Wednesday, July 05, 2006

SEO: Keyword Length Guide

Before you start writing website content it is a good idea to do some keyword research but don’t overlook your intuition. There are a lot of solid tools for developing a list of high competition phrases. (Nichebot, WordTracker, Overture, Keyword Discovery…)

The problem is internet users are becoming more and more sophisticated in the way they refine their searches. This makes the longer low competition phrases increasingly more valuable. From what I have seen most keyword research tools seem to loss their effectiveness once you get into the medium to low competition terms.

Note: I’m not taking anything away from the generic high competition terms but the average webmaster simply does not have the resources to target those terms.

Creating and targeting 3-4 word terms is easier than you may think. Start by compiling a list of generic themed keywords for your topic. Then look through your list to see if you can mesh 2-3 short generic phrases into a coherent 3-4 term phrase. That’s basically it! Now title your content a variation of your 3-4 term phrase, plug variations into your title, description and keyword tags then add the term 1-3 times throughout your content.

Note: Don’t incorporate keyword stuffing into your optimization. Add your term only where it naturally fits within the context.

Note: Be sure to add your theme words to your content. Themed content has a lot of SEO value.

Why is it better to target 3-4 term keywords as opposed to 1-2 term keywords?
1 Term Keywords = 1 high competition term.
2 Term Keywords = 2 high, 1 medium competition terms.
(A) :: (B) :: (A) (B)
3 Term Keywords = 3 high, 2 medium, 1 low competition terms.
(A) :: (B) :: (C) :: (A) (B) :: (B) (C) :: (A) (B) (C)
4 Term Keywords = 4 high, 3 medium, 3 low competition terms.
(A) :: (B) :: (C) :: (D) :: (A) (B) :: (B) (C) :: (C) (D) :: (A) (B) (C) :: (B) (C) (D) :: (A) (B) (C) (D)

Note: The above diagram only displays exact matches. It does not include proximity which favors longer terms. Going beyond 4 term phrases in not advisable as it reduces readability.


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