July 30, 2013

list of keywordsBefore you can optimize your websites for search engines, you need to know what keywords you will be optimizing for. That’s the role of keyword research. If your website is perfectly optimized for keywords that no one is looking for, it won’t help your traffic or your sales. On the other hand, if your optimization is not perfect but your keywords have huge search volumes and little competition, you’ll be successful.

Step 1 – Identify the pages that you are optimizing

You can either choose existing pages on your website that you are going to rewrite for keyword optimization, or you can create new pages. To identify the page, you need to have an idea of what the page will be about, even if it is only a general concept. A website devoted to dogs may have one page about choosing a new dog, one page about paper training a puppy, and one page about getting the right size of collar for your dog.

Step 2 – Create a list of keywords

Once you know the concept of the pages that you are optimizing, you can come up with a short list of keywords (no more than 20) related to that concept. Don’t try to get the best possible keywords at this stage. Just choose keywords that relate naturally to the concept of the page. If you are directing people to pages in a sales catalogue, be sure to include words like “buy” in your keyword phrases.

Step 3 – Use the Google Keyword Tool

For each set of keywords you came up with in the previous step, use the Google Keyword Tool to determine search volume and suggested similar searches. Remove any keywords with low search volumes, and add any suggested keywords with high search volumes.

Step 4 – Perform competitive analysis

For each keyword phrase in the revised list, choose three to five companies that are successfully getting traffic for that keyword phrase. If there are more strong companies than that, or those five companies have locked up the first two pages in Google, remove the keyword from your list. Otherwise, review their websites and lift additional keywords from their meta text. You can also use SEO tools to discover the anchor text that links to these pages or which Adwords phrases they trigger. Add these new keywords to your list.

Step 5 – Refine with the Google Keyword Tool

Run your updated list through the Google Keyword Tool and again remove any keywords with low search volumes. Check the competitiveness of the keywords, and remove any that are too highly competitive. Your final keyword list will be profitable keywords for which you are likely to be able to place highly.






Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy



(Image: Morguefile)

August 2, 2012

We all know the main goal of an Internet marketing campaign is to generate traffic the converts to sales. Using SEO to optimise our presence online has been part of this for many years. Recently, the changes to Google’s algorithms made countless marketing coordinators wonder which way to go with SEO. SEO is a large part of the Internet marketing world. However, in order to be successful, you have to adjust your strategy and avoid common mistakes.

Keywords are the backbone of SEO. You have probably spent hours perusing key words and their popularity. You search for the right keywords to get your site recognized in organic searchers.  The mistake many marketers make is misunderstanding how the public searches for their business. The average web query is straightforward words or questions. Once you understand this, your success in choosing keywords will increase.

Your organization might be the leading distributor of polyvinyl chloride products, but the general public is not going to search for that term, they are going to look for plastic. You have to get inside their thought process and figure out how they search the Internet.

There are people who literally ask Google what they want to know. This breaks keyword research down to the simplest possible ways of describing your business. In this example, plastic makers could be a key word.

Another common mistake I have seen in regards to SEO and keywords is a failure to do competitive keyword analysis. Google Tools, Hubspot’s Keywords Tool and other research tools are available to help you determine if you have the best keywords in your strategy and compare them to keywords being used by your competitors. You can lose position in the rankings quickly if you fail to evaluate keywords.

You need to make sure that you are monitoring your keyword strategy on a constant basis. Trends change constantly. What is popular today will be unpopular tomorrow. If you have a plan in place to monitor search trends,  you can get ahead of the game. This is where many seasonal businesses experience shortfalls. They neglect to monitor trends and lose business. For example, many women start Christmas shopping and planning well before the fall season arrives. If you are monitoring your keywords, you will see this early and cash in on the increase in traffic.

The bottom line in SEO strategy and keywords comes down to research and monitoring trends. At one time, keyword stuffing worked for many websites. Today, you have to be smart and use them appropriately to achieve maximum conversion and increase your profitability.

If you have made mistakes using keywords your marketing strategy, I’d love to hear from you. Use our comments section to share the lesson you learned so we can all avoid costly keyword mistakes.



Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy


(Image: WikiMedia Commons/Nedmarx)

December 22, 2011

Search engine keywords are the basic way that anyone finds anything on the internet. Think about your own experiences. Maybe you have a few key sites bookmarked, or you’ll sometimes follow a link from another site, but a very high percentage of the time, you likely just head over to Google, or Yahoo!, or Bing, and put in a few keywords that describe what you’re looking for.

And if you’re looking for new information, for something that you haven’t read before, than the percentage of the time that this happens is likely even higher.

But there is no need to dwell on the importance of search engines – everybody knows how important they are already. What we’re going to look at is the process by which keywords are selected for focus and optimization.

Analyze and Plan

The first step in any SEO keyword selection is a thorough analysis of your own site. Open up a text editor, or take out a notebook, and open up your website. Look at it and think about the information on your site. Try to come up with 2 or 3 descriptive words or phrases that accurately capture the essence of the site.

The key here is to think about the process in reverse. Try to think about what you would type into a search engine if you wanted to come across your site. Don’t try and be misleading. Readers who stumble upon your site by mistake are not nearly as valuable as those who try to find your site.

Then, repeat this process for every page on your site. Try to boil each page down to a few key words and phrases.


The next step is actually selecting which keywords you will optimize your site for. So do to this, check out an online tool like Overture or WordTracker. Here you can check the popularity of your chosen keywords, as well as get suggestions for other related keywords.

