Archive for the ‘Keyword Research’ Category

Fluent in Google?

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008 |

In the past few weeks, a new search engine hit the market. As one would expect, several members of the techno-press hailed this new search tool as a Google Killer, albeit with one large caveat – DeepDyve was not designed to kill all of Google. It wasn’t even designed to kill most of it. In fact, DeepDyve was lining up with surgical precision to take out just one area where Google showed advancements years ago, and then seems to have let languish – the “deep web.” Yes, the collection of academic, medical, and technical journals and databases that are used heavily for producing more academic, medical, and technical journals, and completely ignored outside of those fields.

Honestly, there’s a reason why Google was ignoring this part of the web. And there’s a reason why each and every SEO specialist will completely overlook DeepDyve – because you probably should. But, I tend to like to do a lot of research for my writing, so I signed up for the private beta for DeepDyve and waited.

The interior pages of DeepDyve are rather sparse. They aren’t sparse in the typical airy Web 2.0 style, but rather, in white board about to be jammed with data fashion. The site itself gives you the feeling that the data is indeed right around the corner. The problem is that actually getting to that data. And that’s where the big SEO lesson came into play.

As I started plugging in short, targeted, keyword-rich phrases into the DeepDyve search box, I realized that I was using the engine incorrectly. DeepDyve doesn’t rely on the matching of keywords aided by anchor link text like Google does. DeepDyve wants a searcher to, quite literally, paste entire swathes of an article, if not the entire article outright, into the search box. DeepDyve then finds similar, and hopefully relevant content. And let me tell you, it felt foreign.

The awkwardness was what tipped me off. DeepDyve works in the exact opposite way that Google does. Where Google eliminates search results based on the specificity of the search string, DeepDyve adds to it, the more words included in your search, the more results you’re likely to get. And while these are both paths that hope to lead to the same general location: the ideal result for the searcher, they do beg a rather important SEO question – how are the users searching?

After all, many of you are probably like me. You know Google. You’re fluent in Google. Armed with Google, a mobile phone, and one bar on a cell connection, you can find whatever you’re looking for before your coffee even gets cold. And that really helps when picking out keywords. But, what are your customers searching? And how are they searching it? How much of the internet is fluent in Google? And how many users compare Google to high school Spanish class, remembering only a few tricks? How many are clueless and simply plug in sentences as if they were spoken?

The answer can be very helpful and begs the question, have we adapted too much to Google? Are we too close to the source?

4 Easy Steps for Discovering Longtail Keyword Phrases

Friday, August 1st, 2008 |

Long Tail Keyword Development Strategy

To make things easier for you, I’ve broken down the procedure of finding and developing your long tail keywords into a simple five step process. By following this strategy, you should be able to effectively grow the amount of search traffic you receive daily.

  1. Enter your core keywords in the Google’s Keyword Suggestion tool. Download the entire list in a text or excel format.
  2. Perform competitor analysis manually or through SEO Digger.
  3. Compile in one list, all the longtail keywords from both of the above steps.
  4. Start to create webpages or blog posts and include at least one keyword + a phrase in the title. For WordPress users, install and use the SEO Title Tag plugin.

This is a snippet of an article by Maki at I can recommend this strategy whole-heartedly.

Google appears to Change Algorithm: Using Capital Letters Creates New Keywords

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008 |

Keyword research tools may be in for another overhaul.Google’s algorithm now appears to be viewing the capitalized versions of keywords as separate from the lowercase versions.I came across this while searching for the lowercase and uppercase versions of the keyword “engagement rings.”Look at these screen shots from the datacenter.

Screenshot of Google results with a lowercase “e” in engagement rings. Click for larger image.

Lowercase E

Screenshot of Google results with an uppercase”E” in Engagement rings. Click for larger image.


Searching with a capital “E” gives different results than searching with all lowercase letters, and I also noticed discrepancies between lowercase and uppercase letters with that keyword at the datacenter.

Now, look at the differences in the SERPS at the datacenter for the lower and uppercase version of the keyword “dog tags.”The results change after the second search result.

