Is Your Website Doomed for Failure Before Youve Built It?

One of the things that many people overlook when building a new website is keywords. I have to admit, I did exactly the same thing myself when I started out. You can build the flashiest, most professional looking website, with lots of great content, but if you don't think about keywords first your website is most likely to be doomed for failure - at least as far as search engines are concerned.

Visitors from search engines are the most targeted types of visitor that you could hope for. What you need to do is find out which keywords these people are using when they search in Google, Yahoo or MSN and ensure that your web page(s) are optimized for these keywords.

When researching your keywords you need to make sure that you

1. Choose keywords that people are actually searching for. Don't optimize your site for keywords that people rarely search on.

2. Choose keywords that are not too highly competitive - unless you're an SEO whiz that is

If you keep these two goals in mind when choosing keywords you will have the best chance possible of rising to the lofty heights of the search engine results pages.

So, what's the best way to do keyword research? I've tried many different tools, but my favorite by is Wordtracker. You can sign up for a free trial of Wordtracker but if you're serious about your keyword research consider using the full version as it allows you to select unlimited keywords and includes results from 8 different search engines, 3 different directories and 4 different pay per click engines, compared to 1 search engine and 30 keywords in the trial version.

Once you're logged into Wordtracker I recommend using the "Keyword Universe" to brainstorm for keywords. You just need to type in any keywords related to your area of interest and then use the built in thesaurus to find related keywords and synonyms. For example if I enter the keywords "internet marketing" Wordtracker returns 300 related keywords including "web site marketing", "promotion" and "online marketing".

Wordtracker then allows me to view a list of all the keyword searches that have included my keyword phrase. If I click on "web site marketing" Wordtracker returns 118 rows of keywords that include that phrase, for example "web site marketing", "web site marketing strategy", "web site online marketing" and more.

If I like the look of these keywords I can just add them to my basket and continue choosing keywords until I have 100s of keywords. For this example I'll just add the 118 results to my basket and continue on to Wordtracker's "Competition Analysis".

At the competition analysis phase I have a number of search engines, directories and pay per click engines to choose from. I can choose a maximum of two search engines, but for speed I normally tend to just go for Google, since it represents 35% of all searches. I can always go back later and look at other search engines if I have a good set of keywords.

Now the interesting part begins?

Wordtracker returns me a table with the first 100 keywords from my earlier keyword selection. The keywords are displayed in order of "KEI", which means "Keyword Effectiveness Index". This is a measure to allow you to quickly identify which keywords are likely to give you the best results. Keywords with high KEIs are the best targets as these represent keywords with a combination of a high number of searches and a low amount of competing websites.

Other important statistics provided by Wordtracker are:

24 Hours ? The predicted amount of traffic for a single day, for this search engine only (Google in this case)

Competing - The number of competing websites for this keyword phrase.

Here's an example of two of the results returned from my "marketing web site" search:

Example 1
"marketing web site design"
KEI - 54.256
Count - 46
24Hrs - 17
Competing - 39

Example 2
"web site marketing"
KEI - 0.256
Count - 505
24Hrs - 171
Competing - 998000

You can see from these examples that the most popular keyword phrase here is "web site marketing", with approximately 171 searches in Google every 24 hours. However, this keyword phrase has almost a million competing websites, so if you decided to target this you would have a long hard slog to get on the first page of the search results.

In this example, my preference would be to choose the "Marketing web site design" phrase. Although there are 10 times less searches on Google per day for this keyword phrase, there are only 39 competing websites. So the chances are that I can get onto the first page of search results very quickly. I could also combine this keyword phrase with a few others from my research to build up the number of visitors to my site.

Once you have finished researching and have a good keyword list, ensure that add your keywords to

- the page title

- the h1 and h2 tags

- the image alt tags

- the keyword meta tags

- the copy itself

Also make sure that you include the keywords in the anchor text when you are linking to your site from another site.

Going through this exercise of choosing keywords each time you set up a new website or create a new webpage will ensure that you have the best chance of getting targeted search engine visitors.

Suzanne Morrison is the webmaster of Starting an Internet Business. You can sign up here for a Free Trial of Wordtracker

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