Return to Harrold's Search Engines Links
[You are free to distribute and publish this article, as long as you credit
 it to You may edit it as you like to match your
 audience or publication.]

The Ultimate Keyword Optimization Guide for Search Engine Positioning.
Article by David Gikandi [June '99]     Photo/Credit

We all know it and we all do it. Whenever the typical web user needs
 to find something on the web, he or she will almost always instinctively
 go to one of the top search engines and run a search. Then, he or she will
 have a look at the first 30 search results returned (usually the first
 three pages of results), hardly ever looking beyond that. If nothing looks
 appealing, they will run another search using a variation of the keywords
 they used on the first search. Again, they will look at the first 30
 results. If they still find nothing of interest, they may switch
 to a different search engine and repeat the process. This, believe it
 or not, is the typical web navigation behavior of at least 86% of the
 110 million all web users out there. The question is, does your web site
 capitalize on this behavior?

If the answer is yes for you, then no matter what a user searches
 for that has any relation at all to your products, they should find you
 even if they hadn't thought of finding you! That translates to a very high
 amount of daily traffic to your site. Is this what is happening for you?

I bet the answer is no. Very few web sites really capitalize on this
 behavior. However, you can learn how to do so. For this tutorial, we
 shall assume that you are in the business of selling wedding gowns.
 You have a web site that does a good job of displaying your wedding gowns,
 but like most other web site owners, your web traffic is really low and
 clients are simply not finding you. You have done everything you can think
 of, but your pages hardly come up on the search engines. What next? Well,
 get ready to learn one of the most effective online marketing strategies.

We know that the web user will think of a keyword or phrase and type that
 into a search form on an engine. That is his or her first step, and so it
 should be ours. This is a very important step! Get a piece of paper or
 open up your text editor and keep writing all the keywords and phrases
 that you think of as you go through the steps outlined below. Selecting
 the right keywords or keyword phrases will skyrocket your traffic.
 Research has shown that most people use phrases of 2 to 3 keywords when
 searching. People have come to learn that just typing in one keyword in
 a search will get them thousands of records that they just do not need.
 Therefore, they combine two or three keywords in their searches.

Your list should end up having about 50 or more keywords and phrases.
 You must write down every word that a person might use to look for your
 site PLUS words they may use to look for other related information or
 products. This is no easy task. It involves some research and a fair bit
 of thought. Remember, thousands of people out there looking for wedding
 gowns may not all think alike, look for wedding gowns directly, or even
 realize at the time that they can get wedding gowns on the net! To get
 a good list, here are the steps that you should go through. Keep your
 pen and paper handy so that you keep writing as you go along each step.

1. Think! Brainstorm! Sit down for several minutes and think! Write down
 whatever keywords or phrases come to mind. Then look at your list and see
 what other word combinations you can make out from the keywords you have
 already written down.

2. Look at your products and services and see what words relating to them
 will pop up in your mind. Write the names of each product or service that
 you deal in. These product names will also be part of your keyword list.

3. Ask your family, associates, clients, and friends what words and phrases
 they would most likely use to search for products or services like yours.

4. See what keywords your competitors use. See what keywords are featured
 on their pages and in their meta tags.

5. Be specific AND general in scope. Think of words that also describe
 things related to what your site is about. For example, if you sell
 wedding gowns, also think about other things and words related to weddings,
 such as honeymoon, bridal registry, wedding rings, engagements, and other
 wedding accessories and services. The idea here is to capture people who
 may be looking for other things related to weddings, whether they are
 directly looking for wedding gowns or not at the time. Chances are that
 someone looking for any wedding related information will also be interested
 in knowing about wedding gowns. Get the idea? This is a very powerful way
 of getting more targeted traffic to your site.

6. Do not forget misspelled words. People often misspell words when they
 enter their search terms. Include commonly misspelled words or phrases
 as part of your list.

