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April 22, 2008

Keyword Marketing Explained and Simplified

Are you sick and tired of hearing about keywords, keyword optimization, keyword stuffing, keyword ratio and more? Why all the hype about keywords? What do they really do for a business?

Keywords are important plain and simple. They are the words customers, potential customers and website visitors might use in a search engine to find your information.

For example, a person researching cell phones might use the following keywords typed into Google, Yahoo, Metacrawler or any number of the available search engines.

– Cell phones – Wireless phones – Cell phone planes – Prepaid cell phone – Best cell phone – Cellphone – Cell phone deals – Cell phone reviews

When choosing keywords for a business the first step is to consider what terms people will use to find you. To accomplish this, a three step approach is often recommended.

1. Brainstorm ideas. Sitting down with a pen and paper to brainstorm keywords may seem silly at first however brainstorming is a successful strategy. The more a person is able to think outside of the box and put themselves in their prospects’ shoes, the more productive the brainstorming exercise will be. Challenge yourself to come up with 50 potential keywords. Remember that people often misspell keywords, like the ‘cellphone’ example used in the list above.

2. Consult with associates, friends and family, current customers. Step two is to start asking around. Ask people what keywords they would use to find information on your business topic. Friends, family and associates are generally the best place to go however if a business has a close relationship with their customers, then asking a few key customers may be beneficial.

3. Research using keyword popularity tools. This third step is where business owners often skip right to. However if you don’t attack a keyword popularity tool with a plan, you can end up with thousands of potential options ‘ a real mess. Instead, take a look at keywords that you are confident in and comfortable with and then use the keyword tools to tell you how often those keywords are used. This will help business owners determine what their primary keywords are and what keywords to use in their content or on secondary website pages.

Here are a few free keyword tools:

a. Keyword Tool

b. Free trial


d. Free Trial

That leads us right into a very frequently asked question…where are keywords used? Several places actually…The primary place keywords need to be used is the home page or index page of a business website. This is the page people land on when they come to a website. Maybe it has sales copy, maybe it tells a bit about the company’s products or services, or maybe it offers informational copy. The general rule of thumb is to focus on one or two primary keywords. Place them in the headline, first and last paragraph and then naturally scattered throughout the copy. Keyword stuffing or jamming your copy full of you keywords makes the copy read like a phone book and the search engines don’t like it.

Secondary keywords can be used on subsequent website pages, articles, press releases, press releases, advertisements, blog posts and so on. Using the example from earlier a primary key word might be “cell phone” or “cell phones” and a secondary keyword might be “cell phone reviews”

Keyword hype is justified. They are a direct contributor to a company’s bottom line. Keywords help potential customers find the information, products, and services they’re looking for. They help people find your business. Taking the time to choose the right keywords, the most commonly used keywords, and then setting up your business to highlight those keywords will help drive traffic to your business website. The end result is more traffic and more profits.

Joan Finholt is a retired teacher and loves using the internet. She is co-owner of Bound and Determined books and yes, the domain name spelling is correct.