Proven techniques for selecting the most effective keywords and how to arrange them.

Generally, the more specific you can be, the better. On the other hand, you don't want to use keywords that are too unique, because no one will ever think to look for them. Use keywords that someone who has never heard of you, but who would be interested in what you offer, is likely to search for.

Many Internet directories limit your description to around 25 words. So your description needs to be packed with appropriate keywords. The more keywords, and the more precisely they describe your Website, the more highly targeted traffic you're going to generate.

Your keywords are crucial, and you only get one chance with each search engine. Here's a very effective technique that uses brainstorming, distillation and competitive research to develop a powerful list of keywords.

Make a list of 50 words that describe your business. Just put down the first things that come to mind, until you have 50. Don't spend a lot of time worrying about how appropriate they are. Just do a little brainstorming with yourself and keep writing until you have 50.

Now, remove all the words that appear in the name of your site. (Your listing will include these anyway). Take the top 20 remaining keywords and prioritize them, with the most important first.

Now, get on-line and go to a major Internet search engine. Yahoo (http://www.yahoo.com) is a good place to start, but it is a directory and therefore carries a limited amount of information. I would next try MetaCrawler (http://metacrawler.cs.washington.edu:8080/), which is a multisearch engine, then Lycos (http://www.lycos.com), Open Text (http://www.opentext.com:8080/), Hot Bot (http://www0.hotbot.com:5555/) and WebCrawler (http://webcrawler.com/WebCrawler/WebQuery.html) another multisearch engine. Try searching for each of the 20 words and keep track of how many listings you get for each one. Look at the listings you get back for each search, perhaps follow a few links, and see how the sites compare to your Website. This will give you a good idea of what your competitors are doing, and how they're listing their websites.

Next, start searching for combinations of keywords. Try combining the first two on your list. Try other combinations based on the numbers you got back for each individual word. Try each of your first few words combined with other words on your list. You'll probably discover some combinations that will give you more of an "exclusive" listing and combinations that only return a few (or no) other listings. If you find certain combinations that (1) would likely be searched for by your prospects and (2) don't return very many other listings -- by all means make note of these. These are called "power combinations".

You may want to change the priority of your keywords based on what you find. So go ahead and re-prioritize your 20 top keywords.

Now, you'll need to create several versions of your description.

First, try and create a description using all 20 keywords. If you discovered any "power combinations" make sure that those words occur NEXT to each other in the description. Now, limit your description to 40 words total, using as many of your keywords as possible.

Next, create a description that's limited to 25 words. Use as many of your highest priority keywords as possible.

Finally, develop a 10-word description using your highest priority keywords.

You now have several versions of your site description. Keep these handy. It's a good idea to type them into a text file and have it available when going on-line to submit your listings. Then you can just cut and paste text into each Internet search engine's submission form. You'll want to do the same with the name of your site and your URL.

The reason you've developed several versions of your description is that different directories have different limits on the length of descriptions. Some permit unlimited descriptions, and others limit you to just 15-25 words. Also, there are other places and methods on the Internet for you to promote your website, so some of your descriptions can be used in other ways, such as for classified advertising.

You can also use one of the descriptions you've developed on the top of your home page. Remember that the Internet search engines are out there looking for your page and you need a way to let them know how to describe it.

A powerful way to get your listing seen by potential customers, even if they're not looking for you.

Here's where it pays to be creative. The trick is to get your listing displayed to the appropriate people, not necessarily in the appropriate categories. Because the majority of people use search engines by searching for particular terms (rather than clicking through the categories), it's important to devise keywords that will get your listing displayed to your potential customers when they search for subjects that interest them.

Let's illustrate this concept with an example. Suppose you're selling lakefront vacation homes. Your natural inclination would be to use keywords such as "lake", "lakefront", "real estate", "homes", "vacation", etc. And those will work, as long as your prospect goes on the Web with the intention of looking for lakefront real estate. But this strategy will miss a lot of very well qualified prospects -- people who are in the market for your product but don't think about looking for it on the Web.

What if instead of, or in addition to the "lakefront" and "real estate" keywords, you used words such as "fishing", "water skiing", "sailing", and "swimming" in your description? Do you see the difference? Yes, these keywords will put your listing in front of a lot of unqualified people, but it doesn't matter. What matters is, you'll catch those people who are interested in what you have but who would have never searched for it.

We hope the above information is usefull to you as we are all looking for the best ways for people to find our web sites. Don't forget to use the link back to META MEDIC to check out how your META tags look to search engines

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