Choosing The Correct Keywords For A Site
In this article, we focus on the correct way of finding
out the keywords for which you should optimize your site
for the search engines. This article will give you the
formula for the Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI) - a
mathematical formula which I have developed to help you
determine which keywords you should be optimizing your
Step 1: Open your text editor or word processor and write
down all the words and phrases that you might have searched
for if you were looking for a company which offers products
and services similar to yours. For example, suppose your
company organizes packaged tours to Australia. Here's a
list of phrases that I might have searched for if I were
planning to make a trip to Australia:
Of course, the keywords that came to your mind may have
been different. But that's not important - the important
thing is to get an initial list of keywords.
- tourism in Australia
- travel to Australia
- travelling in Australia
- travel agencies in Australia
- travelling agencies in Australia
- Australian travel agencies
You may be wondering why I have not used single word
keywords. Here's why:
Firstly, single word keywords tend to be hyper-competitive.
A search for "tourism" or "travelling" in any search engine
will probably generate hundreds of thousands of pages. While
it is possible that you may get your page in the top 10 for
such a single word keyword, it is quite unlikely.
Secondly, because of the sheer number of pages that single
word searches can throw up, most search engine users have
realized that they can get more relevant pages if they
search for phrases rather than individual words. Statistical
research has shown that most people are now searching
for 2 or 3 word phrases rather than for single words.
Thirdly, single word keywords won't get you targeted traffic.
When people search for "tourism", they are not necessarily
looking for tourist destinations in Australia - they may be
interested in any other country of the world. Even if you
got your site into the top 10 for tourism, you gain nothing
from such visitors.
However, when someone searches for "tourism in Australia",
he/she is your potential customer, and hence, it makes
sense for you to try and get a top ranking for your site
for that keyword. Hence, whenever you are trying to generate
keywords, try to be location specific. Try to think of keywords
which apply to the geographic area that your product or
service is designed to serve.
Step 2: Open any spreadsheet program that is installed in
your hard drive. I assume you are using Microsoft Excel.
If you are using some other spreadsheet program, just
change the spreadsheet related procedures outlined here
to fit your program.
Create 4 columns - one for the keyword, one for the
popularity of the keyword, one for the number of sites
that appear in AltaVista for that keyword and the last
for something I call the Keyword Effectiveness Index
(don't worry - I'll explain what KEI means later on).
In order to ensure that you can follow what I am saying,
I recommend that you add the following column headers to
the first four columns of the first row of your spreadsheet:
In case you don't want to take the trouble of creating
your own spreadsheet,
download the keywords.zip file from 1stSearchRanking.com
The file contains a sample spreadsheet in Excel 97 format.
Step 3: A great way to obtain a list of keywords related
to the ones you have developed in the first step is to
use WordTracker's keyword generation service by going to
Click on the "Trial" option at the top of the site. In the
page that appears, type in your name and email address and
click on the "Start the trial >>" button. In the next page,
click on "Click here to start the trial". In the next page,
type in the first keyword that you developed in Step 1, i.e.
"tourism in Australia", in the text box. Click on the
"Proceed >>" button.
Step 4: In the next page, WordTracker will display a list
of keywords related to the keyword that you had typed in.
(Just scroll down the left pane to see the keywords). Now,
click on the first keyword in the left pane which is applicable
for your site.
In the right pane, WordTracker will show a list of keywords
which contain the keyword you had clicked on in the left pane.
Then in the table that you have created in your spreadsheet,
copy each of the keywords in the right pane and paste them
in the first column of the table. Also, copy the number of
times those keywords have been used (i.e. the figure present
in the Count column in WordTracker) and paste them in the
In order to ensure that you can follow me, make sure
that you type the first keyword in the second row of your
spreadsheet. Of course, you should only bother adding
a keyword to your spreadsheet if it is applicable for
Once you have added all the keywords in the right pane
which are applicable for your site, click on the next
keyword in the left pane which is applicable for your site.
Once again, WordTracker will display a list of keywords in
the right pane which contain the keyword you had clicked on
in the left pane. Again, copy the keywords in the right pane
which are applicable for your site and paste them in the
first column of your spreadsheet. Also, copy the figures
present in the Count column and paste them in the second
column beside the corresponding keywords. Repeat this process
for each of the keywords in the left pane.
Step 5: Once you have finished with all the keywords in
the left pane, press your browser's Back button a number
of times until WordTracker again displays the text box which
asks you to type in a keyword. Type in the second keyword in
your original list (i.e. "travel to Australia"), click on
the "Proceed >>" button and repeat Step 4. Do this for each
of the keywords that you developed in Step 1.
Step 6: Go to AltaVista ( http://www.altavista.com ).
Search for the first keyword that is present in your
spreadsheet using exact match search (i.e. you should
wrap the keyword in quotes, i.e. you should type a
quotation mark before typing the keyword and a quotation
mark after typing it).
AltaVista will return the number of sites which are
relevant to that keyword. Add this number to the third
column of the spreadsheet in the same row in which the
keyword is present. Repeat this process for each of the
keywords present in your spreadsheet. Once you have done
that, your first column will contain the keywords, your
second column will show the popularity of the keywords
and your third column will contain the number of sites
you are competing against to get a high ranking for
Now it's time to calculate the KEI!
Step 7: The Keyword Effectiveness Index is the square of
the popularity of a keyword multiplied by 1000 and divided
by the number of sites which appear in AltaVista for that
keyword. It is designed to measure which keywords are worth
optimizing your site for. Higher the KEI, better the keyword.
How the formula for the KEI is arrived at is beyond the scope
of this article. If you want to know, send a blank email to
If you had used the spreadsheet file that I created for
you (see Step 2), you won't need to enter the formula for
calculating the KEI yourself. The KEI would be automatically
calculated for you the moment you enter the values in columns
2 and 3. You can go straight to Step 8.
In case you didn't download the file, here's how you can
calculate the KEI.
I am assuming that you have created the spreadsheet
columns in the way I recommended in Step 3 and that
you are using Microsoft Excel. If you using some other
spreadsheet program you will need to adjust the formula
to the requirements of your spreadsheet program.
Click on cell D2. Type in the following exactly
as it is shown:
Then click on the Copy button to copy the formula, select
all the cells in column 4 which have keywords associated
with them and press the Paste button to paste the formula.
The KEI for each keyword will be displayed.
Step 8: Use your spreadsheet program's Sort feature to
sort the rows in descending order of the KEI. In Excel 97
you would click on the Data menu, click on the Sort menu
item choose KEI from the drop-down combo box named "Sort by",
click on the "Descending" option next to it, and then
click on OK.
And guess what - that's it! You now know the keywords
which you should optimize your site for. You can now start
optimizing your site one by one for each keyword, starting
with the keyword with the highest KEI. Exactly how many of
the keywords you choose to optimize your site for largely
depends on the amount of time that you can spare from your
normal business activities. But whatever the number of keywords
that you target, it obviously makes sense to go for the most
effective keywords first.
Tying up the loose ends...
The number of related keywords that WordTracker displays
in the trial version is limited. In order to get all the
keywords which are related to the keywords you had developed
in Step 1, you would need to subscribe to WordTracker's
About the author:
Article by Sumantra Roy. Sumantra is one of the most
respected search engine positioning specialists on the
Internet. To have Sumantra's company place your site at
the top of the search engines, go to
For more advice on how you can take your web site to
the top of the search engines, subscribe to his FREE
newsletter by going to
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