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Armed now with knowledge on how to recognize and choose between different phrases there remains only one question, how do you know which phrases are even searched? Fortunately there are a couple great resources out there to help you find out how many searches are performed for specific phrases. They Are:
The Overture Search Term Suggestion Tool
A decent tool for researching keyword phrases. It indicates which phrases had highest numbers of searches on Overture during previous month. The biggest weakness it has, as far as applying it to natural search engines, is that Overture counts singular and plural as same and also corrects misspelling so totals are all lumped together in this tool whereas on natural engines they are considered differently.
WordTracker is very similar to Overture's Search Term Suggestion Tool except that this tool differentiates between plural and singular searches, does not correct spelling (i.e. it gives number of searches for misspellings rather than correcting them and giving a total for correct and misspelled words) and gives results in predicted numbers of searches over all engines per day rather than just one engine over a month.
They have a great free trial that doesn't give you as many results but which can be very useful.
When using these tools I recommend beginning with Overture Search term Suggestion Tool and once you've narrowed down your choices, switch to WordTracker to insure that you're getting right information in regards to tense (singular vs. plural) and also that numbers match. Sometimes you will find that numbers are completely different from each tool. In this event you will have to use your best judgment.
Don't forget to check misspellings when using WordTracker!
Tips & Tricks
There are no real "tricks" to uncovering keywords you should target however there are a few tips. A few pointers that will help you maximize your keyword selection:
- Think like a layman. Just because you know your industry terms doesn't mean that everyone does. Don't just think of words you use to describe your products/services, think of words you would use if you knew nothing about it other than fact that you needed it. You may want to recruit a friend and have them run some searches for you.
- Think like an expert. On other side of coin, there may be phrases used specifically in your industry that people "in know" would use to search for your products and/or services. Be sure to look into these phrases. You just may find some hidden gems that no one else has thought to target.
- Don't target too many phrases. Some SEOs and webmasters target dozens and sometimes even hundreds of phrases. The end result, they often miss ones they most wanted to attain. Keeping yourself and your keyword list focused will keep your site focused. If your site is focused you'll rank higher for phrases that will produce highest return on investment.
Test your phrases. If there is any debate about whether a search phrase is worth targeting it's often a good idea to test conversions through pay-per-click engines. Set up an account with a PPC engine and bid on phrases that you would like to target.
You have to remember that PPC engines do not provide for same amount of traffic as natural engines. Test initial phrases, test alternative phrases, and see which produce best results. Something else to keep in mind is that PPC are not natural engines. If your ROI is not as high on more costly phrases that doesn't mean they won't produce higher return on natural engines where a top ranking does not cost money per click.
In end you will have confirmed a solid list of keyword phrases and if PPC campaign is providing a good return on investment you might as well keep it running and enjoy "bonus" traffic that it provides.
Next week in part two of our "Ten Steps To an Optimized Website" series we will be covering content. This will cover everything from optimization of existing content to creation of new content for your website.
Dave Davies is the owner of Beanstalk Search Engine Positioning. He has been optimizing and ranking websites for over three years and has a solid history of success. Dave is available to answer any questions that you may have about your website and how to get it into the top positions on the major search engines.