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Search Engine Placement - Learning Keyword Basics

If you're trying to figure out how on earth to get your pages listed on the first page or two of the major search engines...let's dive in...

But first, if you missed the overview - you might want to read Search Engine Promotion - Understanding Keyword Basics.

The first order of business when it comes to search engine placement is to choose the right keywords.

If you mess this up - nothing else you do to optimize your pages will make any difference.

So how do you decide what keywords to target?

That's actually the easy part. There are even a couple of great free tools to help you figure it out. The first one is provided by Overture.

Go to Overture and click on the Term Suggestion Tool. ( Clicking on this link will open a new window - simply close that window to return to this article ).

A smaller window with a search box will open - usually in the upper left corner of your browser window. Keep this window open so you can follow along while I explain how to use the Term Suggestion Tool.

Let's say, for example, that you make soap.

In the Overture search box - simply type in the word "soap" and click on the arrow to the right of the search box.

Overture will provide the exact terms people use when they are looking for soap related products...

Scanning through this list - you can quickly see that the single word "soap" may actually be too general for your purpose.

After all - you arent' selling "soap operas" - are you?

So the next thing you need to do is find the first term that is completely relevant to your product or service - in this case the first one I come across is "soap making". Clicking on that result will give you a new list of keywords that include the term "soap making".

Aah! That's more like it - look at all those great terms.

Continue searching for every related term and compile the terms as you go into a Notepad file ( or whichever basic text editor you use ).

Clicking on any results link will give you more detailed terms - once you have exhausted each list of terms - return to your initial search term - ( in our example "soap" ) and scan down again to find another relevant term.

Keep adding these new terms to your master list.

You'll find that it won't take you long to come up with a huge number of terms that you can use to optimize your pages with.

Now - wouldn't it be wonderful if that was all there was too it? Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings - but there is one more part to the keyword selection equation - and this second bit can make or break your search engine placement success.

You see, knowing which keyword terms surfers are using to find the type of product or service you sell is only half the battle - you also need to know how many competitors are trying to target those same terms. That figure is crucial - it dictates the number of competing pages you're up against in your effort to attain top search engine placement.

In the next article Search Engine Ranking - Defining The Competition you'll learn how to figure out who you're competing against. And I'll introduce you to yet another free tool to help you work it all out.

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