Screenshot of Google results with a lowercase “d” in dog tags. Click for larger image.

dog tags lower

Screenshot of Google results with an uppercase “D” in Dog tags. Click for larger image.

Dog Tags upper

Assuming this isn’t a temporary glitch, the SEO landscape will undergo another transformation.If this reflects a real change in the algorithm, keyword research tools such as Wordtracker and Keyword Discovery will have to be adjusted to compensate.They currently don’t differentiate between searches with lowercase and capital letters.Since the Google search results were believed to be identical for each, they had no reason to.

We’ll have to wait for an official word from Google (if they give one), but right now this is looking at lot less like a glitch and a lot more like a real shift in the algorithm. And it would be a significant one.I would guess that people search with different forms of capitalization as often as they misspell words or use theplural form of words.But it’s just a guess, as there is no keyword research data to back that assumption up….yet.

We’ll have to keep our eyes on this one.

How to Use Keywords – SEO Tip 37

Monday, September 17th, 2007 |

SEO TipsI just returned from giving my latest SEO Presentation to a Virginia Portal/Newspaper. I spent the last week or two creating the presentation and in doing so had to put myself in the place of someone brand new to the world of SEO. Of course I do this all the time when talking to people looking for an SEO Company, but this was slightly different. This time I was having to teach someone how to do SEO and that meant going back to the basics for everything including keyword usage.

So many times, as an SEO expert, I think of much of my knowledge as general, public knowledge. For example, everyone must know what a keyword is, right? Wrong. And even if they know what a keyword is they usually don’t know how to use it to effectively to optimize their web pages. Showing how keywords could be best used was of particular interest to the group I presented to, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on my blog as well.

Here is my personal suggestions on where and how to use your keywords on your web page you want ranked for that keyword:

  • Use it at least once in your Page Title or <title> tag, twice if you can use it in another form, but don’t feel compelled to have it twice. Once is usually sufficient. Example: <title>How to Use Keywords</title>
  • Use it once in your Meta Description Tag. It can help convince users to click your search results. (See more about this at my meta description post.) Example:
    <meta name="description" content="Want to know how to best use keywords to optimize your webpage? Click here to leanr and read other SEO Tips." />
  • Use it at least once in your H1 <h1> Tag . This should be main heading or title of your web page. On this blog post the H1 title is “How to Use Keywords”. The H1 tag should different on each page, and not the web site name. Only use ONE H1 tag on any given page.
  • Use it in one of your subheads. Your subhead should be an H2 <h2> tag. H2 tags can also, and should, hold secondary keywords, but including the main keyword is effective. Most web pages would benefit from subheads from a user perspective as well as for optimization help.
  • Depending on the amount of body text on the page, you should try to include keywords within the text at least 4 times. This comes with a BIG CAVEAT though. Only do this if it makes sense and doesn’t appear spammy. Remember you are writing for human and search engines. Spammy content can ruin all the efforts you made to get the user to the page. Be sensible and read your content. If too many keywords are making it sound silly, take them out. Avoid keyword stuffing.
  • If you have images on the page, and it makes sense, you should add it to the alt <alt> tag.
  • If you have images on the page, and it makes sense, you should add your keyword to the image title. This isn’t something most people to but it is helpful, in my opinion and only takes a few seconds. So your image tags should look like this:
    <img src="image.jpg" alt="keyword phrase" title="keyword phrase" />.
  • Add your keyword to link in other pages of your site, pointing to the page you want ranked. Linking out from the page you want ranked is fine, but do not use the keyword you want that page ranked for in the anchor text.

I think this will cover your optimization efforts. Of course tweaking my suggestions is encouraged and even necessary most times, but this is as good a guideline as any to start with. After you have used your keywords don’t forget to begin link building using the same keywords. Your efforts will be rewarded.

Keyword Density Myth – Find the Bonsai Trees

Monday, April 2nd, 2007 |

Is their an optimal keyword density?Our SEO copywriters have wrestled with this question for years. I believe there used to be an optimal keyword density, but nowadays I don’t think there is. I do believe there is a density level that will get your site penalized, but an optimal density is just a myth. Don’t believe me, then take a look and do a few searches in Google. Let’s try “bonsai trees”.

