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Search Engine Optimization
Keyword Analysis. Ah, keywords. If you say the right word enough
times on your site, you'll get that coveted #1 spot, right? Wrong.
Choosing the right keywords starts with you making a list of the
keywords or phrases under which you'd like to be found, and
typically ends up somewhere completely different. Typically,
selecting the best keywords is a four-step process:
List the keywords and phrases under which you'd like to be
Find out whether anyone searches on those keywords, and whether
they're searching for relevant items.
Find out how many other sites are struggling for rankings under
Pick keywords with the same meaning but a better
I want to rank #1 under 'Search Engine Optimization'. Guess what?
There are 686,000 other URLs in Google trying for that spot. Hmmm.
But wait! Under 'Seattle Search Engine Optimization' there are only
19,000. So, I targeted that key phrase, instead. And guess what? We
got a #3 ranking.
Don't forget about relevance, either. If you want a high ranking
under 'tires', you're going to have your work cut out for you. And
in the end you'll likely end up getting found for 'bicycle tires',
'automobile tires', 'spare tires' and who knows what else. Is it
worth it? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But you have to do your
homework to find out.
Data Mining and Keywords
If you're doing a campaign for a large site, you may end up
testing and comparing thousands of keywords and phrases. Having
a good data-mining tool (even Excel will do) on hand is
important when you're doing keyword analysis. We use S-Plus, by
Insightful Software. It's saved our lives, and clicker fingers,
are several tools that help you research the number of searches and
competitors for keywords. Wordtracker (http://www.wordtracker.com)
is a good one -- don't depend on their results from Overture,
though, unless you're specifically preparing an Overture campaign.
Metacrawler's MetaSpy tool is worth a look, too. Ideally, look at
results from a few different sources.
Keyword analysis is the hardest part of a campaign, in
number-crunching terms. It requires a lot of work and may not tell
you what you want to hear. But in my experience it's critical to a
Step 2: Search Engine Readiness. Almost every web site we
review has one or more problems that will prevent search engine bots
from properly reading all content. Typical showstoppers include:
An all-Flash or all-images home page
home page that automatically redirects to another page
Pop-up ads (does anyone really read these things?)
site full of pages with fewer than 400 words on a page
No TITLE or DESCRIPTION tags
major step in any SEO campaign is making sure that the site will
present the friendliest profile to search engines. Happily, the
investment in optimizing will also pay off in a faster, more
universally compatible site.
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