A Revolution in Keyword Research and Search Engine Optimization

The success of a Website is dependent on the quality and quantity of its content. The content of web pages should be structured around keywords.

Google has this week – July 20th 2008 – enhanced its free keyword research tool to include numerical data. This tool previously employed horizontal bar charts to show only relative keyword research database frequency of searches. Both averaged monthly numbers over the last year and latest month figures are displayed. This numerical data can be downloaded into a spreadsheet where further information, such as competition counts and keyword popularity index (KEI), can be added/calculated with other sources. This is a timely replacement for Yahoo’s once popular free keyword research tool – inventory.overture.com which became unreliable, was last updated in January 2007 and has recently been withdrawn.

Keyword research is the art of uncovering and selecting good keywords for your web site and keyword research tools are designed to identify those best keywords that have the potential to attract targeted visitors. The aim of search engine optimization (SEO) is to increase targeted web site traffic.

The top five search engines (SEs) – Google (53%), Yahoo (19.9%), MSN (12.9%), AOL (5.6%) and Ask (1.7%) provide 93.7% of global searches. About 80% of visitors to web sites arrive from SEs. Keyword research tools provide access to SE logs. Ideally, search engine optimizers would have access to all this data but no keyword research tool can accurately identify every search conducted for a given keyword.

The new problem for commercial keyword research tools is that they use databases that are tiny compared to that of Google. Wordtracker, for example, one of the most popular subscription keyword research tools, acquires search engine data from two meta search engines viz. DogPile.com and MetaCrawler.com. Although a meta search engine, such as MetaCrawler.com may display results obtained from sources including Google, MSN, and Yahoo, its database is confined to its own search data. A search today for “life expectancy” on Wordtracker gave a count of 171 compared to 550,000 on Google. Furthermore, the data included by Wordtracker is from the last 90 – 100 days compared to Google’s monthly figures. One can calculate that for every 9,000 searches on Google for this keyword there is only one search on the combined Dogpile.com and MetaCrawler.com.

“The long tail” is a concept that has been working its way recently through the SEO community. The principle of the long tail keywords is the opposite of concentrating on the top short tail keywords. Long tail keywords are the thousands of keywords and key phrases that send the majority of traffic from the search engines to web sites.

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