Tuesday, July 26, 2011

SEO Tips - Part 2

Choose carefully your keywords

As I mentioned before, choosing carefully your key-phrases is crucial for your SEO campaign.

How to do it right?

Start from obvious keywords that describe in the best way your activity, ask your friends how do they search Internet if they want to get what you offer, use software tools to get more suggestions.

After you have run out of suggestions, the next place to go is Google, type "AdWords keyword tool" - Google offers a free key suggestion tool.

You need a Google Account to get rid of annoying CAPTCHA, but it is working without an account just fine, just go to "Reporting and Tools" and pick up "Keyword Tool"

Type in your best key-phrase and click search. The "Keyword Tool" will come back with suggestions, see example below - suggestions for keyword 'games':

It provides you enough information to get an idea about the value of each suggested key: 
  • Competition, 
  • Global Monthly Searches, 
  • Local Monthly Searches.

A good way to sort the key-phrases is based on their 'Key efficiency index'=KEI.

A good formula for KEI is:

Where we have:
Relevance (R): it is how closely your keyword is related to what you offer to your customers. 
Use a three points scale:
  • 1 for Excellent
  • 2 for Good
  • 3 for Poor
Search Volume (Sv): it is how many queries are made for a keyword per month. 
Competition (C): that's how many websites are already more or less optimized for this keyword.

The easiest way to calculate the KEI is, export in Excel your preferred suggestions from Google's keyword suggestion tool, create a column for 'Relevance' and add your best assessment there (remember 1 to 3), then create another column called 'KEI' and calculate it based on above formula. 

Coz Google's data about competition is less than one - you should multiply it with 10^6 or 10^8 for reasonable results (avoid huge number).

Once you have the column 'KEI' calculated, you should sort your keywords descending based on column KEI value and voila, you have the first logically ordered list of key-phrases.

Few things to remember when you work with  "Google's keyword Tool":
  • use Match Type = [Exact] to get a realistic number for Monthly Searches
  • use Local Monthly Searches - forget about Global (if you use this free tool - think local first - start small, grow big)
  • due to the fact that competition number is not terribly accurate, better don't use it - get your competitors number from Google, just type in your 'keyword', press search and read the competition as shown below:

KEI is not all that you need, to be able to pick up the most marketable key-phrases for your niche... You need to apply few more filters, do more research, in order to get to the honey.

You need to get more data about your competition and the real dimension of it.

How many webpages are optimized for the same potential key-phrases? 
How many links are out there having these key-phrases as anchors?

You should answer these questions before picking up your 'most marketable' keys.

Google helps and let you use search operators to figure out these answers, and the ones that we want to use are INTITLE and INANCHOR.

Example - Type in Google:

Having the number of sites optimized for a specific keyword, gives you the real dimension of your competition = number of websites that have the 'keyword' in their title.

If this number is in billions...then you are totally screwed (big boys are using your keywords), if number is in low millions that's more achievable and if number is less than a million just GO FOR IT.

Best thing is to add few new columns to your previously put together Excel file and recalculate the KEI (Keyword Efficiency Index) based on INTITLE (replacing C-Competition with INTITLE number), then you can sort the keys descending by this new column (INTITLE KEY).

Continuing example given before with keyword 'games' - below are the top 20-ish keywords, ordered descending based on their true key efficiency - giving you the TOP of your 'most marketable' keys...

Many keys will have similar descending patterns on both KEI columns ("KEI" and "INTITLE KEI"), but you can see that are some surprises.

BY example [car games] based on KEI=465.51 should be placed higher in the list, but due to a relatively high number of optimized competitors webpages = intitle:[car games] = 49,000,000 it will be downgraded having INTITLE KEI lower than [shooting games] by example, which has only 2.5mil sites that have this key in the title (compared with 49mil for [car games]).

You could use more formulas and more filters if you want and need - free imagination always helps and by the way....if you have a favorite key that doesn't qualify based on formulas, but your gut feel says use it, then use it.

Formulas are good in SEO, coz give you a sorted list based on some logical assumptions, but your gut feel can be the missing parameter that can send to you millions of visitors. 
So keep an eye on your gut feel.

Keywords Selection, Hard work? Yes, if you have to do all these stuff manually, or using just EXCEL (or similar), then you need time....a lot of time.

If you don't have time or just need to be quicker...you can do it using SEO software. 

Which one? Are so many out there and all cost money and promise miracles....

I can tell you about my choice SEO POWERSUITE from Link-Assistant. 

Rank Tracker (part of SEO Powersuite) - it slashes your SEO workload in half and does all above and much more....
FREE version is fully featured, no restrictions, it is easy to use and in this way it is not hard to figure out if you truly like it or not.

Next time at SEO Tips - we talk about On-Site Optimization.



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