Search Engine Optimization is the name given to the process of making a particular web page ‘stand out’ from the crowd for a set of related search terms, and thus get ‘noticed’ by Google. The effect of this is that when someone searches on Google for one of these phrases the site gets a position on the first page of results.
When the right phrases are targeted, this can lead to a lot of traffic and hence sales.
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To achieve this you have to do two things:-
- Find the right phrases to get listed for
- Do your SEO in an ethical way = Honest SEO
The second point is key, as some people see SEO as ‘cheating’. This can be true if incorrect methods are used, but if you do things the ‘correct’ way, a webpage – and thus a web site – gain the rank, and the traffic that they deserve. Don’t get me wrong, this is not easy, but it is the only way to go in the long term.
Selecting the Right Target Phrases
Before you can start the SEO of a site, you first must understand what your target audience is looking for, only then can you build content that will interest them. This starts with finding the keywords they are using on Google. The chances are you will find hundreds, if not thousands of words are being used. The question is then, “which ones to choose?”
For many sites, some of the most highly used phrases will just have too much competition. As this means getting a high rank is unlikely, you are best to lower your sights and choose words that are less highly sought after by your competition.
So, when selecting the target keywords for your website, be sure to consider the competitiveness level, meaning the number of other sites targeting these or similar keywords.
So how do I determine the competitiveness level for my chosen keywords?
You can get some idea from the keyword research data, as this should give you an idea of how many people are using that keyword in Google’s Adwords. This data gives a reading between .01 and 1.0, the higher the figure, the more competition. It is not a full proof check though, as a website could be targeting a phrase in Adwords, but not optimising their website, SEO wise. However, it does give you some idea.
The next thing you can do, is to use the “allintitle” search, as this will tell you the number of pages in the Google index that are really optimized for that keyword.
Why use an “allintitle” search?
One of the best ways you can tell Google what a page is all about, is to use some descriptive words in the META TITLE of the page. Thus if your page was about ‘Fluffy Dog Beds’ using those words in the Meta title (this is what is shown in the tab of your browser and is not seen on the page) is a very good idea. What you want to aim for is to use the keyword phrases you are targeting in some form of sentence, using this as your Title.
Because it is such a good and well known SEO tactic, we can assume that anyone wanting to target the same phrase, may well use ‘Fluffy Dog Beds’ in their title. This is just what the search tells us, giving us the number of pages that have the words ‘Fluffy Dog Beds’ in their Title.
The more sites that use the keyword phrase, the more difficult it will be to obtain a page one ranking. It does not mean it is impossible, but it will undoubtedly be more difficult.
How do I perform an “allintitle” search?
Performing an “allintitle” search is easy:
- Go to http://google.com
- In the search field box type ‘allintitle: your key words’ (don’t use any quotation marks, just the words) and run the search. (For this example, our keywords are “fluffy dog beds” because we love dogs!)
- Google will provide the number of pages with that phrase in their title tags. In this instance, only 583 pages were using the phrase, which makes it a good target – if that is what you sell and the search volume is high enough.
*Note: Google may not let you use lots of “allintitle” searches one after another, and may therefore block you from running too many in quick succession. Best to way to avoid this temporary block is to take your time between each search. If do get blocked, leave it a while and you should be OK later on.
The idea is to only work with keywords that have less than one thousand results. That is the level considered to be “non-competitive”. The figures below give you an idea of the different competition levels:
- Under 1,000 – Non-competitive
- 1,000 – 4,000 – Mildly competitive
- 4,000 – 6,000 – Competitive
- 6,000+ – Highly Competitive
This research all takes time – Is there a better way?
The good news is that there are better ways of finding low competition keyphrases to target. However, because of the level of competition in the market place today, for just about anything, these phrases are likely to be ‘long tail keyphrase’, which means that they are going to contain 3 keywords or more. This in turn means that the search volume for each phrase is going to be low.
On the upside, these phrases are often used by people towards the end of the buying cycle and therefore are much more likely to buy your products or services.
On the downside though, it all means that you have to create pages that targets as many related phrases as you can manage (without being spammy), which means producing long detailed ‘interesting’ content.
First however, you need access to the software that allows you to find these seams of gold, ones that exist in just about any market place. The problem is that most businesses just don’t have this software or the time and expertise to use it.
SEO Professional to the rescue
This is where the SEO professional comes to the rescue – this is after all what you are paying them for – as they ‘Should’ have this sort of software in their arsenal. They can run the initial keyword research to find the relevant high volume phrases, and then using this data, dig down to the less competitive, lesser used keyphrases.
They can then either write the content, or help you write it, to capture those searches, whilst of course making sure that the entire domain is fit and healthy – you need to make sure your domain is in good standing before you can use it as a base for these special ‘keyword trapping’ pages.
So, if you are interested in finding out all those keywords that could bring you in a lots of highly relevant ‘ready to buy’ traffic, then please do contact Serendipity. We have the tools, knowledge and experience to help you build your business.
About the author
Graham Baylis was born in 1957 and has therefore seen the birth of the Internet and experienced at first hand, just how it has changed the World we live in. He has been involved with computers since 1983 and helped set up the first electronic mail system used by the Civil Service in 1986. He has gained several qualifications in Computing and Marketing and has written hundreds of blogs which you can find around the web, many being on customer’s websites. He has over 19 years of experience with Pay Per Click and SEO and has an answer for most Search Marketing questions, and, for those that he hasn’t is quick to find one. Continually coming up with solutions, Graham is one person it is worth having a chat with.