Here are the top four results and the keyword density for the term “bonsai trees” on each page.

  1. – 0.17%
  2. – 5.74%
  3. - 0% (Yes, that is zero percent)
  4. – 1.38%

From these examples you can clearly see that keyword density shouldn’t be a major consideration in your writing efforts.

Instead, focus on the on-page factors that help the search engines determine the ranking of your web page: title tags, link text, navigation, heading tags and quality content.

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Keyword Research Tools – SEO Tip Week 2

Friday, January 12th, 2007 |

52 SEO TipsIn hind sight, I should have put this SEO Tip first but better late than never. You must do keyword research before you start optimizing your site, that much is obvious, but what tools should you use?

There are two excellent keyword research tools that I can recommend as professional tools. They are Wordtracker and Keyword Discovery. Both are great and both are different. At Big Oak we started with Wordtracker and move over to Keyword Discovery after a year or so. We felt KD had an easier interface and liked they way it worked us. This is not to say Wordtracker didn’t do a fine job for us, because it did. It was really just a matter of preference. You may find Wordtracker better for your method of research.

If you are just getting into the game you may want to try something else that is free to do your initial research. You can use Overture’s keyword search tool, but it is limited to one month of keyword searches and often isn’t working because too many people are trying to use it. You’ll want to move to the pay-for-use programs quickly if you are truly serious.

In any case, do not overlook this important step and don’t assume you know how people are searching for your product or service. If you optimize a site with the wrong keywords you may end up with a high ranking site but won’t convert your traffic! Correctly identifying the best keywords and search terms using a keyword search tool will help your odds of success and give you a fighting chance to target prospects who are more likely to turn into clients.

My colleague, Holly Rodriguez has written about choosing keyword research tools on her SEO copywriting blog, Check it out if you would like more information.

Choosing Keywords and Key Phrases for SEO

Monday, October 23rd, 2006 |

Choosing keywords and key phrases for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an art: if a webmaster doesn’t choose the right keywords and phrases and use them within the pages of the website, the amount of web traffic they will receive can be directly and adversely affected. Due to the fact that the Internet is a vast, collective space of information, webmasters are constantly striving to make their website more visible and choosing keywords and key phrases for SEO purposes can immediately increase a website’s page ranking, if done correctly. Thus, with an increased page ranking in search engines, webmasters will see a paralleled increase in the amount of web traffic they receive.

How Keywords Work

Choosing the right keywords and key phrases for SEO is crucial to a website’s success. With the right keywords, individuals can create online businesses that are highly visible and an increase in visibility means an increase in the profit that a business will receive. Just because your business has a website doesn’t mean that you will be able to reach a global audience overnight–in fact, you may not be able to reach a large audience at all if web users cannot easily find your website. Therefore, in order to make your website easily accessible, you will need to get your website to appear as a response to any search engine query that a web user may submit: one way to successfully do that is to find and use popular keywords and key phrases.

When a web browser submits a query to a search engine, the search engine will pull up the pages that will best answer the web user’s query. Further, search engines will base their responses on the quality of a website: the quality is determined by the website’s content along with other factors like how many outside links point to the website. If you want your website to appear in the top of the search engine results pages, you will need to make your website one that is prepared to answer any query that may relate to your website’s theme.

Common Mistakes When Choosing Keywords

  • Choosing Keywords and Key Phrases that are Not Targeted: One of the biggest mistakes that webmasters make when selecting keywords is that they choose keywords and key phrases that do not really apply to their desired audience. Although the idea that choosing as many keywords as possible may, at first, seem like a good idea, it’s not. In fact, poorly chosen keywords can adversely affect the way a page is ranked and can consequently lead to a lower ranking in search engine results. (more…)

Big Oak SEO Blog

This SEO blog is provided by Big Oak SEO, a SEO Company. Most blog posts are related to search engine optimization, short reviews, SEO tips and increasing site conversions. Email us at or give us a call 804-741-6776 to see how we can help your company. More

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