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SEO Website Audit

Organic Search Engine Optimization: Focus Your Keywords for Organic SEO - Issue No. 115

September 29, 2004


*Introductory Comments:
---->   Playing Catch-up

*Search Engine Marketing:
---->   Focus Your Keywords

*This Week's Sponsors:
---->   SEO Copywriting

*Guest Article:
---->   Using Keywords To Convert

*Stuff You Might Like:
---->   High Rankings Seminar Photos

*High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week:
---->   Hire Designers/SEOs or Do It Yourself?

*This Week's Sound Advice:
---->   How Many Words Do You Need for High Rankings?

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   High Rankings Party?

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Hey all! Hope your week isn't quite as busy as mine. It's always
tricky playing "catch-up" after missing a few days due to a seminar or
conference.  But I'm getting back into the swing of things, and have a
great newsletter for you today, so let's get straight to the good
stuff! - Jill

~~~Search Engine Marketing Issues~~~

++Targeting Generic Search Words++

Hi Jill,

Do you have any suggestions on how to go about targeting generic
search words?  For example, suppose your website's theme is travel and
you are trying to target browsers that enter the keywords 'tourist
attractions,' but all of your sub-pages are very specific
sub-categories -- like a specific tourist attraction in Massachusetts,
or a specific campground.

Since people don't always know about specific stuff they might be
looking for, they often enter generic terms. Another example might be
a user who searches for 'toys' and the resulting site would have pages
about green army men, Lincoln Logs, etc.  The user may not even know
that green army men exist; they just know they want to find a site
that has toys.

Should the sub-pages be tuned for the specific page, the website's
entire theme, or both?



++Jill's Response++

Hi Jeff,

Generally there's no reason to target generic search phrases, as they
really aren't focused on what you offer.  By targeting the specific
stuff that you offer, you will be bringing the most highly targeted
visitors to your site -- the ones that will take the action you desire
(buy, sign up, whatever).  So unless you're interested in traffic just
for traffic's sake (like if you're getting paid for the sheer number
of site visitors), you might be wasting time and resources trying to
target keyword phrases which bring in only people who are somehow
peripherally interested in what you have.

That said, in some cases generic words definitely DO make sense.
"Toys" is obviously a good example where people might search more
generally because they do not know the types of toys that exist.  This
doesn't mean that you'd necessarily optimize for such a broad keyword,
though.  You could, but good luck ranking for it!  Instead, you'd
still want to find the two- and three-word phrases people use that
relate to toys.

Regarding your "tourist attraction" example, however, do people
actually search generically for that phrase?  Wordtracker does show
around 100 predicted searches for it, but are those people looking for
an actual place to visit when they search that way?  It wouldn't
surprise me if many of those searches were by kids doing a report for
school or that sort of thing. I don't see it as something that real
people would search for in such a generic manner, because I don't
think people plan where they're going on vacation based on what city
has the best tourist attractions!

This is why keyword research is such a critical component of your SEO
campaigns.  You've got to use your common sense, and then verify it
with a tool like Wordtracker or KeywordDiscovery.

Common sense tells me that people planning a vacation in Boston, for
instance, may specifically search for "Boston tourist attractions" and
other similar phrases, like "things to do in Boston."  Be sure to find
other phrases that mean the same thing, as not everyone uses the same
phrases.  For this type of site, that's about as generic as you can
realistically get and still convert your visitors to take your desired

What I would suggest is to create a main category page for all of
Boston that targets the more generic Boston "tourist attraction"
phrases. Then have that page drill down to the specific attractions,
such as Faneuil Hall (which I just visited this weekend with Scottie
and Karon), which would be optimized for phrases specifically relating
to Faneuil Hall.  You'd want to do the same thing for each Boston

The most important thing to understand about all this is that organic SEO is
about focus.  Don't try to do too much with any given page.  Focus,
focus, focus!  If a top-level category page is specifically about
Boston tourist attractions and what to do in Boston, then those
phrases are its focus.  The top-level page's focus is NOT Faneuil Hall
or the Old North Church.  Those phrases will be targeted on their
respective deeper pages.  By the same token, those deeper pages
shouldn't focus on Boston tourist attractions in general -- they are
only about their individual attraction.  Sure, you can link back to
your main Boston attraction page, but just remember that it's not your
focus for that particular page.

And again, don't forget to target all the different ways that people
use to search for the attraction in question.  For instance, some
might look up Faneuil Hall Marketplace, while others may search for
Quincy Market.  Do your keyword research and optimize for all the
related phrases that make sense for your pages.

Hope this helps!


~~~Guest Article~~~

++Using Keywords To Convert++

Steve Jackson, Editor of the Conversion Chronicles, writes today's guest article on
using keywords to convert.  Steve is the CEO of Aboavista and a
published author. If you're interested in conversions, Steve is giving
away free copies of his ebook to anyone who subscribes to his
Conversion Chronicles newsletter at his Website.

Take it away, Steve! - Jill

Using Keywords To Convert
By Steve Jackson

Are you using keyword selection guidelines to improve your Website
conversion rates?

