Keyword Selection- The Dark Horse of Search Engines Optimization

Below are what I call the "10 Commandments" for Keywords.

To start with select "keyword phrases" NOT keywords. This is very important. After all, the keyword itself is included in the keyword phrase.

Consider select different endings for your keywords, (ing, ed, s and es).

Rack your brain and brainstorm with your friends to come up with a list of 25 to 50 keywords or keyword phrases.

Find out what keywords and keyword phrases your competitors are using. Do this by going to your competitor's Web sites and click on "View" in the top toolbar and then click on "Source." Scroll down to the "Keywords Meta Tag" and you will see the keywords this competitor thinks are important. Repeat this with all of your important competitors.

Go to http://www.overture.com. Go to the "Term Suggestion Tool" and type in your keywords and keyword phrases. (Keep in mind that Overture groups singular and plural words together.)

Words with a count of 300 to 500 are good. Words with counts of 500 to 1,000 are great (maybe). It depends on a term called KEI that we will talk about later in this article.

Use Google's Keyword Suggestion Tool at http://www.adwords.google.com.

The best place to get help with keywords is http://www.wordtracker.com. You can get a lot of free information here or pay about $7 and get even more information. The reason this site is so great is that it tells you how many times a keyword phrase is searched for, but it also tells you how many other sites are competing with you for the keyword or keyword phrase.

This information is combined into a term called a "Keyword Effectiveness Index" or KEI. A keyword phrase with a KEI of 0 to 10 usually should not be selected. 10 to 100 is good. 100 to 400 is great and above 400 is a gift from heaven.

All of this is explained completely on the WordTacker Web site so I won't repeat it here. Take time to read all of the instructions and information.

You can only optimize a page for 2 to 5 keywords or 2 to 3 keyword phrases. Don't try to do everything on your home page. Decide how many pages you are going to have (3 to 5 are the minimum number of pages for high search engine rankings). Then use all of the above techniques to come up with your list of keyword phrases.

After you have selected your list of keywords and keyword phrases another good test to run is to find out the keywords that people are actually spending their money on. How do you do this? It's simple. Go to http://www.Amazon.com and search for book titles with your selected keywords or keyword phrases. Then check to see how the books rank in sales for Amazon. The lower the number the better.

A number of 5,000 means it is in the top 5% (assuming Amazon has one million books. They actually have many more.). If people are spending money buying books (on the Internet) about your keywords, it tells me that you have a good chance of selling your goods or services on the Internet also.

The last point to consider is how many times do you use your keyword phrases on each page? I have seen #1 ranking with a keyword phrase density of only 0.5% to over 20%. Google doesn't like high keyword densities any more. A good range to shoot for now is about 1% to 2%. Maybe a little higher, but not much. Google may increase this number in the future, but for now, keep your keyword phrase density low. Google calls a high keyword density "over optimization" and they can penalize a site for this.

That means if you have 300 words on your page, you would need to have about 6 to 21 keyword phrases on your page. Don't over do it and make your page sound silly. Read your page out loud and see if sounds alright. Be creative and you can get a lot of keyword phrases into your page and still make it sound reasonable. Also, it's important to have a high keyword density in the first 150 words on the page, but remember that if your page is in columns, the first word is the first word in your LEFT Nav. panel . . . NOT the first word in your center panel.

Use your keywords and keyword phrases in a sentence. Search engines define a sentence as a group of three or more words that start with a capital letter and end with a period or other acceptable puncation mark. This also means you should put a period or question mark at the end of each heading or headline to make them look like a sentence and NOT like a group of keyowrds.

This means you should NEVER have just a list of keywords. Keywords that are not used in a sentence have very little (if any) value to increase your search engine ranking. In fact, if you go overboard, it could be labeled as keyword spamming by the search engines. This also means that keywords listed in your left Nav. panel will NOT help your rankings. The search engines cops are not stupid. They know what you are trying to do if you insert lists of keywords.

In summary, be creative, take your time and find the very best keywords and keyword phrases. After all, what good would it do you to get #1 rankings for keyword phrases that no one actually searches for.

The above information does not tell you everything about keywords and keyword phrases, but it points you in the right direction. I didn't repeat the instructions that are included in the Web sites I referred you to.

Make sure your keywords or keyword phrases are used in all of your outbound links and try to get sites that are linking to you to use your keywords or keyword phrases in their links to your site. Otherwise, the links would not be very valuable to you.

Craige Stacey has been studying search engines optimization as a hobby and has achieved some very good search engine positions in the past for membership software

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