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The Ultimate Keyword Optimization Guide for Search Engine Positioning

by David Gikandi

We all know it and we all do it. Whenever typical Web users need to find something on the Web, they almost always go to one of the top search engines and run a search. They take a look at the first 30 search results returned, hardly ever looking beyond that. If nothing looks appealing, they run another search using a variation of the keywords they used on the first search. Again they look at the first 30 results. If they still find nothing of interest, they may switch to a different search engine and repeat the process. This, believe it or not, is the typical Web navigation behavior of at least 86% of the 110 million all Web users out there. The question is, does your Web site capitalize on this behavior?

If your answer is yes, then regardless of the object of a user's search, regardless of whether or not it has any relation at all to your products, they should find you even if they hadn't thought of finding you! That translates to a very high amount of daily traffic to your site. Is this what is happening for you?

I bet your answer now is no. Very few Web sites really capitalize on this behavior. However, you can learn how to do so. Say you're in the business of selling wedding gowns. You have a Web site that does a good job of displaying your wedding gowns, but like most other Web site owners, your Web traffic is really low and clients are simply not finding you. You've done everything you can think of, but your pages hardly come up on the search engines. What next? Well, get ready to learn one of the most effective online marketing strategies.

We know that the Web user will think of a keyword or phrase and type that into a search form on an engine. As it is his or her first step, so it should be ours. Get a piece of paper or open up your text editor and keep writing all the keywords and phrases that you think of as you go through the steps outlined below. Selecting the right keywords or keyword phrases will cause your traffic to skyrocket. Research has shown that most people use phrases of two to three keywords when searching. They've come to learn that just typing in one keyword in a search will get them thousands of records that they just do not need.

Your list should end up having about 50 or more keywords and phrases. You must write down every word that people might use to look for your site plus words they may use to look for other related information or products. This is no easy task. It involves some research and a fair bit of thought. Remember, thousands of people out there looking for wedding gowns may not all think alike, may not look for wedding gowns directly, or may not even realize at the time that they can get wedding gowns on the Web! To build a good list, here are the steps that you should take.

1. Brainstorm! Sit down for several minutes and think! Write down whatever keywords or phrases come to mind. Then look at your list and see what other word combinations you can make out from the keywords you've already written down.

2. Look at your products and services and see what related words pop into your mind. Write the names of each product or service that you deal in. These product names will also be part of your keyword list.

3. Ask your family, associates, clients and friends what words and phrases they would most likely use to search for products or services like yours.

4. See what keywords your competitors use. See what keywords are featured on their pages and in their meta tags.

5. Be specific and general in scope. Think of words that also describe things related to what your site is about. For example, if you sell wedding gowns, also think about other things and words related to weddings, such as "honeymoon," "bridal registry," "wedding rings," "engagements," and other wedding accessories and services. The idea here is to capture people who may be looking for other things related to weddings, whether or not they're directly looking for wedding gowns at the time. Chances are that someone looking for any wedding-related information will also be interested in knowing about wedding gowns. Get the idea? This is a very powerful way of getting more targeted traffic to your site.

6. Do not forget misspelled words. People often misspell words when they enter their search terms. Include commonly misspelled words or phrases as part of your list.

7. If your site deals with a particular region, remember to include that in your keyword list. For example, include "Los Angeles wedding gowns" if you deal in wedding gowns within Los Angeles. A lot of people will search for wedding gowns, get a big list of returned search results, and decide to add the words "Los Angeles" to get more specific search results.

8. Use the long and short forms of words; for example, include "consult," "consulting" and "consultants."

9. Do not spam! Do not use keywords that have nothing to do with your Web site. Do not list the keyword "sex" or "free pics" just because they are frequently searched for. If they don't have anything to do with your Web site, you'll get only traffic that's of no use to you anyway; Web surfers will come to your site and leave angrily when they realize you just cheated them. Also, search engines are on the lookout for such deceitful practices and can sometimes ban your pages for spamming. As long as you stick with keywords related to your core business, you'll be fine, but do not go too far out of line.

10. Now it's time for some research. Look at what people are actually searching for on the various engines and gather more phrases for your list. The following is a list of sites that will help you with that. When doing your research at these sites, remember steps five, six and eight above; people often misspell words, they use different word forms, and they may be looking for a wide range of things related to your products.

(a) Keywords Inventory Search: Search for your keywords here and see how popular they were on The service will also tell you what other related keywords and phrases were searched for. This is perfect for finding related keywords that you may not have considered.

(b) See what the top 100 search terms worldwide were. It isn't advisable to use terms that are not related to your Web site's content, but this service can still prove useful.

(c) SearchSpy: SearchSpy is a database of search terms captured from the top search engines. Use this to find even more words and phrases for your list.

Now that you're armed with your big list, what you do with it next is what will get you all the traffic you need. The next process is long and complicated if done manually, but there are ways of making this automatic, easy and fast, saving you the agony of doing it yourself. This article is too short for the technical details on search engine optimization techniques, so I'll just give you a quick explanation and a link to where you can get all this done for you automatically and easily.

Basically there are eight major search engines today: AltaVista, Excite, Infoseek, Lycos, HotBot, AOL Netfind, WebCrawler and Northern Light. Yahoo! is a directory, so this technique will not work with it. What you need to do is figure out what kinds of pages rank well with each of these engines. Search engines use a mathematical formula to rank all the pages in their index. It's hard, but not impossible, to come very close to knowing exactly what kind of a page will rank well on a particular engine. The text statistics on a page are what are considered most often by the engine's ranking formulas. Now, for each keyword or phrase on your list, you need to create a Web page that focuses on just that one keyword or phrase and ranks it highly on a particular engine. Because each engine ranks pages differently, you'll need to create a different page optimized for each engine.

Stop and think about this strategy for a second. You have a list of virtually every phrase that someone interested in your products and other related products can ever use in a search. Then you have pages that make sure they rank highly for all those searches. No matter what people search for that has any relation to your products, they will find you even if they had not thought of finding you! Do you now see how much qualified traffic you can get? It's amazing!

The only setback is the amount of work you would have to put into figuring out what kind of text statistics on a page will rank it well on an engine, then creating these optimized pages for your entire list of keywords for each major engine. That means creating about 300 or more finely tuned Web pages. But don't worry! As long as you've compiled your list of keywords and phrases, there's an online service that will automatically create the optimized pages for you in a couple of minutes. uses a set of online scripts to cleverly generate Web pages optimized for the major search engines. All you need to do is give it your list of keywords and phrases, a short piece of text describing your site or business or products, and your email address. (The pages are emailed to you as attached HTML files.)

Once you have your pages, upload them to your Web server and either submit them to the engines if there aren't too many, or have the engines crawl over them and index them by submitting only a page that links to all of them. That's it! Now simply step back and watch your traffic skyrocket!

Granted, there are many other ways that people use to find new sites, such as following links on other sites, reading about sites on magazine, hearing from friends, etc. But no matter what other methods they use, they almost always use them in addition to using the search engines, especially when actively trying to locate new information. By knowing how to use the search engines to your advantage, you'll become an empowered Internet marketer. No other method of marketing is so powerful, effective and affordable, and virtually free!

David Gikandi is affiliated with, a service whichfeatures tools and resources that get you top positions for your Web site on AltaVista, Excite, HotBot, Infoseek and Lycos, and offers forums, articles, links and other resources useful for the Web site owner and marketer.


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