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Determine the right keywords for your website

    Saturday 08 October, 2011  
Let's explore how people search the Internet and what words they use to search on. This is important because we need to adapt our website to those searches. We must adjust the keywords on our web pages.

What is a keyword anyway?

A keyword or a keyword combination is a search term. This may be more than one loose word. Think about this: what would you do when you search for your summer holidays on the Internet, would you use the keyword "vacation" or would you rather use the search keywords "hotel Crete"? Both of them are keywords and the site that has them properly implemented will be getting visited by you.

The importance of knowing your keywords.

For several reasons it is important to know which keywords are most important for your site.
You will need it to get through Google visitors to your site.
  •     You need it to make sure that visitors stay as longs as possible on your site.
  •     You will need it to advertise in the proper way.
  •     You will need it the get links from high ranked sites to your site.
  •     And so on.

Throughout the year, we will regularly need our list of keywords.

How do people usually search?

Of course there are many reasons why people surf the internet, but you could summarize them in these three main types of searches:
  •     searches for information, for example, for study or work;
  •     to do research for a purchase that one intends to do (mobile phones, holidays, etc.);
  •     search for the best site to make a purchase.

We will focus on the latest mentioned group. People who already know exactly what they want and who are ready to buy. <br />
An example:

Someone from the second group may be searching for terms such as "GSM" or "PDA" or "mobile Internet" or "games on the mobile". These are fairly broad, general search terms.

Someone from the third group, who knows exactly which model they want and why, will search for "iPhone 4 32GB Black unlocked" or "qwerty Samsung Star cheapest stock". For this search method we will optimize and tailor our keywords.

Getting Started!

We will make a list of search terms that your target audience uses for searching. Note: the people in your audience who are ready to buy (or to visit your store, to download something or to register).

Step 1: brainstorm a list of relevant keywords
Grab a sheet of paper, a whiteboard or open a document and just make a list of keywords and combinations. Of course these keywords contain your product name, company name, trade name etc. But try to force yourself to look beyond that, do it for example together with a colleague or your partner. As an indication, you should at least generate 30 results.

Step 2: Think like your target audience
Not everyone searches directly for your product or service. It may also be that they type their problem as a search term. Or that they describe a solution for their problem, without typing your product or service. Expand your list with such search terms. (For example "leakfree pools" or "prevent algae" instead of "Intex pool").

Tip: Also look at synonyms, other spellings, plural, words merged or with hyphen (e-commerce or ecommerce). Also, descriptive words are often used both to describe the problem and the solution to (fast, slow, cheap, luxury, etc.)

Step 3: Look in your website statistics to searched keywords that already led to your site!

In your statistics, you see the keywords and keyword combinations that your current visitors are already used for searching. Make sure these keywords will appear in your list and use them as inspiration to extend them for new keywords. Please note: the fact that you are now searchable through those words, does not necessarily mean that they are the best keywords.

Step 4: Check also the keywords from your competition
Google on the keywords that you've collected so far. For each keyword, visit the top three results. Then have a look at the source code of those pages (Menu - View - Page Source).

Have a look at the title tag, keyword tag, description tag and header tags. They look like this: <TITLE> - ecommerce</ TITLE>. See also <META NAME="Description" ...> <META NAME="keywords" ...> and <H1>

Also here, use these words and phrases for inspiration. Please note: that the high ranking of the page for a certain keyword, does not conclude that the other used keywords are also good.

Step 5: Go regional!
If you are selling electronics in a certain town, then it makes little sense to compete with all sellers of electronics. So add at least your location to the list of keywords. Even words like 'region' and 'near by' and the towns and villages in your area can be helpful.

Place yourself in the position of the visitor. Maybe someone is using an other location near by you as a keyword, in that case it's useful if you also have that location in your list of keywords.

Step 6: Google's Keyword Tool
Click here to go to

Add one by one the keywords that you have been collecting. You will then see results and variations plus how many times they were searched for! Use this tool in the first place to find additional keywords.

And more importantly, to see how many times your keywords have been searched for. The more it was searched for, the more importance it usually has. Probably there is also a lot of competition for such keywords, so you might never get a high ranking with Google, but it is still important to use such a word in your website.

Compare your keywords with each other in terms of numbers it has been searched for. Words that were not often searched for, might not be  as good as you thought before.

Step 7: edit and combine your list
If all went well, you should have a pretty long list with (100?) keywords. Because this is was a brainstorm, there probably not much logic to it. It may be that after reviewing them, you might delete some of them from the list. Other words may be combined. Try to order the list based on the words with the most importance.

It's okay to have a long list of keywords, but most important is that you have a top 5 or a top 10!

Do you need help with your site?

Contact us and let us help you with your website, call + 30 694 5046 746 or use our contact form