How do your prospects find you online? Here’s the key.

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When a prospect (or a customer) types in a query into a search box, the search engine doesn’t go find the page; it finds an indexed version of the page and returns a result in seconds. And key words are the guide.

Key words in strategic areas make the web page easy to be indexed by a search engine. If we don’t place enough key words or the right key words in pages or in ads or in other places online, search engines will not see our content as relevant compared to other documents online.

Search engines use specialized software programs called bots to crawl the web and index pages of content on websites.

Key words tell bots what the content of pages are all about. This is how a search engine knows to deliver one set of pages to a searcher over another set. At its most basic level, this is how search works.


In the online world, words are very important; even more important are the meanings that we assign to them. Fortunately, there are online tools that can make the job of identifying key words a lot easier.

The Google Keyword Planner Takes the Guesswork out of Keyword Research

What terms are people using for their searches? Google has the Keyword Planner to help you.

Google has amassed an astonishing amount of data about user behavior online. One thing they have a lot of data on are the queries that people use to search for things online. The Google Keyword Planner (formerly the Keyword Tool) can give you search volume statistics on key words that you type into the interface.

It will also give you related key words that people are using to find things online. It is a great tool for getting ideas on words that your persona may be using, and is gleaned from real searchers. While the tool is good for getting ideas and a rough estimate of search volume, you should be careful how you use that data. The results should not be considered conclusive, and you should use other tactics discussed in this text to determine if a key phrase is worth trying to rank for.

If you are using key words in an AdWords PPC campaign, you can add suggestions to your campaign right from the tool. Another useful feature, no matter what your intentions for keyword ideas, is the Ad Group ideas tab in the tool. In AdWords, it is a best practice to group key words together in tightly themed groups so that they trigger relevant ads.

Ironically, Ad Group ideas in the tool also give you a good indication of how you should optimize your pages on your website. Each page should be about one keyword and its variants, and the tool groups like key words together for you.

The Keyword Difficulty Tool

SEOMoz has a web-based SEO tool called Open Site Explorer. They also have a keyword difficulty tool that provides metrics on the competitiveness of up to 300 words per account. You must be a “Pro” member in order to use the tool. You can also export keyword data to CSV files in Excel.

You will find there are numerous tools available that allow you to analyze key words. Some may be more reputable than others, and you should look for a tool that is easy for you to use and that generates data that you can understand.

Tools that have various capabilities include the Google Contextual Tool, Google Insights for search, Market Samurai, Microsoft Ad Intelligence and the Word Stream Keyword Analysis Tool.

You might use a combination of these tools or other resources, and it is important to remember that you should make decisions based on data from multiple sources.

These tools are meant to be guides to further focus your efforts of finding the right key words, but none of them should be used in isolation, or have their data taken as the most authoritative answer for what key words you should be trying to rank for.

Whether you are building advertisements or websites, key words help users know where they are on the web and to find the things they are looking for. It is important that we configure web properties in a way that makes it easy for users to know they have found the right place and easy for search engines to serve relevant pages to users.

When it is time to choose the key words we want to target, we must have our target market in mind. How do they search for the things they are looking for online? What terms do they use? Are we speaking their language? These are questions we should be asking to get good data from our keyword research activities.

If a visitor is engaged with the content on the page, they may look for a way to complete an action such as making a purchase or contacting a company for more information about making a purchase. Key words play an important role here, as well. They help a person navigate through the process of performing actions.

Key words are important to people online because they are markers that tell them “you are in the right place, and you’ve found what you are looking for.”

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