From: Carol

Hi Jill,

I emailed you before and you made me understand what was going on. I have another question if you don't mind.

In one of your recent newsletters, you talked about keywords. If I understand correctly, your keywords should be used within your text, on the main page, right?

Here is my situation: I am selling microfiber towels, I want to be in the top-10 for car accessories, car care products, but nothing is in text on my main page. So, I noticed the search engines have not picked it up yet. I need more keywords for more exposure for my website, but with microfiber towels, there isn't too much to deal with.

Am I wrong in thinking that in placing these keywords for my website, without them being in a paragraph on my site, they will never show up?

Thank you so much.


~~~Jill's Response~~~

Hi Carol,

Glad I was able to help you understand SEO a little. It can definitely be confusing to people who are new to it. Especially with so much conflicting information out there.

You are absolutely correct that it will be extremely difficult for your site to rank highly for keywords that are not used within the copy on your pages. If you think about this for a moment, why would it? If the words aren't being used visibly on your pages, then your pages really can't be relevant for those words. That's common sense, and it's very much how the search engines decide what's relevant and what's not.

Certainly, there are sites that rank highly for some keyword phrases even though they're nowhere to be seen within the copy. These are the exception to the rule, and they generally are there because there are many outside pages that use the keyword phrase in the links that point to that page.

For example, if there were 100 pages somewhere on the Net that pointed to your page through a hyperlink that said "car accessories" in the clickable link, it's very possible that your page could show up in the results pages when someone searches for that phrase -- even if the phrase was nowhere to be seen on your page. But again, this is the exception to the rule. You'll often see this with extremely popular brand sites. A product like "Tide" may not have to say that they are a laundry detergent anywhere on their site, because everyone and their brother knows this, and may link to the Tide site accordingly.

However, this is not a good strategy for unknown sites and brands, for a variety of reasons. For one, if your towels make great car accessories, how will anyone know that or realize it, unless you point this out to them on your site? For another, the phrase "car accessories" encompasses hundreds, if not thousands, of things. What makes you think that the bulk of people looking for car accessories would be interested in your towels? I daresay that 99% of them won't be.

Search engine optimization is not about bringing in traffic that *might* be interested in your product. It's about bringing in people and traffic who want *exactly* what you sell. Note the word "exactly." If you sell microfiber towels, you will sell a ton of them to the people who search for "microfiber towels" in the search engines, assuming that your site is up to par, your prices are in line with other sites, and your customer service is impeccable.

Okay, so let's say that most people don't even know that there's such as thing as a microfiber towel and that these are great for washing your car with (or whatever they're used for). This is where your keyword research is key. Wordtracker has the ability to give you suggestions for related keyword phrases. Simply plug in the ones you're thinking about and go through their lists, checking off the ones that truly relate to your products. Check out phrases like "car washing accessories" and see where those lead you.

The bottom line is that you *must only* optimize your pages for keyword phrases that are truly relevant to your products and services, and you must find ways to write about these phrases within your site. You need to speak to your visitors *and* the search engines every chance you get.


September 10, 2003

CEO and founder of High Rankings®, Jill Whalen has been performing search engine optimization since 1995 and is the host of the free High Rankings Advisor search engine marketing newsletter, author of "The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines" and founder/administrator of the popular High Rankings Search Engine Optimization Forum. In 2006, Jill co-founded SEMNE, a local search engine marketing networking organization for people and companies in New England.

High Rankings is an internationally recognized search engine optimization firm located in Framingham, MA specializing in search engine optimization, SEO consultations, in-house training, site audit reports, search marketing seminars and workshops. High Rankings has a 100% success rate for substantially improving client rankings and targeted traffic.

Jill speaks at national and international conferences and has been writing about SEO and search marketing since 2000. She's been quoted in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Post. Her articles have appeared in numerous print magazines and online websites including CIO Magazine, CMS Focus, The Internet Marketing Report, ClickZ, WorkZ,, Entrepreneur, Lycos Small Business, WebProNews, SiteProNews and others. Jill has also appeared on many online and offline radio programs such as Entrepreneur Magazine's E-Biz Radio Show, SearchEngineRadio and the eMarketing Talkshow.

Search Engine Guide > Jill Whalen > The Right Keyword Phrases Bring Customers