5 Choosing keywords
5.1 Initially choosing keywords
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Choosing keywords should be your first step when constructing a site. You
should have the keyword list available to incorporate into your site text before
you start composing it. To define your site keywords, you should use seo
services offered by search engines in the first instance. Sites such as
are good starting places for English language sites. Note that the data they
provide may sometimes differ significantly from what keywords are actually the
best for your site. You should also note that the Google search engine does not
give information about frequency of search queries.
After you have defined your approximate list of initial keywords, you can
analyze your competitor’s sites and try to find out what keywords they are
using. You may discover some further relevant keywords that are suitable for
your own site.
5.2 Frequent and rare keywords
There are two distinct strategies – optimize for a small number of highly
popular keywords or optimize for a large number of less popular words. In
practice, both strategies are often combined.
The disadvantage of keywords that attract frequent queries is that the
competition rate is high for them. It is often not possible for a new site to
get anywhere near the top of search result listings for these queries.
For keywords associated with rare queries, it is often sufficient just to
mention the necessary word combination on a web page or to perform minimum text
optimization. Under certain circumstances, rare queries can supply quite a large
amount of search traffic.
The aim of most commercial sites is to sell some product or service or to
make money in some way from their visitors. This should be kept in mind during
your seo (search engine optimization) work and keyword selection. If you are
optimizing a commercial site then you should try to attract targeted visitors
(those who are ready to pay for the offered product or service) to your site
rather than concentrating on sheer numbers of visitors.
Example. The query “monitor” is much more popular and competitive than the
query “monitor Samsung 710N” (the exact name of the model). However, the second
query is much more valuable for a seller of monitors. It is also easier to get
traffic from it because its competition rate is low; there are not many other
sites owned by sellers of Samsung 710N monitors. This example highlights another
possible difference between frequent and rare search queries that should be
taken into account – rare search queries may provide you with less visitors
overall, but more targeted visitors.
5.3 Evaluating the competition rates of search queries
When you have finalized your keywords list, you should identify the core
keywords for which you will optimize your pages. A suggested technique for this
Rare queries are discarded at once (for the time being). In the previous
section, we described the usefulness of such rare queries but they do not
require special optimization. They are likely to occur naturally in your website
As a rule, the competition rate is very high for the most popular phrases.
This is why you need to get a realistic idea of the competitiveness of your
site. To evaluate the competition rate you should estimate a number of
parameters for the first 10 sites displayed in search results:
- The average PageRank of the pages in the search results.
- The average number of links to these sites. Check this using a variety of
- The number of pages on the Internet that contain the particular search
term, the total number of search results for that search term.
- The number of pages on the Internet that contain exact matches to the
keyword phrase. The search for the phrase is bracketed by quotation marks to
obtain this number.
These additional parameters allow you to indirectly evaluate how difficult it
will be to get your site near the top of the list for this particular phrase. As
well as the parameters described, you can also check the number of sites present
in your search results in the main directories, such as DMOZ and Yahoo.
The analysis of the parameters mentioned above and their comparison with
those of your own site will allow you to predict with reasonable certainty the
chances of getting your site to the top of the list for a particular phrase.
Having evaluated the competition rate for all of your keyword phrases, you
can now select a number of moderately popular key phrases with an acceptable
competition rate, which you can use to promote and optimize your site.
5.4 Refining your keyword phrases
As mentioned above, search engine services often give inaccurate keyword
information. This means that it is unusual to obtain an optimum set of site
keywords at your first attempt. After your site is up and running and you have
carried out some initial promotion, you can obtain additional keyword
statistics, which will facilitate some fine-tuning. For example, you will be
able to obtain the search results rating of your site for particular phrases and
you will also have the number of visits to your site for these phrases.
With this information, you can clearly define the good and bad keyword
phrases. Often there is no need to wait until your site gets near the top of all
search engines for the phrases you are evaluating – one or two search engines
Example. Suppose your site occupies first place in the Yahoo search engine
for a particular phrase. At the same time, this site is not yet listed in MSN,
or Google search results for this phrase. However, if you know the percentage of
visits to your site from various search engines (for instance, Google – 70%,
Yahoo – 20%, MSN search – 10%), you can predict the approximate amount of
traffic for this phrase from these other searches engines and decide whether it
As well as detecting bad phrases, you may find some new good ones. For
example, you may see that a keyword phrase you did not optimize your site for
brings useful traffic despite the fact that your site is on the second or third
page in search results for this phrase.
Using these methods, you will arrive at a new refined set of keyword phrases.
You should now start reconstructing your site: Change the text to include more
of the good phrases, create new pages for new phrases, etc.
You can repeat this seo exercise several times and, after a while, you will
have an optimum set of key phrases for your site and considerably increased
Here are some more tips. According to statistics, the main page takes up to
30%-50% of all search traffic. It has the highest visibility in search engines
and it has the largest number of inbound links. That is why you should optimize
the main page of your site to match the most popular and competitive queries.
Each site page should be optimized for one or two main word combinations and,
possibly for a number of rare queries. This will increase the chances for the
page get to the top of search engine lists for particular phrases.