How to Discover Key Words for Search Engine Optimization

May 5th, 2008

keyword discoveryFirst let’s understand why we need to research key words.

It is commonly known that many businesses try to improve the key word density within their website. They are optimizing their site for the search engines. In the end, they expect to get more site traffic and customer conversions.

From my experience, you cannot assume or guess how people search for your product or service, and leave it at that. If you do, I am sure your website traffic will be limited and you may have a hard time growing site traffic and your customer base. The most surprising key words can actually get you site visitors who convert to customers. Each business is unique. I have been through the key word discovery process a lot and have constantly been surprised at some of the key word strings that can bring website visitors. Once you discover some search strings, you can ultimately optimize one page within your site and receive even more customers.

The trend is that people don’t really search by one key word anymore. The focus should be on multi-word key words – which are also known as key word strings. For example, who would think that someone would be looking for an anti-aging skincare product by the search term “How to Treat Hyperpigmentation?” A few years ago, people new to the net would likely search by one key word. Now we understand search better and we are aware that if we type in a more focused search string (multi-words), the more likely we will get relevant search results on the first try.

These key words will ultimately help you with your search engine optimization and in the end your website will receive more relevant traffic that may convert into a customer or give you the desired results you are looking for from your website visitors.

How to discover key words:

The following are great starting points to discover and validate key words that you can focus on:

  • Use your existing key words in your sales collateral, website or press release as a starting point.
  • Run searches for alternates and plurals in key word tools online (like Wordtracker, Google Keyword Tool or Webmaster Toolkit to discover alternates that you may not have known.
  • Ask your customers how they’d search for you on the net (what key words).
  • Review your website analytics under the “Referrals” area, it can tell you some key words that are leading people to your site.
  • Check out competitors’ websites
    • Read their website body copy.
    • View source and check out their title tags, meta key words and descriptions within each of the main pages.
    • Run a key word analysis report on your competitors sit.

    So, what the heck do I do with these key words?

    So you have a large list of key words – what the heck do you do with them now? Below are some best practices for implementing key words. If you follow some of these rules and processes, it will be easier for you to implement and understand how to optimize a site for search engines. You will also start seeing increased traffic and potentially more customers within a month because you are following some of the things that the search engines love about the so-called key-word-dense sites.

    • Try to use Excel spreadsheet and sort key words by themes and then match up each set to every page on your site that is appropriate to the messaging for each page.
    • Focus on a small set of key words for each individual page. These small sets of key words should be theme-based or complementary to the message that is in the body of the particular page you are optimizing. Don’t ever try to insert all possible key words within an inside page or even your home page. Try to focus on three to six key words or one to three key word strings max for each page.
    • Implement these key word sets within all elements of your chosen page including your title tag (shows up in the browser title), meta tag description (hidden text that is usually the search results description), meta tag key words (hidden text), image alt tags (hidden text – but can see it when you roll over an image) as well as the content writing of the body (the visible text).
    • Choose the theme set of key words that are most important for your company and try to use them for your home page.
    • Each page should have a good mix of matching key words within the body text, hidden tags, title and image alt tags. Do not stuff key words within the title that are not within the page content – trust me, that will most likely not bring you traffic!
    • If you choose a small set of key words for each page – you are optimizing that page for the search results, so make sure the meta description sums up the description for that page.
    • If you found that some very important key words are not implemented within the content writing of the page, try to incorporate it or suggest it to your boss or your content writer to do so.
    • Try to link any key words or key word sets within your site to the relevant page (hyperlink and cross-link pages within your site – Google gives you more brownie points for this).
    • Try to incorporate key words within any outside links to your website.
    • Don’t try to focus on one general key word for a page – if it is too general, everyone else is most likely going after it.

    Key word density is one of many search engine strategies. Read more on “What is Search Engine Optimization,” if you implement a few strategies, they will all help with growing your website traffic.

    If you want to share similar experiences on this topic, I encourage you to leave a comment!

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    One Response to “How to Discover Key Words for Search Engine Optimization”

    1. 10 Keyword Research Tools to Help with Your SEO and Tips | Seed The Web on September 15, 2009 8:15 am

      [...] Want to read more about keywords? Read my post “How to Discover Key Words for Search Engine Optimization“. [...]

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