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  Search Engine Marketing Guide    
Web Site Content - Keyword Research

In This Section
  When to do keyword research
  How to choose the best keywords

The keywords you are researching now will need to go into the web site's content. Keyword selection goes hand in hand with web site copywriting but, if possible, should be done first. It is important to remember that not everyone searches the web the same way. You have to take into consideration variations in terminology as determined by one's age, profession, what part of the world they are from, and so on. Remember that there are often several ways of saying the same thing.

NEVER try to target keywords that are not relevant to your site. You want qualified traffic from people who have spent time on a search engine or directory specifically to find the products and services you offer. The more qualified the traffic the more easily that traffic will translate into sales (assuming your site can sell itself once they get there).

First make a list of every phrase you can think of that people might use to find what your site is going to offer. Ask your friends and colleagues for input and try to find people that are within your site's target audience to get an idea of how they would search.

Once you have a good long list use search engine databases to refine it and see what people have actually searched for when looking for similar sites. If you have money to spend buy Wordtracker. Otherwise use Overture's free keyword suggestion tool or Google's tool. You can also check Google, AltaVista and FAST Alltheweb.com using a Boolean search to see how many other sites are listed when you type in your keywords. This will give you an idea of how many other sites are also using those terms.

Now, looking at your target audience you need to decide which terms THEY, not you or your marketing agency, are most likely to use. Bear in mind that most people do "natural language" searches. They do not use marketing terminology. Generally speaking, they use simple 2-4 word phrases. You may want your web site to say "marvellously wonderful widgets" but your target audience is most likely going to look for "blue widget" and so find your competitor who chose to stick with his keyword research despite what the marketing department said.

You will need to use common sense when compiling the information from friends, online search query databases and the amount of other sites using your terms. Bear in mind that your site's text and optimisation can be refined as you go along so you do not need to get it 100% perfect the first time around. You will most often find that even after exhaustive keyword research, the site will need to be tweaked in a year (or sooner) as your web site statistics will reveal that people are using other terms to search for you. The way people search does change according to industry trends, new products on the market, etc... And most likely your site will change as well.

Now that you have a good list of highly relevant phrases you can start working on your search engine friendly, keyword rich web site content.

NEXT Step: Copywriting for the Engines

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