If you fancy yourself a bit of a word-smith, you’ll love the latest plaything to come out of Google Labs.
The Books Ngrams Viewer is a search engine that enables you to trawl the 500 billion words making up the 5.2 million digitized books in Google’s Book Search. The viewer lets you look for specific words or phrases – and here’s the fun part – it graphs the frequency of their written use over time, giving you a historical snapshot of word usage since the year 1800 and up to 2008.
Just before Xmas, I spent a fun few hours testing out the new tool and tracking down the earliest reference I could find to the term *Lord of the Rings* – way back in 1815! You can check out how I did it via the article I wrote for SiteProNews about my experience.
Happy New Year to you all!
I have a business here in the UK offering training in Microsoft Office products such as Word, Excel and Outlook.
I am a bit confused about the keywords I should be optimising my web site for and I was wondering if you could give me a little advice on my choices?
My first instinct is to optimise the site for the following:
4.Help with spreadsheets
The main purpose of keyword research is to get you thinking about all the possible keywords you could target, including those used by competitors or more importantly, those NOT used by competitors. So as well as coming up with your own seed list, you should be looking at your competitor’s web sites to see what keywords they are targeting and whether or not you should be using similar keywords.
However, I am a bit concerned by the keywords you’ve chosen for your own site. How many people who type the word *training* into a search engine are specifically seeking training in Microsoft products provided by a consultant in Essex, UK? People typing this search query in might be looking for football training coaches, or training shoes. Or scuba dive training in South Africa. Same goes for the word *Essex*. People typing that in are more likely to be looking for tourist information, accommodation or school project information than for MS training.
You’ll realize this as you learn more about search engine optimization, but you need to choose two, three and four word keyword phrases that are more tailored to your exact offering and therefore more likely to attract visitors to your site who are specifically seeking the services you offer. These visitors have a higher likelihood of converting to customers.
Search phrases you’ve listed like *help with spreadsheets* and *Excel help* are great, but phrases such as *MS Office training* and *how to use MS Word* would be more relevant for you than some of the other keywords you’ve listed.
Once you have a good seed list of keywords, you can run them through a keyword research tool to check how much potential traffic they will bring to your site and streamline your final choices for SEO.
Happy keyword hunting!
Is keyword stuffing a bunch of the same keywords or is it a bunch of unrelated keywords?
The term “Keyword Stuffing” describes the practice of repeating a particular phrase (often many times) within the text on a single page. Typically this would be done with the same or closely related keyword phrases – with the aim of trying to raise the profile of that particular web page for search queries on that keyword.
Usually a few mentions of a particular keyword phrase (or related phrases) would be acceptable (and normal), but it quickly becomes very obvious to users if a particular phrase is repeated over and over again within the content of a single page. This type of “unnatural” repetition of keywords can be very annoying from a users perspective and may actually incur search ranking penalties. If a search engine considers the page to be “over optimised” it is unlikely to achieve good rankings.
Whilst mentioning your target keyword a few times within the content of your page is sensible, overdoing it can be detrimental. In most cases when you are writing content, you should be trying to write it for the benefit of the user rather than the search engines.
If you are concerned that some of your pages might be “keyword stuffed” an easy test is to simply read them through. If the pages read well, are informative and feel “natural” then you are probably OK. If the content is awkward and there are obvious repetitions of particular keywords, I’d suggest that you consider re-writing the page.
A handy online tool that I often use to get a feel for what a page is about is Tag Crowd. This tool allows you to specify a URL, or paste in text, and it will create a Tag Cloud of the content provided. If one or two keywords jump out at you from the tag cloud it generates, it is possible that your page may be over-optimised.
WebConsulting SEO (Brisbane)
I’m not sure about keywords. Should the most used keywords be used to promote a website to the search engine, or least used words?
Great question Florence,
There is a great deal of confusion over how to go about selecting which keywords to optimise, and part of the confusion is because there is not really a “correct” answer. The keywords to choose for optimisation will depend on what you are offering, what your goals are, the niche you are targeting, and may very well include high volume (popular) keyword phrases or low volume (long tail) keywords – or a combination of both.
At first, it might seem obvious that the high volume phrases should be the ones that are most important, as these are likely to generate the most amount of traffic. But high volume phrases also tend to be more competitive, and you are likely to find it much more challenging to achieve good rankings for these phrases. Also be aware, that high volume phrases might also be more “general” in nature, and the people using these phrases may be more likely to be in “research” rather than “buy” mode, so even if you get the visit, they may be less likely to follow through with a sale.
Lower volume phrases, tend to be more specific, and are also likely to be much easier for you to achieve good rankings. Low volume phrases (which are often known as “long tail” keywords) are also more likely to have a higher conversion rate, and although generating less traffic may actually provide you with more sales.
Ultimately, the keywords you optimise for should be the ones that convert the best – i.e. the ones that result in the most sales, leads or enquiries. You should be able to determine this by analysing your site usage statistics (analytics), or if you are running a Paid Advertising (PPC) Campaign, you can look at the types of keywords that are generating sales – these are the keywords that you should be optimising for organic search.
WebConsulting (Brisbane SEO Consultant)
I feel like I am stuck with my keyword research.
I am researching SEO keywords for an Australian business that specializes in tree removal and tree felling. The keywords I chose for them were “tree removal” and “tree lopper” however when I enter these into Keyword Discovery for Australia I get nothing (although “tree removal” comes up quite a bit for global search).
These keywords best describe the business and although the tree removal operator prefers not to be called a tree lopper he is happy for me to use this term for search engine purposes. Yet when entering these keywords into Google it seems a lot of competitor sites come up. I am confused! Can you help?
In my experience, most keyword research tools (such as Keyword Discovery or WordTracker) are highly inconsistent or downright inaccurate when it comes to regional search databases.
What I would do is to use the global database when choosing the best keywords to target and then see how they go in terms of bringing you traffic. You can tweak the keywords as you go based on the response and traffic you get. I would start broad e.g. “tree removal”, “tree felling” and then narrow your market based on the responses you receive e.g. “tree removal [city]“ or “tree felling services”.
Another way to measure your potential regional market is to set up a basic pay per click campaign using Google AdWords, targeting Australia only and targeting the keywords you wish to test. Then monitor the number of impressions that your keywords get. Note I said impressions and not clicks. Set the budget low or design your ads in a way you don’t necessarily attract clicks (so it’s a cheap and dirty experiment).
The number of impressions you get per week will give you a ballpark idea of how many Australian searchers are looking for those particular keywords in Google per week.