From: Nancy Wunderlin


I just read your newsletter for the first time and I got enough info to keep me busy for weeks!

I am trying to use Wordtracker to find out what the best keywords are for our products. Can you give me some tips on using Wordtracker? I find their site hard to understand and not helpful.

For example, one of our software products creates tournament brackets for double elimination tournaments. According to WordTracker the phrase with the highest KEI is "printable blank tournament brackets." I find it hard to believe that's better than "tournament software." I must be doing something wrong. Thanks in advance for any tips you can offer.


Nancy Wunderlin
Wunderlin Software, LLC

~~~Jill's Response~~~

Hi Nancy,

You're correct. Most likely "tournament software" is the better keyword phrase to shoot for in your search engine optimization campaign.

The main thing that you're doing wrong is putting any stock into the KEI part of Wordtracker. Personally, I rarely bother to look at the competition reports because they don't give me much (if any) valuable information. When you don't know better, you might think that the competition report is telling you how many pages are actually optimized for a particular keyword phrase in any given engine. But they're not telling you this at all! All they can tell you is how many pages show up in a search for that particular keyword phrase.

This may seem like useful info, but it's misleading. You may see that there are 100,000 pages that show up when someone types in a particular search query, however, there may very well be only 4 or 5 of those pages that have been specifically optimized for that keyword phrase. The others may just happen to be using the phrase (or the words within it) somewhere on their page. Even a beginner SEO should be able to easily get ahead of those pages in the search engine results pages with some rudimentary optimization.

The whole KEI thing is supposed to make your optimization job easier by telling you which phrases will be a breeze to optimize for. However, you can't be afraid to optimize for the keyword phrases that are the most relevant to your products and services, regardless of KEI numbers. As long as you stay away from one-word keywords and some two-word keyword phrases that are used so frequently that they might as well be one word, then don't worry too much about the competition.

Personally, I recommend doing just steps 1 and 2 in Wordtracker and skipping the competition reports altogether. Don't look too closely at the numbers; just pay attention to the phrases and their relative position to each other in the list. Then take your keyword phrase list and choose the ones that make the most sense for your site. Pick two or three different keyword phrases for each page of your site and optimize the copy, Title tags and links accordingly.

I've written about KEI a few times in the past here: and here:

July 21, 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 > Tips on Using Wordtracker to Find the Best Keyword Phrases