TIP – Key phrases ARE search

October 29th, 2006 by Will Scott

Perhaps THE most important part of any search engine marketing campaign is key phrase selection. You can have the most optimized, organized, accessible web site on the planet, but unless you can be found for the key phrases for which people are searching you’re out of luck.

In my opinion, for small and medium businesses the best way to develop key phrases for your web site is by brainstorming with your staff and customers – particularly those staff who are in direct contact with customers. Unless you know what language your customers use when talking about what you do you won’t be able to effectively get found.

You will need to be particularly careful if you are in a more “technical” field – the chances are your description and your customers’ are not the same.

There are a few very good keyword research tools available, and I’m personally a big fan of Keyword Discovery from Trellian.

One good quick tool you can use to see whether a phrase is being searched for is the Yahoo Search Marketing search term suggestion tool:


When you’re doing your keyword brainstorming be sure to do the occasional reality check – “blue boxer briefs” may perfectly describe what you’re selling, but may not be for what people are searching.

Once you have a good idea of how customers might find you and whether or not there’s any search traffic for those phrases you’ve chosen you’re on the road to getting found.

If you want to go to the next level in this analysis, take these phrases you’ve found and search for them in Google. If you want an accurate count of exact matches put your search phrase in quotes.


Using the number of searches from Yahoo, and the number of matches (occurrences) in Google, you can get a quick sense of how many people are searching for your phrases and how many other businesses might be talking about them.