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Chapter 1: 100 Keywords for a Good Start

Firstly, I needn′t be too smart to know for sure:

  • You′ve got your website
  • You′re strongly determined to gain in popularity, build up a community, make money, etc.
  • Right in front of you, you have a great guide telling you how to do that

That′s quite enough for a good SEO start. And, here′s what you′ll find in this chapter:


Getting straight to the point, your first step is keyword research.

Never ever overlook this spadework. Though this step won′t appear interesting to do, I′ll give you a chance to make it as easy and fast as possible. And, here′s my word: this task is your first and biggest chance to launch a 100% winning SEO campaign.

Now come on, let′s make a flying start!

1.1 What? Why? When? How? And other questions to get started

The first thing you have to know is: No keyword research — no SEO.

Why? Because keywords are the cornerstones of SEO.

And, trying to promote a website without having the right keywords brings no results. See the image below. I guess the message is clear.

Select right keywords

It′s like trying to find a buried treasure without knowing where exactly it′s hidden. Think of a situation like this: you know there′re heaps of pure golden coins and shining diamonds buried on an island, but the old pirate map you have is half burnt, and you just can′t find the right place on it. So you can dig the ground as deep as you wish, but you won′t get a grain of gold.

Now what′s the bright side of it? The right keywords are the best investment in SEO. It′s the case when money doesn′t matter. Think of this: if you have 5 great keywords, your chances to make a fortune are huge. And if you have 5 thousand dollars, you still need the 5 great keywords. ;). Of course, the number can be bigger. You may just start with 5 and as your rankings improve and the website grows you′ll simply add more keywords and expand the campaign.

100% sure, with this guide you′ll pick out really good keywords, use them at really right time — and turn them into really big money. Once again, the thing I know for sure is: if you do what the book says, there′s no way to fail SEO. Now, don′t waste your time, go ahead!

So what′s a keyword for SEO?

This is a word people will type in Google, Yahoo! or other Search Engine to look for products or services they need and you offer.

Before I give you my example, meet my son Mike. His girlfriend gave him an iPod for his 19th birthday, 3 weeks ago.

Today Mike′s going to buy new headphones and makes a query in Google, typing in headphones. Now, if he sees your site at the very top of the Search Engine′s results page, this means that you rank first for the keyword headphones. Also, it means that Mike is much more likely to visit your site and buy from it, than from a competitor′s site that has a #4 ranking.

We can make queries using one or several words, like, headphones, iPod headphones or buy headphones. Terms for query that contain several words are sometimes called keyphrases. So iPod headphones is a two-keyword keyphrase.

So to get a #1 placement in Search Engines, the first and the most important step is to choose the right keywords and keyphrases for which you want to rank first.

Why do I call this step the most important?

I′m often asked: "Why think so much of keywords?"

The answer comes together with experience. Keywords are the crucial starting point of any SEO campaign. They are the material an SEO works with. Just like a cook can′t make an apple pie with wrong fruit, or a potter can′t make a plate with bad clay, an SEO can′t make a website succeed with wrong keywords.

Pick the good keywords, and you′re half-way to success. Get the wrong ones — and you′ll make a dog′s dinner of the whole campaign.

Here′s a real story:

For over 6 years, a friend of mine has been a webmaster of a big European online bookstore (you can guess the name easily, if you wish ;)). Quite long ago, he nearly failed a $90.000-worth optimizing campaign. Everything looked fine at a first glance: the site was ranking high for certain keyphrases, and the SEO department′s done a big job. But they just weren′t selling, because some words weren′t bringing traffic to the site, and others brought traffic but didn′t make sale or, SEO speaking, convert. You guess where the problem is? Yep, the keywords were wrong! Luckily, they had enough time to sort it out and save their bottoms.

You will need the results of this first step all way through

Sure, when you get done with this step, you won′t see any effect on your website′s traffic. But the keywords you′ll single out will be critical for the greater part of your future optimization work, be it on-page optimization, video syndication, guest blogging, social media activities, directories submit, or other. But let′s not leap ahead. I′ll put prior things first.

