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Choosing the Right Keywords

Author: Kari Freudenberger
Choosing the Right Keywords
Choosing the right keywords can dramatically increase your Web site traffic. How do you know if you’ve picked the right ones? These three steps will help you make the right decision when it comes to selecting keywords for your site.

1. Think like your user.
2. Do your research.
3. Be specific.

When you start coming up with possible keywords, the first thing you need to do is narrow down what your Web site is about. Let’s say I’m creating a Web site about my favorite car, the Porsche 356 Speedster. It makes sense that my first keyword phrase would be “Porsche 356 Speedster.”

But let’s think about this from a user’s perspective. What other words might someone use to find my site? How about “sports car,” “convertible,” or “collector car”?

If your Web site is about a specific industry, avoid using jargon. Instead, choose words that your customers would use to describe your product or service. You have to think like your user.

Next, you want to do some research. Take the keywords you’ve come up with and run them through a keyword tool, like the one from Yahoo! Search Marketing. There you will see how popular that phrase is as well as possible suggestions for similar words.

If you have Web analytics in place, check your keyword analysis and see what words are already driving traffic to your site. If you don’t have Web analytics, get them. They can tell you a lot about your site and your users.

Also, research the words your competitors are using. Type your chosen keyword into Google and view the source on the page to see what other keywords the top ranking pages are using.

Finally, once you’ve come up with a list of keywords, make sure they are descriptive and specific. While “car” is a popular keyword, it’s too broad. I would need to qualify it with the type of car my site is about, like “German car.” Even then, I would be competing with Volkswagen and Audi.

The more relevant the keyword, the more qualified traffic you will receive. So pick your keywords with care. It’s not an exact science. It’s a combination of analysis, experimentation and good old common sense. It is important, though, so spend the time and energy it takes to get it right.

About the Suthor:
Kari Freudenberger is an SEO Specialist for Brook Group, a full-service Web design firm near Washington, DC. To view more articles by this author, visit http://www.brookgroup.com.

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