SEO Knowledge Base
To return to the promotion home page
What are search
engine keywords and key phrases?
How do you decide
which are the best target phrases to go after?
Optimising Web Pages
What are meta tags?
Do alt tags help with
search engine rankings?
Search Engine Keyword Analysis
This page explains the steps we go through when
performing an analysis of keywords and key phrases
prior to optimising a web site for better search
engine rankings. It offers some real examples
of reports and how the results are then used.
If you have a question go to our enquiry
form and submit the query or call us or email
Step One - Understand The Site's Targets
Before we can start researching the words we
need to understand who the client's site is aimed
at and what its objectives are. This can be very
simple or very complex depending on the content.
Sometimes we can learn enough of the site just
by looking at it ourselves but often we will need
some dialogue with the client to define our targets.
If a site is offering cheap rooms in Amsterdam
then we know we are looking at keywords including
"hotel", "accommodation", "breaks", "holidays",
"Amsterdam", "Holland", etc, we just need to rank
them in order of importance. If on the other hand
a site is offering "cranial osteopathy" we have
to understand who are the potential users of such
a specialised service and derive search terms
that might be used to capture those interested
in such a specialism.
Step Two - Establish A Pecking Order
Step one should result in a list of potential
keywords numbering as few as 2 or 3 and no more
than 10 or so. As the research develops some may
fall out and others fall in. In the case of our
fireplace vendor the only keywords were "fire",
"place" and "fireplace". The research to follow
was to show the relative importance of "fireplace",
"fire place" and "fire-place" and from there which
other words were used most frequently with these
in key phrases, such as "antique fireplaces",
"marble fireplaces", etc. To establish this we
use a very useful tool called WordTracker.
WordTracker is a database made up of sample search
expressions used on real search engines. A number
of the leading meta search engines throw one in
so many of the queries they receive into a database
and that ends up as the WordTracker database.
It comprises over 300 million searches made over
the preceding 60 day period, with a proportion
of new phrases being continually added and new
ones falling off the end. So if we want to know
which are the most commonly used phrases used
to search we can interrogate WordTracker to gain
some insight into the public's habits.
If you want to know more about WordTracker and
how it works or even to subscribe to it (the cost
is pretty reasonable by the way) then click on
the link below:
here to see raw data from a Wordtracker report
on "fireplaces", "fire-places" and "fire places".
Step Three - Analyse The Results
Once we have some meaningful results from Wordtracker
we can start analysis of the keywords. Click
here for a simple example of a spreadsheet
containing results for a security products company.
Note how few phrases and keywords make up 80%
of the searches and also note the frequent occurrences
of mis-spellings of "burglar". These provide us
with target phrases with reasonable levels of
traffic for which, in all likelihood, there will
be NO competition.
We tend to apply the 80/20 rule here and look
for the small percentage of phrases that make
up 80% of the traffic. Sometimes however, when
competition is tight, we also look for less important
phrases that have no competition but still carry
a desirable level of traffic. A great example
of this was a car dealer specialising in Saab
and Volvo models whose site was the only one found
by people making the common mistake of typing
"Vovlo" instead of "Volvo". Indeed he has made
a fortune out of selling Vovlo cars!
Step Four - Profit From The Results
The object of the exercise is to get more relevant
visitors to our web sites, to sell more to them
and bring that day when we retire to the beach
that much closer. Knowing what targets to aim
at is a great help but achieves nothing unless
we do something with the knowledge.
It is not the purpose of the this section of
the site to go into search engine positioning
issues in depth because that is done elsewhere.
Nonetheless here are the areas where keywords
can help meet our aspirations for improving the
web site's ranking.
Meta tags: there was a time when meta tags had
great importance to search engine positions. Because
so many people became good at manipulating them
they have lost much of their importance. However
they do still matter to a degree and as search
engine optimisation is, to us at least, a labour
of meticulous attention to detail, we believe
that it can only help to have properly configured
meta tags, alt tags and other hidden content on
the web site. Knowing the most important words
to include helps make the most of this aspect
of the job.
Doorway pages: again so-called doorway pages
have fallen somewhat into disrepute. These are
pages specifically designed to feature well in
a given search engine for a single key phrase,
e.g. a page optimised solely for the phrase "marble
fireplaces" in AltaVista only. Again these have
been done to death by amateurs churning out hundreds
of virtually identical pages and swamping search
engines with them. But they can be produced responsibly
and effectively but should be reserved only for
the very top phrases.
Pay-per-click: pay-per-click search engines let
you bid for position in the rankings and charge
you for the number of people who click through
to your site. Keyword analysis is absolutely crucial
here in finding bargains. I will only give a fictitious
example of what I mean here as what I know in
this field is very valuable. I have a web site
selling "apple juice" (it doesn't but lets imagine!).
To have the #1 slot on Yahoo! costs $3 per click.
To be #1 for "apple drinks" is only 50 cents and
"appel juice" only 5 cents. Now for what I make
on selling apple juice I would go bust very fast
at $3 per click. Far fewer people look for "appel
juice" but I get them all for just 5 cents per
Domain Names: keyword analysis can even help
pick the right domain name for a new web site.
Keywords in the domain name can help with some
search resources so you might as well use that
where you can and have the most important words
Don't forget to request your
FREE website audit by visiting
To return to the promotion
home page click