The simple truth about keywords

Now, I want to dwell upon one very important and rather contradictory thing. It′s about the length and composition of keyphrases. To make it all simpler, let′s use this scheme:

ROI (Return of investments)

What does ROI mean you may ask. Well, ROI (return on investment) — shows how much profit you′ve made compared to how much you′ve spent to get this profit. As you see, mid-size keyphrases give you maximum chances of quick profit.

Influence of keyword length on website′s conversion

When people make searches in Google or other Search Engines, most often they type in 2-word phrases, and just a bit less often 3-word phrases. 1-word phrases (or so-called short-tail keywords) make up less than 30% of searches on the web, and if the keyphrase is longer than 3 (so-called long-tail keywords), it gets fewer uses, with each word added.

So in general, if you choose long keyphrases, you′re getting less traffic.

But don′t jump to conclusions yet! Let′s first talk about targeted traffic.

Please think of this: if a person types in headphones, who can guess what exactly one expects to find? Say, my son is in fact interested in inexpensive headphones for running, and you sell professional stereo headphones. So Mike comes to your website, maybe thinks it′s well designed — and hits the back button in his browser.

But what if he were looking for 900 MHz wireless stereo headphones and would type it in Yahoo!? If you sell this kind of headphones, then your chances to get Mike as a purchaser would at least double — and this happens with any visitor.

Here′s what we call targeted traffic: people come to your website because they are looking for what you offer.

If they type in a search term, find your site, come to it and buy — this means that the search term they used converts.

If they come to your site after the search, look it through and leave — the keyword does not convert. You only get a visit, but not a sale.

So remember: you need keyphrases that convert.

Now look at the diagram once again. You see an arrow at the bottom and it says there "More targeted traffic and faster results". Here′s what this means: normally, the longer and the more precise your keyphrases are, the sooner you′ll get your traffic.

Why? Because it′s easier to optimize a site and rank for a unique phrase with little competition.

So here′s the summary: it′s rather hard and not wise to get to the top with a single-word or rather broad-sense keyphrase.

The longer and more precise your keyphrase is, the fewer visitors you get, but the more targeted your traffic is.

The narrower the search term you target, the greater part of visitors convert into real customers.

My recommendation is: try to find the golden mean. If you′re not sure, start with two- or three-word keyphrases that better reflect your customer′s needs.

Types of keywords

And before we start composing your initial list of keywords I′d like to explain the difference between the following keyword types:

  • Informational ("sony" for example) and
  • Transactional (like "sony headphones discount la")

When a user enters an informational keyword, you can′t say for sure what he′s driven by and what his intention is. He may be looking for a company description from Wikipedia, checking the range of Sony products, etc. Most important is the fact that he is NOT likely to buy something right now.

In contrast, with "sony headphones discount la"-type of keyword, you can be pretty sure that this user really wants to buy Sony headphones and is therefore looking for special offers in Los Angeles stores.

There are also mixed types of keywords like, for example "sony vs panasonic headphones reviews", which indicate that a user is interested in buying headphones, but hasn′t made up his mind yet. Such keywords provide a good opportunity to enrich your content and dilute the density of transactional keywords.

And now we′re going straight to keyword research.

175 comments

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#2297 2011-07-19 23:19:45 Dan Karas

I wish I would have had this information 12 years ago, when I started.

The best web site on the Internet won't get any traffic if it targets the wrong keywords,

Conversely, even a crappy site can get tons of traffic and make lots of money, when SEO optimized for a few well selected keyword phrases.

A good tip:
*First find the keywords (targeted, low to moderate competition)
*Then build the site and content around those keywords.
*Finally, do offsite SEO targeting those keywords.


