Choosing Keywords by George Manty

Choosing Keywords

Keywords are words that people use to find your website. Keywords are the words entered into the search field of a Search Engine to search for website pages related to or including those words. For example, if you are looking for blue shoes, you would type “blue shoes” into a Search Engine and find websites related to “blue shoes”. The phrase “blue shoes” is called a keyword phrase. To increase your Search Engine traffic you should choose a 1-3 word keyword phrase for each individual page of your website. You also should choose two or three keyword phrases that constitute the overall theme of your website.

Methods of Choosing Keywords

Choosing good keywords is vital to increasing your website traffic. Before choosing which keywords to focus on, you should brainstorm possible keywords that people might use to find your website. After brainstorming keywords, then use a thesaurus to come up with more words. You can also use a tool like the Google® Sandbox Tool. Enter in keywords and the Google® Sandbox Tool will return a list of words it believes are related words. Other websites including, NicheBot, and Wordtracker offers a similar service as well.

Another method of finding keywords is to take a look at your competitors websites, and determine what keywords they are targeting. One method of doing this is to take a look at their keywords meta tag. In Internet explorer you can do this by:

  1. Clicking on the top pulldown menu “View”.
  2. Scrolling down and click on the menu item “Source”.

This will show you the source code for that page. Then look for a line that looks like this:

This example uses the keywords meta tag for the home page of our dinosaur website. The words after “content=” are the keywords that are considered important by the person (in this case me) who wrote the HTML for the page. From this meta tag you can find out some of the keywords that are being targeted on the page. Add any keywords used in this tag to your list.

Once you have your list of keywords it's time to find out if anyone searches for them. You can do this by using the Overture® search term suggestion tool. The Overture® search term suggestion tool shows you how many times a certain keyword was searched for the previous month. You can use this tool to find out how many times people search for keywords related to your website. For example, go to the Overture® search term suggestion tool and type in “dinosaur”. Then click the button to the right. You will now see a screen that shows a big table of keyword phrases that include the word dinosaur. Here is an example snippet of the list for September 2004:

  • 109644 dinosaur
  • 15899 dinosaur picture
  • 8433 dinosaur costume
  • 5548 dinosaur game
  • 5419 barney the dinosaur
  • 5018 dinosaur fossil
  • 4575 dinosaur toy

The number to the left is the number of times people searched for a particular keyword. The words to the right of the numbers are the keyword phrases that were searched for.

One thing you will notice is that most people search using only one or two keywords, sometimes 3 or 4. So at this point in time, optimizing your site for keyword phrases longer than 3-4 words is a waste of time.

Special Note: Research suggests that people who use longer keyword phrases (3 or more words) are more likely to buy products. This is probably because they are more likely to be looking for a specific product.

Another important note is that the Overture® tool does not distinguish between singular and plural keywords.

Using the example above you can see that people searched for dinosaur over 100,000 times in September. The dinosaur business is fairly competitive for the keywords “dinosaur” and “dinosaurs”. In retrospect, I would have done better to have optimized our site for the keywords “dinosaurs for kids”, rather than “dinosaur time machine”. That way we could have become highly ranked for the keywords “dinosaurs for kids” (which we are currently in Google®, Yahoo®, and MSN®). The word “dinosaurs” is contained in the phrase “dinosaurs for kids”, which means we eventually would have been ranked higher for the word “dinosaurs” as well.

  • Google and Page Rank are registered trademarks of Google Inc.
  • Yahoo is a registered trademark of Yahoo Inc.
  • MSN® is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.
  • Overture is a registered trademark of Overture Inc.

Choosing Keywords excerpted from "The Truth about Website Promotion"

Written by George Manty, owner of http://websitepromotionbook.comThis article can be reproduced in whole or in part, providing this byline is included along with a link to

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Choosing Keywords excerpted from "The Truth about Website Promotion" Written by George Manty, owner of

This article can be reproduced in whole or in part, providing this byline is included along with a link to