An effective Search Engine Optimization campaign begins by using keywords to target the subjects which you intend your web site to rank for. In order to rank in the search engine results pages (SERP’s), a web site has to have a position of relevance to the search engine for a given search term. This is usually achieved by having keyword rich content on the site that coincides with the search term that the internet user types into the search engine.
In organic, (natural) search engine optimization, there are several factors that contribute to the ranking for a search term. Each search engine provider has their own unique set of criteria that they use to determine which web site is most relevant for that specific term. The factors that are used to determine search engine rankings are then calculated by a complex search engine algorithm.
Due to the high amount of targeted customer traffic that stands to be gained by a web site that has a top-ranked position in the search engines, the search providers keep the details of the factors which make up their algorithm a closely guarded secret.
Even though the search providers are careful with the exact formula that they use to gauge the rankings of web sites, there have been several constants discovered that when applied, produce favorable results.
Keywords – Content without Keywords = Website without Traffic
Keywords are at the center of any effective search engine optimization campaign. The basic rule of thumb in search engine optimization is that content is king. So, it is important to base all the content of a web site on accurate and informative content.
The first thing to perform in an optimization campaign is keyword research. To find the search terms that are generating traffic for the topic that you want to rank for, you need to determine what the internet users are searching for. This may be accomplished by several different means however the most common way is to use a keyword selector tool.
There are several different keyword tools that may be used. The one tool that was the industry standard for quite a while was the Overture keyword selector tool which, as of January 07′, has been retired . The data in the Overture database still remains available for historical data, but is no longer being publicly updated by Yahoo!, the company that now owns the service.
There are however several other keyword tools that may be used. Some free and some available for purchase or subscription based service.
- Free: SEO Book keyword suggestion tool:
- Free: Google AdWords keyword suggestion tool:
- Various prices: Keyword Discovery:
You Have to do your Homework – Keyword Research
There are few things to keep in mind before starting keyword research. The fact is that you will probably not be able to rank for a very competitive single-word search term like “money” or “cars”. For that matter, there are many two-word search terms, like “real estate”, that you will not be able to rank for either. So, in order to achieve rankings for your site with a subject like real estate, you have to look for related terms that will allow you to obtain a high position and yet not be too obscure so that you will still be attracting relevant traffic. For instance, you might try ranking for the search term “South Florida Real Estate Agency”, or “South Florida Real Estate Brokers”.
In order to determine the best search terms to use on content pages, I generally make a spreadsheet based on the topics that I feel are of most relevance.