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#2022 2011-05-28 08:10:59 Adam Braithwaite

It's all about keywords that are attainable. Getting a great keyword that is too competitive will be extremely difficult to get top positions on in a short time. I'd rather have lower traffic keywords and rank quickly so I get the traffic sooner.

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#2013 2011-05-21 10:53:43 lintas berita

that any corelatiaon between keyword and traffic ?

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#1999 2011-05-12 06:19:56 Ssk Sorgulama

The keyword graphic is very meaningfull but sometimes one word keywords are using most.

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#1925 2011-04-08 14:32:50 Nick Chalker

Dan,
No doubt, keywords are the cornerstone of success (otherwise they wouldn't be called KEY words...right??), but I have a question that doesn't seem to be addressed in many SEO discussions.
Maybe this is because it's not as relevant as some say, or maybe it's an easy fix.
Allow me to elaborate...
My question is domain name choice. Now I'm not talking .com or .net, I mean the actual domain, which SOME say MUST contain the keyword you're optimizing for.
Well...
That brings about my question.
Let's say I really want to specialize in a niche, but I have bigger visions of expanding further in my niche in the future.
So, say I want to specialize in football helmets...
Do I NEED to get the domain, say... Lakeshorefootballhelmets.com? Or can I use lakeshorefootball.com (so the domain could be used later if I want to expand to more equipment) since FOOTBALL would actually be PART OF a query for "football helmets". Then if I have a page titled Football Helmets, my domain would still read lakeshorefootball.com/footballhelmets
Is that relatively the same thing?
As well...
If this actually IS relevant...
Then could I start my empire under the domain of lakeshorefootball.com, but since I ONLY specialize in helmets at this time...
My homepage would be optimized in every other way for helmets, and I could obviously turn that into a "page" later if I expand, keeping my domain age and any backlink authority.
I ask now, because keyword selection IS so very important, but I'm about to START my site, and I might as well set it up the right way from go, including the right way to approach expansion, if and when that should come up.
I would prefer an "authority" site structure, as opposed to creating separate "specialized" sites for each expansion product, creating a Mini-net/link wheel if possible, unless this just simply is the best way.
But from what I gather, google indexes PAGES, not sites, so with good internal and external link structure, I should be OK...no??

Thanx for your help,
Nick

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#1995 2011-05-10 09:43:33 Dan Richmond

No problem with what you want to do at all. You can have a more general domain name and have pages with more specific names and narrowed-down themes, that is absolutely fine.

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#1917 2011-04-07 01:28:12 Edwin Rude

Longer Key Words, in my experience, always helped my clients (back in the old days, before I retired, and back when the internet was still kerosene powered)make sales. The reason is obvious: A person may search for "business" at first, but when looking at the SERPs they are going to revise their search word until it is something like "franchise businesses for sale."
Probably not much traffic on a keyword that long, but nearly a guaranteed sale.
And face it, the reason we want higher ranks in the SERPs is to get more traffic, and the only reason for getting more traffic is to sell to or to convince someone.

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#1908 2011-04-04 21:45:50 Miessence Aruna

Fantastic info. Ive been doing some SEO on my website and Im very much looking forward to the insights you have to offer.

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#1907 2011-04-03 15:55:07 Diana Dietz

I am looking forward to taking your SEO tutorial in daily chunks. I think most people get overwhelmed with the shear amount of information they have to learn when first starting out and it make it difficult to put it into practice.

Your having test as a check-up for us to see how much information we are retaining is great.

Thanks.

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#1896 2011-03-25 15:51:08 ijaz ahmad

It is really brainstorming book. It will really help me to rank good on google and other search engines. keep it up dear. I am running my site http://www.technokraft.net, and through this book in a very short time, i got 3/10 on Google. :)

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#1891 2011-03-21 12:13:10 Mike Domeck

When I taught Internet mArketing, a few years back, to newbies this was the hardest thing for them to grasp. They just couldn't understand the absolute importance of this step in their success but those that ID get it went on to produce very successful website businesses!

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