Keywords, Choose Them Wisely

By now you have likely heard that keywords and keyword phrases, are extremely important in having search engines display your website. So how do you choose them? Guess? Ask a friend? Check successful competitors sites? There is a better way!

First let's digress. There are a lot of things that affect your ranking in search engines and ultimately how many sales you make from you website. The quality of the (and amount of) content on your site, how many links point to your site, what keywords are used, how they are used, even the age of your site can play a factor. Large companies spend thousands on getting their companies to the top of the rankings and keeping them there. If you're a small company trying to compete with these large budgets, you are likely to come up short.

So, how can a small business with a far more moderate budget compete? Niche Marketing! People searching for information on products don't always use the keywords you would expect them to use. And just because a competitor has a large enough budget to reach the top with a certain keyword or keyword phrase doesn't mean you will be able to. Niche phrases are sets of keywords that people are using to search in the search engines. If you are able to rate high on these niche phrases you will see an increase of traffic. To find out what words people are using you need to use one of the word tracking sites. These sites find out from the search engines exactly what phrases your potential customers are using.

For example using Google, "used cars" turned up 36,900,000 results; if you don't show up in the first 10-30 results it is very unlikely you will ever have someone click on your site. In this case every major car dealer and thousands of smaller dealers are competing for those same 10-30 spaces. You have a huge amount of competition. Likely though your potential customers also see this huge number and if he or she can't find what they are looking for they will try to limit the search. If they are looking for a local dealer they may try adding a city. My office is near Redding California. By entering "used cars Redding", I still receive 205, 000 results. That's a lot closer and maybe I could optimize my pages to reach near the top, BUT will my efforts really produce the results I want?

So far I have only guessed that my potential customers are really using this search phrase. If I check my competitor's site I will only be able to see their guesses. That is where word tracking comes to play. There are a number of sites that offer word-tracking services. Some are free, others charge for their service.

The advantage I've found of using a paid word-tracking site over the free sites is that at the free sites, you are told how many times a word has been searched for but there is little or no other information provided. These extra features are what help you to make the best decision on your keywords. These features include keyword suggestions based on your starting keyword, and most importantly the ratio of how many people use that phrase verses how many competitors are using the phrase. It takes a little time to learn how to make the best use of word tracking software, but it is well worth the effort. If you are having someone else optimize your site, insist that they find out what phrases are being used.

Using word tracking you will be able to tell how much competition you have for each phrase and how often the phrase gets used, so that you can optimize a website page for phrases that will get clicks to your site. To illustrate the point, would you rather have 0% of the clicks resulting from 1000 searches or 20% of the clicks resulting from 100 searches? If you choose keyword phrases that will put you at the top of the search engines lists you are far more likely to see results you want.

That's the benefit of choosing your keywords wisely!

Dwayne Goerges is the owner of ADAC Programming of Shasta Lake California Specializing in data driven websites for inventory display and client management. =Auto Mall Website

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