
Today we’re going to look at how to determine your keyword targets. I’ll give you a solid background for strategy and some great tips to get you up to speed.
If you’re a returning visitor – welcome back. If you’re new, welcome aboard. I appreciate the emails you’re sending and hope I’ve been able to answer some of your further questions. If you want to send an email – please do – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last episode we discussed on-page coding of your website. The basics and strategy behind making sure your site is properly coded to get you great results.
But that’s yesterday’s news, isn’t it. We are onto the exciting world of Keyword Targeting
This is the 3rd in my Search Engine Optimization series. The purpose of the series is to get you familiar with the main components of optimizing your website for the search engines. This series is meant to build your base knowledge from a strategic standpoint while giving you some technical background and tips to get everything meshed into place.
What I’d like you to take away from our Keyword Targeting episode is this:
1) Why Keyword Phrases are important – seems obvious but I’ll address it never-the-less
2) How to determine what phrases you want to target – a little trickier
3) Some technical basics on which phrases and terms to target
4) From a strategic level – how to ensure your website is being developed and maintained to take advantage of keywords in search.
1) Why are keywords and key phrases important. Well, if you want to be found in the search engines, you want your site to be optimized for what your potential customers are likely to search for.
I’m a pretty big fan of content. If you have a lot of content (that’s mostly revolving around text), you can’t help but to include a lot of top keywords and keyword phrases. It will be pretty natural in your writing. However, there are so many sites out there, that if you want to rank highly and drive qualified traffic to your site, you need to make sure you’re putting the odds in your favor.
You need to write content with keywords in mind (listen to show number 3 for more on content). You also need to have your on-page coding focused on your keywords (listen to show number 4 for more on that).
So currently at least, the world is searching on specific words and finding you based on those words. That may change somewhat in the future, but that’s how it is now and likely won’t stray too far from that at least in the near future.
There is a lot of discussion regarding the various search engine companies’ efforts to get better at analyzing synonyms and using that as a weighting factor for relevance. We also have some big tagging trends. However, the principles of determining targeted terms are going to remain largely the same.
2) Determining your phrases
Well, it boils down to nouns and adjectives. So if you still keep in touch with you elementary school teacher, they could be a very good resource here.
Nouns represent the broader terms. Adjectives will narrow or refine those terms.
So, lets say you run a catering business, your nouns might be
Now let’s add some adjectives
– birthday, business, wedding, graduation
So you have 4 nouns and 4 adjective. That should give us 16 potential terms if we mix and match –
And so on.
Now some terms won’t make much sense or they’ll be too unusual or too generic. You’ll eventually have to weigh your assets and resources versus your terms. In other words you’ll want to get the biggest bang for your buck. But let’s not worry about that now. More on that later.
Some other adjective categories can include industries or potentially a geographic focus
Los Angeles wedding catering
So if you specialize or have niches, those will be very important. Your level of catering (no pun intended) to your niches, will often depend on how competitive the broader terms are. If you can’t score highly on the broader term, go for the niche term.
You’ll also want to consider some company specific terms like brands, company names, product names, and the like.
Additionally, you might need to substitute “Catering” for “Caterer”
So pretty soon you can have a really big list. It doesn’t take long to get up to 100 or 200 phrases.
Even so, you’ll also want to check out your competitors. What words and terms are they focusing on.
Let’s spend a minute to talk about that.
Next time you have access to the web, type a term into Google or Yahoo or MSN that you think you’d like to rank highly for. See who comes up near the top. Pick one of the higher results (make sure it’s one of the free or organic listings and not a paid or sponsored listing). Go to that company and check out their pages. Look at their Title Tags. Look at their Meta Tag Keywords. Look at their main content H1 headings.
If you’re unsure of how to do any of that, download the last Drive It – Convert It podcast – show number 4 – or visit the show notes at bastioninternet.com/podcast. I’ve got some instructions on how to do those things.
See if your competitors have thought of any good terms that you don’t already have on your list.
Now down the road, as people come to your site through searches or pay per click ads, you’ll also get additional information on what your web visitors are also typing into the search boxes through analyzing your log files and statistics reports.
A great final contributor can be your current customers. Ask them what they’d search for to find the type of services you offer. Often you and your competitors are so into what you’re doing and are so familiar with the buzz words of your own industry that you miss a lot of the terms that might be common with potential customers but aren’t in your industry’s jargon list.
For example, we may find that your target market for “Los Angeles Wedding Catering” is far more likely to search for “food for wedding receptions in LA”
So bounce some keywords off your customers.
Anyway, by now you’re going to have a pretty comprehensive list.
3) Now we need use a little technology to find the biggest bang for our buck.
There are lots of ways to do this. I’m going to cover a few basic yet fairly comprehensive ways.
