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Guide to finding the best keywords for your site

by Keith Thirgood and Helen Walter

The following is a short article on how to determine the very best keywords for your website. While there are dozens of tools available online to help you choose your keywords, they’re based on the premise that, the most commonly used keywords are the best. In the case where a business is attempting to reach the entire world, it's the correct thing to do.

However, for most businesses, perhaps like yours, you're not trying to reach the entire world. You're trying to reach a very specific target market, and members of that target market have their unique and individual way of doing things. If this is the kind of audience you are aiming for, then this approach is for you.

Select 12 (or more) of the typical clients in each of your major target markets.

Ask them to help you by answering the following three questions (IMPORTANT: Wait until they've answered one question before you ask the next question.) If you do this by e-mail, warn them about what you are doing, and tell them you will be sending a series of three e-mails. Don't send the next until they've answered the previous question.

The questions are:

1. If you were searching for a company that delivers a product/service like ours, what words or phrases would you enter into an Internet search engine?

After they answer question one, then ask:

2. If these words didn't give you the answer you were looking for, what other words or phrases would you try next?

After they answer question two, then ask:

3. If these gave you too many responses, what would you add to your search to narrow down the selection?

Arrange the answers by client and count how many times each word and phrase shows up. Make a list that arranges the words from most used to least used.

The most used words and phrases are your keywords. Make sure they are woven into your site, in all the appropriate places (That’s an article all onto itself.) If one person uses a particular word or phrase an exceptional number of times, don’t let that skew your results. This exercise will also reveal if any misspellings show up. If they do, you can add them to your keyword metatag.

Pay particular attention to words used to narrow the results. Often, these words, although not used as often as the major keywords, are important to use as they are key qualifiers.

Article by Keith Thirgood and Helen Walter, Capstone Communications Group. To contact Helen or Keith, visit or call 905-472-2330 between 9 am and 5 pm EST.

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