I've been under pressure lately to come up with more articles on
organic search engine optimization with regards to how an effective
keyword strategy can improve website conversion rates. Well, here is
my take on it, based on the Web analytics evidence of our own keyword

Use the correct lingo.

Have you ever been in a room where people are talking but you don't
understand a thing about the topic or even understand the language?
Take it from one who knows, it can be quite frustrating. Living in
Finland and speaking only a little Finnish means that every day I'm
subjected to conversations where I have very little idea about what is
being said. Being a curious (some would say nosy) soul, this
infuriates me! Especially if I'm on a bus and see old grannies
cracking up with laughter at a private joke I'm too ignorant to be in

It's similar online. You have to start communicating on your Website
using the terminology that your visitors use.

If you use the right terminology and phrases, not only do they find
you, but to use my analogy, you also let them in on the joke! If
you're using the wrong terminology then you're leaving your visitor a
bit confused, a bit foggy and feeling a bit left out of it all.

How to avoid this with your Website

When selecting your keywords follow three simple guidelines:

* Gauge the traffic potential of the keywords in terms of quantity.
* Gauge the visitor's intent when using those phrases in their search
* Measure traffic potential from those keywords in terms of

1) Traffic potential of your keywords:

Obviously you want the search engines to drive lots of traffic to your
Website. However, I would argue that quantity should never be your
first objective; quality traffic should be what you're looking for.
Your goal is to optimize your pages for the keywords that bring the
highest numbers of prospects.

Find the keyword phrases related to your industry that your target
market is searching for. So first, find out the terms that are being
used by the general public by using a tool like the Overture keyword
suggestion tool. There are others available such as the one at Google;
Wordtracker is also worth the investment.

But before you rush off and start optimizing your site for the
keywords you find, take heed of the second guideline -- gauging
visitor intent.

2) The visitor's intent when searching:

Test the phrase in the search engines you're going to optimize for.
For instance, our own keyword research showed that 'conversion web
site' is a phrase people are using in the search engines; however, if
you search on Google using this exact phrase, you will see that people
are actually looking for money conversion, religious conversion,
weights and metric conversion, etc. -- not sites about converting site
visitors to buyers.  This is why you need to look for the real reason
why people are searching. In our case 'conversion web site' might be
worth testing on PPC, but it's not worth optimizing our organic pages
for that phrase.

3) Traffic potential in terms of conversion:

The next step is keyword measurement and experimentation. We decided
to optimize for 'improving Website conversion' because this phrase
showed that there should be reasonable traffic levels, good intent,
and a high number of conversions from this phrase. We found that 27.8%
of people using that search term end up subscribing to our newsletter.
When a person enters those keywords into a search engine, we're
speaking their language because our entire Website is a resource about
what they're looking for.

To do this yourself, identify keyword phrases that you think fit well
with the first two guidelines above, and then measure the result. It's
about selecting the keywords immediately relevant to what your
audience is looking for.


To improve the conversion rate of your Website, first find the
keywords people are using related to your industry, make sure that the
search results from the keywords you select are relevant to your
industry, and then optimize your site for those phrases. Finally,
measure and test those phrases so that you have the best chance of
converting your search engine visitors into customers, clients, or

Steve Jackson, Editor
Conversion Chronicles

_________Powerful SEO Copywriting Combo______________

Your site's only as good as its writing. You need the "write" skills.

If your site is poorly written, your sales will be slow.  You *must*
speak to your target audience with each and every word you write.
At the same time, keeping your keywords featured prominently is
a bit of a juggling act.

Save $10 on the most powerful copywriting combo available today!

Karon Thackston's Step-By-Step Copywriting Course & Jill Whalen's
Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines.


~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++High Rankings Seminar Photos++

We had a great time at the seminar last week!  It was especially fun
to meet people from our forum we hadn't met before, as well as some
from the Cre8asite Forum whom we also hadn't met.  As you can see by
our High Rankings photo album, there was a ton of talking, laughing,
and drinking going on (usually when the seminar sessions were over for
the day, but not always!).

Next up -- deciding if, where, and when to do another one!

~~~High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week~~~

++Hire Designers/SEOs or Do It Yourself?++

Is it necessary to pay a Web designer and/or an SEO in order to have a
great site that works?  See what members of the High Rankings Forum
have to say about this subject:

Hire an SEO or Do it Yourself?

What's your opinion? Feel free to post your comments in the thread!

~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

As I mentioned above, we really had a lot of fun at last week's
SEO seminar.  It was nice to be on my home turf so I was able to sleep in
my own bed at night.  Along with the forum members we met, it was also
cool to meet some of our speakers' family members.  Everyone got to
meet my husband, Don, my daughter, Corie, and my son, Timmy.  (Jamie
didn't attend as she had met most of the folks in San Jose this
summer.)  We also got to meet Matt's wife and kids, as well as
Christine's husband and daughter.  Many also got to meet my Search
Creative partner, Lorraine, and a few of the others from our SC team.

One of these days we should just have a big old High Rankings party.
Who needs a seminar anyway? <grin>

Catch you next week! - Jill

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