Ever see a website that seems to speak a foreign language...in English? We
encounter many SEO client websites that rely on buzzwords in the page copy to
get the word out about their product. The problem lies with visitors who may not
be familiar with those terms. This means optimizing with buzzwords may not be
the best way to gain traffic. If your prospective visitors are not searching for
those terms, how do they find your website?
Start With The Obvious
You really need to know your industry. Study your prospective visitors--who your
target audience is. If your prospective visitors are highly technical and work
and talk in "buzzword speak", no problem. But if you also want to attract
prospective visitors who may not be immersed in the terminology used in your
business, you must compensate by optimizing with a wider array of targeted
How Do I Find All Those Keywords?
Start researching. Yes, it's going to take a little work on your part to take a
close look at what keywords you may be missing out on. Keep account of
prospective website visitors who may use other terms to find your website. Track
the keywords used by visitors through your log reports. Most log statistics
programs have a report showing the keywords used by searchers to find your
website. Using your server logs or log statistics program for keyword
information is a good way to get a better picture of how visitors are finding
your website. Use Overture's keyword tool or Wordtracker
and note the words used on your competitors'
websites. Using these, or similar tools, type in your buzzwords and see what
variations come up. Competitor websites may use a slightly different language
than you when writing copy for their pages. Visit their websites and learn all
you can about how many ways your business can get its message across. Read
online articles; visit business newsgroups and forums. Find research information
through industry websites and companies that specialize in producing reports
about your industry.
Help Search Engine Robots Do Their Job
Search engine robots are just automated programs. Their concept and execution is
relatively simple: search engine robots "read" the text on your pages by going
through the source code of your web pages. If the majority of the words in your
source code text are buzzwords, this is the information that will be taken back
to the search engine database.
It's Obvious (the "DUH" factor)
Ok, so it's obvious to you what your industry buzzwords are. But don't discount
the simpler versions of those catchy words. Focus also on some lesser used terms
and make a list of additional keywords you might be able to add. Clear, precise
copy that catches the visitor's attention and tells your story is generally more
effective in the long run.
Compromise - Mix SEO Keywords and Buzzwords
You don't want to change the copy on your webpages? This is often a problem with
business websites. Once you have your keyword list of other-than-obvious words,
work at fitting them into the page text carefully. You want them to make sense
with the context of the web page. Use these new keywords as many times as "makes
sense" so they do not sound spammy. Read your copy out loud or have a colleague
read your copy to get a sense of how it might sound to a website visitor.
The Bottom Line
It should be easy enough to see how those extra keywords are producing for you.
Keep track of your log reports and see if those new terms start showing up in
your reports. Test a variety of keywords, then test again to see if visitors are
staying on your website, moving through your individual web pages, or clicking
away. Create specific pages using those keywords as a test scenario. The
information you need should be available to you in your log statistics reports
for visited web pages.
Don't let business jargon get in the way of getting your message across to your
audience. Yes, buzzwords may sound cutting edge, but the bottom line is, traffic
and sales are what you really want to show for your hard work.
December 4, 2003
Daria Goetsch is the founder and Search Engine Marketing Consultant for Search Innovation, a Search Engine Promotion company serving small businesses. Besides running her own company, Daria is an associate of WebMama.com, an Internet web marketing strategies company. She has specialized in search engine optimization since 1998, including three years as the Search Engine Specialist for O'Reilly & Associates, a technical book publishing company.