SEO-upgrades: Keywords

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Keywords and Keyword Phrases Are Important

Keywords and keyword phrases need to come from a Web page's content and are an abstract of the focus for the Web page. Google automatically identifies the keywords and phrases from a Web page's content.

By creating keyword meta data for each page and then systematically using the keywords and keyword phrases from the meta data as anchor text, in the page title, in h tags, as well as in the text content of the Web page, you improve the chances of ensuring Google, and other search engines, sees the same keywords and keyword phrases as you've identified for the page. And that you get a good placement in the Google search results on your keywords.

Google's advise to Webmasters regarding keywords is:

Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.

[source: Google Webmasters/Site owners Help, Webmaster guidelines (viewed July 2009)]

Finding Keywords

Google and SEO experts recommend picking a niche for your Web site. Possible keywords should naturally occur as you start to create informative content for your site's niche.

It is extremely important that you test your possible keywords and keyword phrases against the Google AdWords Kewword Tool to discover new keyword variations and see the approximate search volume for each keyword and keyword phrase variants. To benefit from search engine traffic, you need to include keywords that people search. A small change wording in your content can change a descriptive phrase about your site from one with a negligable monthly search volume to a phrase with 1000s of monthly searches. But remember, the phrase needs to remain meaningful to theme and content of your Web site. Otherwise, search visitors will hit your page and then leave almost immediately when they don't see what they want.

A July 2009 check of the Google Keyword tool showed:
gold mines 74,000 monthly search volume
gold mining 165,000 monthly search volume
silver mine 27,100 monthly search volume
silver mining 22,200 monthly search volume
silver mine company 46 monthly search volume
mining 4,090,000 monthly search volume
gold 55,600,000 monthly search volume

Conclusion: For, a site about gold and silver mining companies, the above stats suggest that it may be preferrable to write about gold mining and silver mining as opposed to trying to go after the broader mining and gold keywords for iniital keyword phrases -- more focus means less competition and a better chance of landing on the first page of a Google search result. Notice, that which owns page 1 of Google search for gold does not appear in the first 10 pages of gold mining searches.

After you have refined your keywords and keyword phrases using the Google tools, you should test them with actual Google search results: your search results should be finding sites that have some relationship to your site. If the search results include lots of semantically unrelated sites, then you need to refine your keywords. Otherwise, you run the risk of a high bounce rate (not good):

Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page). Bounce rate is a measure of visit quality and a high bounce rate generally indicates that site entrance (landing) pages aren't relevant to your visitors. You can minimize Bounce Rates by tailoring landing pages to each keyword and ad that you run. Landing pages should provide the information and services that were promised in the ad copy.

[source: Google Analytics Help - What types of reports does the Visitor section offer, viewed July 2009]

In summary, the process of creating a Web page has to be an interative process where you strive to create unique content using the most effective related keywords ajd keyword phrases confirmed on using Google's keyword tools. Keywords and keyword phrases should be used more than once on the page. But how many times a keyword or keyword phrase should be used in open to speculation -- Google does not reveal a metric but ad hoc tests of keyword usage counts verus total word counts on Google search result pages suggests occurances in the range of 1% to 5%.

Stop Words

Avoid using stopwords in search phrases and never use stopwords as individual keywords. Stopwords are words that are ignored by Google search (i.e. irrelevant to any search result). believes the English Google stopwords are words such as:

A much more comprehensive list of Google English stopwords is published at How To Win The SEO War. Review the list and avoid these words.

More Tips

Obviously stop words have to be used within your content to make content readable for your visitors. However, avoid using stop words within your keyword meta title, meta keywords, links, file names, folder names, and h1, h2, h3, etc. tags.

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