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The Magic Keywords
By: Developer Shed
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    The Magic Keywords
    by Bob McElwain

    What will your potential visitor enter into a search engine to
    find your site? If you can find these magic keywords, phrases
    real people will use, then optimize your pages for them, you will
    have taken a key step toward generating hits. If you use the
    wrong words, you will waste a good deal of effort and achieve
    next to nothing.

    A friend of mine has been working with an ex-IRS agent who can be
    of significant help to those with tax problems. But he has
    decided to search for clients only in the area in which he lives,
    the Santa Clarita Valley in Southern California. It is a snap to
    get a #1 position on most search engines with such phrases as
    Santa Clarita Tax Expert, Santa Clarita Tax Solutions, and so
    forth. And he did so. But he is not getting any hits.

    The problem is in two parts. Many people who live in the Santa
    Clarita Valley do not know that they do. Even those who do tend
    to feel they live in Los Angeles. Secondly, many do not know how
    to spell Santa Clarita. So his first place position is
    meaningless, unless he turns to advertising in locally circulated
    newspapers, magazines, and newsletters. This can cost bucks, and
    he could have done this without the effort it took to build his

    Discovering what potential visitors might enter to find your site
    is a challenging problem, one often overlooked in advice regards
    position on search engines. One way to begin is to list a few
    words you feel will work, go to your favorite search engine,
    enter them, and see what comes up. Any phrase that generates a
    lot of unconnected listings is not likely a good candidate.

    When you find something that ranks your competitors high in the
    list, check out the sites. Once the page has fully loaded, take
    the option in your browser to view the page source code. Find
    the keyword meta statement near the top of the page, and check
    those listed. Add as appropriate to your list. Also check the
    page content to see which keywords are sprinkled throughout it.
    These may be the most important ones. In particular, see how the
    keyword you used to get this page is handled. You may find clues
    as to how best to use it on your page.

    When you think you have a good list, try this useful resource at
    GoTo.Com. At the very bottom of the home
    page, click Manage Your Account. On the new page, click Tools
    And Tips To Help Manage Your Account. On the new page, click
    Search Term Suggestion List. Enter the keywords you are thinking
    about. Some of the suggestions made can be added to your list,
    particularly those used most often. GoTo.Com provides this
    service because they hope you will find additional words to bid
    on (pay for high rankings in lists - another topic). But you do
    not need to use their service to take advantage of this resource.

    At this point you have found and expanded your list to include
    keywords others use. So is that it?

    No! To stop at this point assumes you have found what potential
    visitors will enter when they want a product or service such as
    yours. But you do not *know* these are the phrases real people
    will use. You do not know you have the magic keywords.

    I have a suggestion. It is not a guaranteed solution, but I have
    used it successfully. It goes like this.

    I write a good description of the product or service I want to
    sell, maybe half a page. I describe what it is, what it does,
    and how one will benefit from it. I write much as I would when
    producing an ad. However, I do all possible to *avoid* the
    keywords I feel will be used.

    Next I pester everyone I know, asking what they might enter to
    find this product. And I give it time; not everyone is as
    interested in my problem as I am.

    When I have collected replies, I go back and pester these same
    people with a list ranked with the most common suggestions up
    top, including phrases I found that were not mentioned. I ask
    them to pick four or five they feel are best.

    I have found some really neat keywords in this way, phrases I
    would never have discovered on my own. I hope you can make it
    work for you.

    I sense this is an aspect of search engine positioning often
    overlooked. It is easy for me to pick a phrase related to your
    business and get you top position on at least some search
    engines. It is meaningless, though, unless people actually enter
    that phrase.

    Bob McElwain
    Web marketing and consulting since 1993
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    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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