The Lowdown on Finding—and Using—Keywords

August 2010
by Penny Sansevieri

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The Lowdown on Finding—and Using—Keywords

by Penny Sansevieri

According to a recent survey by Hitwise, search queries on all major search engines are getting longer and longer. Searches using five keywords are up 6 percent; searches using eight or more keywords have risen an astonishing 22 percent; and one- and two-keyword searches dropped in popularity by 3 percent.

When you’re optimizing your site for keywords and keyword strings, it’s good to remember that longer can mean better—the difference between a site found and a site buried on page 54 of a Google search.

When we think of keywords related to a topic, we often go to “root” keywords or, in lay terms, the first words that pop into your mind. For example, if someone were to say: “Give me a keyword for books,” you might say: “Publishing.”

That root keyword may seem like the right word to you, but it may not be a word that your reader or customer is using to search. Therein lies the key. You want to find the keywords that people in your market are actually searching with. For example, if you’ve written a diet book, you might think that your consumers are looking for keywords like “lose weight” when they might instead be keying in terms such as “drop five pounds fast.”

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