Now that you have your master keyword list, probably with a few hundred keyword phrases, you have to drill down and figure out which keywords you are going to target for each page of your Web site that you want to optimize. Keep in mind that each page you optimize should lean toward a different set of keywords. Why? What good is buying 100 lottery tickets for the next drawing if they all have the same number? It is the same idea here.
Your efforts should focus around those keyword phrases that bring in a fair volume of traffic and that are highly targeted. The return on investment for such keywords will be much higher. When reviewing your keyword list, you need to consider:
- Which keywords are vital to your objectives
- Which keywords are popular enough to generate reasonable, sustainable traffic
- Which keywords do not have so much competition that it would be counterproductive considering the time and effort necessary to target them.
You can begin editing the list by deleting words that either are too generic (for example, business) or are not appropriate for keyword purposes. Review each word and ask yourself, “Would people search using this word if they were looking for the products and services available through my Web site?”
For each page that you are optimizing, take a copy of the comprehensive master list and delete words that are not appropriate for that particular page. Reprioritize the remaining keywords based on the content of the page you are indexing. Now take the keyword phrase you have assigned to this page and put it at the top of the list. This is the keyword list for that particular page. Repeat this procedure for every page you are optimizing. This is also a great procedure
when you are developing the keyword meta-tag for each page of your site.
What I just covered is a very basic approach to organizing keywords. If you are up to the challenge, you can take it further by adding weights and multipliers to your keyword list to further refine it.
Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when refining your keywords master list:
- Plural and singular keywords—Google matches exactly what the user searches for, so it is important to use both where possible.
- Using the names of your competitors—Never include a competitor’s name in your keywords. Because several search engines read only a small amount of content for keywords, you lose valuable page real estate to irrelevant keywords when you use your competitor’s name.
- Common misspellings of words—There are many words that people misspell on a frequent basis. The question here is, do you include those misspelled keywords in your site or not? My stance is “no.” Although people use them in their searches, it hurts your credibility in that you come off as a company incapable of correctly spelling its own products and services. There are exceptions to every rule. Canadian sites often have U.S. customers as their target market and U.S. sites often have Canadian customers as their target market. There are a number of words that are spelled differently by these countries—theatre in Canada is theater in the United States, centre in Canada is center in the United States, colour in Canada is color in the United States, for example. If you are caught with one of your important keywords spelled differently by your target market, you might want to optimize a page of your site
to accommodate this. Perhaps you might offer a page that is designed for “Our Canadian Friends” or for “Our American Friends.”
- Filter and stop words—Filter words are words that search engines simply ignore during searches. Stop words are extremely common words that search engines use as triggers to stop grabbing content on a given page, such as “and,” “a,” and “the.” Some search engines view stop words and filter words as the same thing, but you need to remember only one thing: search engines bypass these words to save time, as these words are not considered to add any value to the search. It is best to try to avoid using stop words where possible in your keyword phrases.
- Modifiers—A modifier is a keyword you add to your primary keyword phrase to give it a boost. Who simply searches for a hotel at random? It doesn’t make sense. You look for a hotel in combination with a destination. In this case, the destination is the modifier.
- Multiple-word keyword phrases—Two- or three-keyword phrases perform better than single keywords.
Step 4. Assign Specific Keywords to Specific Pages
The next step is to allocate specific keywords to specific pages of your site for search engine optimization. You then populate each page in the appropriate places with the assigned keyword. You do this because you want to ensure that
no matter which keyword or keyword phrase your target market decides to search on, one of the pages on your site is likely to rank in the first couple of pages of search results.
To assign specific keyword phrases to specific pages, we’re going back to grade 2. Remember when the teacher gave you a page with words down one side and definitions down the other? Well, we’re going to do something similar. Take a piece of paper and write down the pages you are going to optimize on the right side of the page. Then take the same number of important keyword phrases and write those down on the left side of the page. Now try to match the keyword phrase to the page where there is an opportunity to get the keyword phrase into the content of the page you are going to optimize.