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How to use Keywords for Pleasure and Profit

Everyone has read that keywords are paramount for search engine spiders, website visitors and users. What about keyword prominence, keyword density, keyword effectiveness indexing (KEI) or keyword significance? The Tex Avery Method of Content Optimization (found elsewhere on this site) offered keyword prominence and how to use keywords for search engine optimization as well as visitors. However, that article did not engage in a simple, introductory explanation: What are keywords?

The following article addresses that.

Keywords are effective. Keywords are elusive. Keywords are unfathomable. Keywords are paramount. Keywords are misunderstood by most.

Single keywords are illusory. Various studies have shown that searches performed with a single word inserted into search engines are seldom done these days. They are not accurate nor beneficial for visitors. Search engine results based on that single word have multiple sites competing for search ranking placement. Competitive keyword use is different than Competitor keyword use. It’s monumentally different.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say hand soap’s what you sell. Competitors’ keywords are those used by your competitors selling hand soap. All competitors use similar keywords. Simple, isn’t it. If you Google “soap”, you’ll see that the majority of the search results reference Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), laundry detergents, hand soaps and Soap Operas. All of these things are competing for the word “soap”. Google states “Results 1 - 10 of about 207,000,000 for soap.” You may sell “hand soap” but the competitive use (and, results found therein) go beyond all sites which sell toiletries. Further, it’s not just every boutique site which shows in the results but ezines, dictionary services, government studies, &c. That’s competitive use.

Single keywords are useless? Well, no. If you can reduce what your site offers or represents to simple keywords, you can construct effective keyword phrases from them.

What are keyword phrases?

Two or more words. “Web Standards” is a simple keyword phrase because principle search results are made for “web standards” (however, it will also show useless results—in Google—for “web” and “standards” which accounts for Google’s massive amount of pages returned). “Search Engine Optimization” is a simple keyword phrase for the same reason. “Web Standards Search Engine Optimization” is a complex keyword phrase because it will show search results of the combinative variations of those words, e.g., “Search Engine Optimization Standards” or "Standard Web Search".

Keyword phrases are constructed with principle keywords and/or lateral keywords.

Principle Keywords are general phrases. Web + Standards. Search + Engine + Optimization.

Lateral Keywords are a descriptive word or phrase. Basic. Simple. SEO. Standards. Tutorials. Performance. Guidelines. Semantics.

And, there is third set that should be used, Secondary Keywords.

Secondary Keywords are similar to Lateral Keywords but cross-reference secondary markets or are used for being serendipitously found in search engine results whereby curious users may visit. Design History. Cascading Style Sheets. Usability. Accessibility. Web Design. Web Analytics. W3C. User Interface Experience. Information Architecture.

The simple, following paragraph illustrates the use of some keywords I’ve identified as being paramount for this site.

Web Standards Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) performed Phasellus varius standards eleifend tellus. Accessibility Guidelines Suspendisse potenti. Class aptent taciti rejuvenating sociosqu ad standards litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos hymenaeos. Nulla facilisi. Sed wisi lectus, placerat nec, mollis quis, posuere eget, arcu. Donec euismod. Praesent mauris mi, adipiscing non, mollis eget, adipiscing ac, erat. Integer Cascading Style Sheets are used for nonummy mauris sit amet metus. In adipiscing, ligula Tex Avery design ultrices dictum vehicula, eros turpis lacinia libero, sed aliquet urna diam sed tellus. Etiam semper sapien web eget metus.

The trick is to write content in a natural manner so that visitors and search engine spiders remain interested. [Note: It’s The Tex Avery Method.] Most content authors write naturally about their subject matter without regard for SEO. That subject matter will be found by search engines because it already contains some keywords. Perhaps, it will achieve prominent search ranking; perhaps not. If one uses all three sets of keywords, odds are increased.

When one reads about SEO companies compiling hundreds of keywords for clients, they mean keyword phrases. Or, at least, they should since we all know that single keywords are ineffective. Some companies compile one thousand phrases because all word combinations must be documented for tracking Return-on-Investment (ROI). We’ve done that.

Any combination of principle, lateral and secondary keywords — that you have identified and included — will be found by search engines. However, one must remember that search engines return results for what word combinations users enter! which translates as whatever words you’ve identified will - Eventually - wind up on search engines as well as every possible combination of all of the words collected in your content! e.g., “Tex Avery” + “design”.

What are keyword lists?

They are lists of words and phrases. They are not static; they expand (and, contract). Everyone can construct keyword lists. I’ve found that a three-column layout works for me.

  • Review your site.
  • Define your primary audience and/or readers.
  • Compile Primary Keyword Phrases. [Note: This should be as simple as using site main navigation titles or archive/category titles.] First column.
  • Select descriptive words, i.e., Lateral Keywords. Second column.
  • Identify secondary audiences and/or readers that you wish would visit your site.
  • Compile Secondary Keyword Phrases. Third column.

The Primary Keyword Phrases column should remain relatively static. The Lateral Keywords and Secondary Keyword Phrases columns should change because new descriptive words or folksomony changes will be found or new audiences may be identified. By having a keyword list, it becomes an aide-mémoire when composing content for selecting unremembered words or phrases.

And, Lastly, there’s this. The Elementary Group referrer logs show the current majority of Google directed visitors visiting because of “hula dancers” and “three hula dancers” but not from Google Web: they’re from Google Images.

So, after all of the above, all words may be keywords but it’s how you use them that affects search engines.

Sean Fraser posted this on May 26, 2006 11:17 AM.

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Bob wrote this at September 4, 2006 06:10 PM

Is there a good free source for finding lateral keywords ? if so, where ?

besides Wordtracker, which is only free one time.


P.S good article

Comment Author Gravatar
Sean Fraser wrote this at September 9, 2006 05:45 PM

Bob: None of the tools will return actual "lateral keywords". They are selected by a user. Google Adwords Keyword Tool is good. After you have identified your primary keywords, any other keywords from any tool become lateral keywords.

The simplest method I have found is to make a three-column spreadsheet: first column is your primary words; second column is lateral; and, the third column is for the secondary keywords. After one has identified those words, then one can begin compiling a list of all of the keyword phrases. An average list should be at least 500 phrases.

Commonsense will give you most lateral keywords; competitive analysis will give you the remaining lateral keywords as well as secondary words/phrases.

I hope that helps.

And, thank you for compliment.

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The Elementary Standards: A Compendium of Web Standards, CSS, Linguistics and Search Engine Optimization methodology Copyright ©2005-2007 Sean Fraser. All work is published under a Creative Commons License. All Rights Reserved.

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