Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Identifying Target Search Terms

The first step to any SEO campaign is to identify the search terms (also referred to as key terms, or key words) for which you want your site pages to be found in search engines – these are the words that a prospective visitor might type into a search engine to find relevant web sites. For example, if your organization’s mission has to do with environmental protection, are your target visitors most likely to search for “acid rain”, “save the forests”, “toxic waste”, “greenhouse effect”, or all of the above? Do you want to reach visitors who are local, regional or national in scope? These are considerations that need careful attention as you begin the SEO process. After all, it’s no use having a good search engine ranking for terms no one’s looking for.

Your target terms should be at least two words in length and, of course, be relevant to the content of your site pages. Your own intuition and team brainstorming are good places to start with key term selection. However, there are tools designed to assist you in validating your choices and researching search term possibilities you may never have never even considered.WordTracker and Overture offer two of the most popular such tools:

• WordTracker ( is the industry standard tool used for search termselection research. Although there is a fee for using the full version of WordTracker, they also offer limited trial where you can test out the system.

• Overture ( also offers a "Term Suggestion Tool" that can be utilizedfor researching target search terms when you sign up for a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) account with them.

By strategically selecting terms that are popular enough to bring you visibility with target audiences, yet not so general/competitive that a prominent ranking will be difficult, you can ensure that your SEO efforts are built on a stable foundation from the start.


Back Page Next Page Back to homepage