7. If your site deals with a particular region, remember to include that.

8. Use the long and short form of words, e.g. consult, consulting, and

9. DO NOT SPAM! Do not use keywords that have nothing to do with your web
 site. Do not list the keyword "sex" or "free pics" just because they are
 frequently searched for if they do not have anything to do with your web
 site. You will only get traffic that is of no use to you anyway because
 surfers will come to your site and leave angrily when they realize you
 just cheated them. Also, search engines are on the look out for such
 deceitful practices and can sometimes ban your pages for spamming. As
 long as you stick with keywords related to your core business, you will
 be fine, but do not go way out of line.

10. Now its time for some research. You now need to look at what people
 are actually searching for on the various engines and get more phrases
 for your list. Here is a list of sites that will help you out with that.
 When doing your research at these sites, remember steps number 5, 6,
 and 8 above - people often misspell words, they use different word forms,
 and they may be looking for a whole lot of different stuff all related
 to your products.

(a) Keywords Inventory Search
    ( )
 - search for your keywords here and see how popular they were on The service will also tell you what other related keywords and phrases were searched for. This is perfect for finding related keywords that you may not have thought of. For example, a search here for wedding gowns returns the following information:

Suggestions for: wedding gown 
Searches done in March 1999 
Count Search Term 
2590 wedding gown 
53 wedding gown designer 
43 discount wedding gown 
33 wedding gown rental 
33 designer wedding gown 
29 plus size wedding gown 
27 low priced wedding gown 
24 lazaro wedding gown 
21 informal wedding gown 
21 wedding gown pattern 
17 vintage wedding gown 
14 custom wedding gown 
13 used wedding gown 
13 wholesale wedding gown 
13 victorian wedding gown 
12 vera wang wedding gown 
11 wedding gown online 
11 demetrios wedding gown 
10 amsale wedding gown 
10 alfred angelo wedding gown 
10 paloma blanca wedding gown 
10 mon cheri wedding gown 
10 los angeles wedding gown 
9 wedding gown and supplies 
9 wedding gown ivory 
9 sweetheart wedding gown 
9 galina wedding gown 
9 eve of milady wedding gown 
8 african wedding gown 
8 western wedding gown 
8 wedding gown at discount price 
8 mori lee wedding gown 
7 wedding gown restoration 
7 full figured wedding gown 
7 diamond collection wedding gown 
7 christos wedding gown 
7 casablanca wedding gown 
6 emanuelle wedding gown 
6 badgley mischka wedding gown 
6 wedding gown in metro detroit michigan 
6 wedding gown dress 
6 venus wedding gown 
6 prviate label by g wedding gown 
6 wedding gown catalog 
6 wedding gown bargins 
6 wedding gown outlet 
6 used wedding gown for sale 
6 princess wedding gown 
6 moonlight wedding gown 
6 medieval wedding gown 
6 romantic and sexy bridal or wedding gown 
6 lazarus wedding gown 
6 jasmine wedding gown 
5 guzzo wedding gown 
5 mature bride wedding gown 
5 jessica mcclintock wedding gown 
5 how to make wedding gown 
5 wedding gown in rome 
5 wedding gown consignment 
5 wedding gown texas 
5 wedding gown for second marriage 
5 wedding gown discount 
5 wedding gown and veil 
5 wedding gown maine 
5 renaissance wedding gown 
5 used wedding gown in southern california 
5 wedding gown wholesale canada 
5 wedding gown prom 
5 wedding gown preservation 
5 california wedding gown 
5 bride wedding gown 
5 discount wedding gown and supplies 
5 dimetrios wedding gown 
4 bargain wedding gown 
4 carolina herrera+wedding gown 
4 carmela sutera wedding gown 
4 bianchi wedding gown 
4 consignment wedding gown 
4 cinderella wedding gown 
4 dicounted wedding gown 
4 amy lee wedding gown 
4 jacquelin wedding gown 
4 picture of wedding gown 
4 michaelangelo wedding gown 
4 hawaiian wedding gown 
4 wedding gown in paris 
4 wedding gown by galina 
4 wedding gown search 
4 uk wedding gown 
4 used wedding gown for sale tampa 
4 wedding gown used 
4 wedding gown marys 
4 wedding gown in emma style 
4 short wedding gown 
4 wedding gown preservation in edinburgh scotland 
4 wedding gown pics 
4 wedding gown history 
4 wedding gown with bow 
4 wedding gown under $300 
4 wedding gown by alfred sung