– first, we’ll rank the popularity of our terms
– second, we’ll look at the competitiveness of ranking for that term
– finally, we’ll look at the vulnerability of our competition where that term is concerned
So we’ll start by listing our terms. Putting them into an Excel spreadsheet can be a pretty easy method.
Then you’ll want to navigate to the Yahoo Search Marketing tool:
http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com/rc/srch/ (and yes, I’ll have that posted on the show transcripts page at bastioninternet.com/podcast
now go to the “Keyword Selector Tool” under the Tools selection. This tool provides counts of how many Yahoo searchers searched on particular terms in the past month.
Cut and past each term from your spreadsheet into the tool and see what the results are. Now this is better used to judge the relative quality behind the terms. Which terms are more popular than others. Don’t use the raw number to make too many judgments. They can be off. Plus, this is only one engine with about 25% of the search market share.
So I find that “Wedding Catering” returned 4466.
“Wedding Caterer” returned 5063
“Wedding Caterer” was a little higher.
Now, “Los Angeles Wedding Caterer” returned 54
Add the results to your spreadsheet.
Second, let’s look at the relative competitiveness. Do this one of two ways.
If you’ve got a Pay Per Click account with Google or Yahoo, you can use their traffic estimators and bid tools to see how much people are willing to pay for the term. That gives you an indication of how competitive it is.
Or, go to Google and do a special search. Type in allintitle: yourterm
That will show you how many pages out there are also doing a level of optimization for that term.
Once again, these are more useful as relative ranking indicators.
Los Angeles Wedding Caterer 37
Wedding Caterer 11,400
Wedding Catering 73,200
So we see that Wedding Caterer is far less competitive than Wedding Catering, yet Wedding Caterer is actually searched on slightly more according to our Yahoo Keyword tool
So if our site truly would be relevant to someone searching for a Wedding Caterer, then we would do well to optimize for that term above wedding catering. Now we may likely optimize for both in this case, but you get the idea.
Additionally, adding the qualifier “Los Angeles” resulting in 1/100th of the popularity, but about 1/300th of the competition.
Another reason we’ll need to prioritize our terms regards linking anchor text.
In the next Podcast – we’ll look at linking. We may have to make choices as to how and where to get links to our site. At that point, we’ll need to prioritize search terms. So knowing that Caterer is a better bet than Catering is going to help us make some decisions.
Third – we need to see if it’s viable to displace whomever is ranking now for our target term. This gets a little trickier to do if you aren’t in this game as a professional.
Here’s a couple of quickie ways.
View the top 5 sites. Look at their content. Look at their on-page coding. Then get an idea of how many sites are linking to them. Do this by going to Yahoo and typing “linkdomain:http://www.TheSiteName.xxx). See how many links to that domain it shows. Do the same for all the sites. Are the number of links in the hundreds (manageable), thousands (a lot tougher), the 10s of thousands (lookout).
Get an overall feel for what kind of sites you’re up against. Judge them on content, on-page coding, and link popularity.
Let’s move on to
4) Reviewing your overall site strategy.
As the owner of your business or as a marketer for your company, it’s important that you set a tone for how your website is evolving. Your site needs to have focus. It also needs to have depth if you’re to do well over time in the area of Search Engine Optimization. Make sure that you are developing enough content to cover off many potential search terms.
If geographic adjectives are important to people wanting to do business with a company like yours, make sure you have sections that will focus on that. If you serve different industries and your likely customers will be including those type of terms in their searches, make sure you have sections devoted to those industries.
As search and the web gets more and more crowded and as searchers become more sophisticated, they’ll be lengthening the number of words they use for a search query. Get ahead of the game by having more content and focused content.
A final reason you’re going to need to prioritize search terms is that you likely you won’t have the resources to do everything at once.
Key in on the most popular terms that are relevant to your site where you believe the competition is vulnerable.
However, don’t forget that the narrow terms often convert better. A person searching for Los Angeles Wedding Caterer and finding your Los Angeles based business is more likely to Convert than someone from St. Louis searching for the broader term Wedding Caterer and finding your Los Angeles based site.
That wraps up episode #5 – Keyword Targeting.
Next episode will be Part 4 of driving traffic to your site through Search Engine Optimization. It will be “All About Linking”. Getting links is huge right now and will definitely be an ongoing contributor to your overall SEO success.
Be sure to download that podcast. Look for new podcasts every 2nd week or so from me. Occasionally, if I’m really flying, maybe as frequent as once a week. But you just need to subscribe to the podcast and you’ll get it as soon as it comes out without having to always check.
So subscribe to Drive It – Convert It!, and automatically download episode number 6 when it comes out. You can follow the subscription links on our site. Or if you use iTunes, do a search for drive it convert it and pick us up there.
I’m John Boulter, for Bastion Internet’s Drive It – Convert It! Podcast.
Visit us at bastioninternet.com or Email us at email@example.com.