The goal here is to focus on keywords with a middling level of popularity. If you have very common (and thus very popular) keyword like “cars,” “books,” or “dogs,” then drop it right away. Well-funded sites run by corporations with huge advertising budgets and full-time SEO staff are going to dominate the top results for keywords like these. As a small business owner, you can’t hope to compete, and should focus on a different niche.

Which brings me to a question posed by some of my readers recently. Is it better to be in the top of search rankings for a less popular keyword? Or a few pages back for a very popular keyword?

The answer is that it is not just better, but essential, to be in the top 10 rankings. People almost never go deeper than the first page of Google results, unless they are looking for a very specific piece of information. If you’re not on the first page, you’re dead.

So rank their popularity, drop the very popular keywords, and the ones that aren’t searched for at all. Before long, you should have a selection of middle-popularity keywords, and you can start optimizing your site properly!



Internet Marketing Academy

January 28, 2011

Internet marketing allows anyone to start a business if they have a little time and money. It’s easy to use keyword tools to see what people are searching for online.

However, there is a big difference between what people are searching for–and what they’re actually BUYING.

A lot of marketers assume if there is high search volume for a keyword, there is definite buying potential. They’ll get a lot of traffic via that keyword but that doesn’t mean they are going to translate into buyers.

What you need to do is find out if there are products in that market that are already selling. Are there ebooks in your niche that are being sold on Clickbank? Can you go to Amazon and buy a book on the subject?

Best one: is there a magazine devoted to your niche people will subscribe to?

Those are the real signs there is a buyer’s market out there. You have to look beyond simple keyword research and search volumes to determine what people will buy.

Another trick is to do a series of Google searches. Google terms like, “(insert niche) affiliate”. If affiliate programs in your niche show up in the search results, then this is another sign there is a buyer’s market.

Finally do a simple search for your main keyword in Google. Are there any Google Adwords ads showing up? These are the ads that show up on the right hand side of the organic search results.

If there are, check in every 4-5 days to see if the ads are still there. If they are, then the marketer is probably making a profit advertising there. Make note of them for competitive research.

These tips will allow you to go further than a simple keyword search volume statistic when it comes to uncovering niches that can be lucrative. Also don’t be afraid of too much competition–competition is a sign money is to be made in that market!

Keep Selling,


Sean McPheat

Internet Marketing Academy

January 13, 2011

Keyword research is truly the lifeblood of any internet marketing business. You have to know how to choose the right keywords; otherwise, your business will struggle.

Here are some keyword tips that’ll allow you to get the edge in your market. Ignore these tips at your own peril!

1) Don’t ignore the long tail.

Long tail keywords are keywords that are specific. They get less traffic but their specificity will yield higher conversions.

For example, if one of your keywords was the word “Toyota” you’re going to get a lot of results and traffic, but they are going to be too general.  A person typing in that keyword could be looking for anything about their cars or their company.

However, the keyword “Toyota Camry SE” is a more specific keyword. It is not going to get as much traffic, but the person typing in that keyword is going to be looking for that specific car or anything related to it.

So research long tail phrases that aren’t going to get as much traffic as the obvious keywords in your market, but will yield better results.

2) Don’t Get Carried Away With “Back Door” Strategies.

Several years ago, you could get away with using “back door” keyword strategies that involved choosing keywords that weren’t targeted for what a user is searching for–but as long as the keyword was relevant to the market you would get some conversions.

For example, if you were selling football pads and were using the keyword “football helmet” to drive traffic to your site, you would hope that since football players also need helmets that you would get some sales.

These strategies still work, but some channels such as Google Adwords will compare the relevancy of your keyword to your offer and ad–and commence to raise your bid prices if your offer is not targeted.

So use backdoor keyword strategies sparingly and concentrate your efforts on using the most targeted keyword possible.

More keyword strategies to come, so stay tuned!


Sean McPheat

Internet Marketing Academy

November 22, 2010

Keyword research is a science in itself. You cannot be involved in internet marketing without a basic knowledge of keyword research. Because the keywords you use in your campaigns, articles, and ads will make or break your internet marketing business.

Very often marketers ignore “long-tail” keywords. These are keywords that are 3-4 words long and are more specific than general keywords.

For example, a “short-tail” keyword is “weight loss”.  This is a very general keyword that will generate a lot of traffic.  However, it is an extremely competitive keyword not only for pay-per-click but for search engine optimization

However, a good long-tail keyword is “how to lose weight with p90x”.  p90x is a specific weight loss program that is popular right now. This keyword would get very little searches, but the traffic the keyword would get is very targeted.

You would probably think that since the long-tail keyword doesn’t get a lot of traffic, that you shouldn’t focus on these keywords.  However, you would be mistaken as these long-tail keywords would convert higher than the short-tail version.

For example, someone just searching for weight loss could be researching weight loss programs or trying to find some articles about weight loss. We do not really know the psychology of the person coming to our site through that keyword…whether or not they are ready to buy or are just “tire-kickers” who are just looking for free information.

However, with the long-tail keyword, “How to lose weight with p90x”, it is a more specific query. They already have a weight loss program in mind and, matched with a landing page that offers p90x-related products, conversions would be higher.

Further, this keyword is easier to optimize for in the search engines. Competiition isn’t as keen as it is for “weight loss”. So you have the added benefit of getting indexed for that keyword and getting traffic as a result.

So don’t ignore long-tail keywords in your marketing just because they do not get a lot of traffic.  Since the search term is more specific, you will get higher conversions.  And if you use enough long-tail keywords it will more than make up for not being about to rank for a high-traffic/high-competitive keyword such as “weight loss”.

Keep Selling!


Sean McPheat

Internet Marketing Academy

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