(b) ( - See what the top 100
 search terms worldwide were. Remember that it is not advisable to use
 terms that are not related to your web site's content, but this service
 can still prove useful.

(c) SearchSpy ( - SearchSpy is a database of
 search terms captured from the top search engines. Use this to find
 even more words and phrases for your list.

Now that you are armed with your big list, what you do with it next is
 what will get you all the traffic you need. The next process is long
 and complicated if done manually, but there are ways of making this
 automatic, easy, and fast, saving you the agony of doing it yourself.
 This article is too short for the technical details on search engine
 optimization techniques, so I will just give you a quick explanation
 and a link to where you can get all this done for you automatically
 and easily.

Basically, there are 8 major search engines today - AltaVista, Excite,
 Infoseek, Lycos, HotBot, AOL Netfind, WebCrawler, and Northern Light.
 Yahoo is a directory so this technique will not work with it. What you
 need to do is figure out what kind of pages rank well with each of these
 engines. Search engines use a mathematical formula to rank all the pages
 in their index. It is hard, but not impossible to come really close to
 knowing exactly what kind of a page will rank well on a particular engine. 
 Basically, the text statistics on a page are what are considered most
 by the engine's ranking formulas. Now, for each keyword or phrase on
 your list, you need to create a web page that focuses on just that one
 keyword or phrase and ranks it highly on a particular engine. Because
 each engine ranks pages differently, you will need to create a different
 page optimized for each engine.

Stop and think about this strategy for a second. You have a list of
 virtually every phrase that someone interested in your products and other
 related products can ever use in a search. Then, you have pages that make
 sure they rank highly for all those searches. No matter what people search
 for that has any relation to your products, they will find you even if
 they had not thought of finding you! Do you now see how much qualified
 traffic you can get? It is amazing!

The only set back is the amount of work you would have to put into figuring
 out what kind of text statistics on a page will rank it well on an engine,
 then creating these optimized pages for your entire list of keywords for
 each major engine. That means creating about 300 or more finely tuned web
 pages! But do not worry! As long as you have compiled your list of keywords
 and phrases, there is an online service that will automatically create the
 optimized pages for you in a couple of minutes.
 ( uses a set of online scripts to cleverly
 generate web pages optimized for the major search engines. All you need
 to do is give it your list of keywords and phrases, a short piece of text
 describing your site or business or products, and your email address
 (the pages are emailed to you as attached HTML files). To my knowledge,
 this is the only service on the web that works in this way.

Once you have your pages, upload them to your web server and either submit
 them to the engines if they aren't too many, or have the engines crawl
 over them and index them by only submitting a page that links to all of
 them. That's it! Now simply step back and watch your traffic skyrocket!

Granted, there are many other ways that people use to find new sites, such
 as following links on other sites, reading about sites on magazine,
 hearing from friends, etc. But no matter what other methods they use,
 they almost always use them in addition to using the search engines,
 especially when actively trying to locate new information. By knowing how
 to use the search engines to your advantage, you will become an empowered
 Internet marketer. No other method of marketing is so powerful, effective,
 and affordable (virtually free)!

If you need any more information on search engine positioning and keyword
 selection, see I wish you the best of
 fortune in your web promotional efforts!

David Gikandi features tools and resources that get you top
 positions for your web site on AltaVista, Excite, HotBot, Infoseek,
 and Lycos. It also has forums, articles, links, and other resources
 useful for the website owner and marketer.
Return to Harrold's Search Engines Links