There are all kinds of keywords being used by people daily, in their search for information. Most professional search engine marketers learn early in their career, that all keywords are not the same. Some keywords are highly competitive while others are less competitive, which often seems as though fewer people are searching for them. But then there are some keywords that are really hardly being searched for at all. Some of the most ideal phrases are those that relate to a product or service but are being fairly often used by a specific audience of searchers, but at the same time have low competition.

Let's put it another way. Phrases which have a low number of competing pages, but also are phrases that are actually being used often by searchers, represent a nice "window of opportunity." The reason these keywords are appealing is because you can gain significant advantage (with little or no competition) while only performing mild optimization.

Result: High visibility on major search engines without the stress of competing with millions of pages.

Of course you can go after more competitive phrases once you know how, but the point is that you have to work a little harder if you are competing with 40,000,000 pages as opposed to say 400 pages or maybe just 40 pages. In a minute I'm going to give you 8 tips to help you think more deeply about your keyword research in Wordtracker.

But first, for the purposes of this article, I want to talk about some of the tiny differences in keyword combinations that can make an enormous difference in the end result. This article focuses on the use of Wordtracker and observes a few comparisons between phrases to demonstrate some major advantages in just choosing the best keyword terms.

Rule 1: Wordtracker uses a KEI (Keyword Effectiveness Index)

A KEI Value of 100 may represent a good keyword phrase.

A KEI Value of 400 usually represents a much better high use/low competition "window of opportunity."

The higher the KEI value usually represents a much bigger window. The assumption is that the higher the KEI the better. But notice that I use the word "usually." KEI is not perfect, but it is a simple mathematical equation and it does reveal interesting opportunities. The question for most people, is how to tap into these high KEI keyword phrases without spending hours of research. In a minute, we'll talk about the new Wordtracker Academy, but first let's just give you some sets of examples of phrases and how they stack up with similar but slightly different phrases.

BIG differences in little keywords:

1. "Download Free Knitting Patterns" has a KEI value of 419.0
2. "Easy Knitting Patterns Free" has a much greater KEI value of 2140.5


1. "purchase watercolor paintings" KEI 002.7 (Very weak)
2. "Watercolor prints to Purchase" KEI 705.0 (Excellent improvement)
3. "watercolor paintings southwest" KEI 2916.0 (still better yet)


1. "dropship affiliates" KEI 256.0 (fair window)
2. "dropshipping affiliates business" KEI 512.0 (much better)
3. "dropship affiliates business" KEI 1600.0 (better still)


1. "sales ability tests" KEI 475.4
2. "sales management tests" KEI 680.3
3. "sales competency tests" KEI 1176.0


1. "no soliciting signs" KEI 0.325 (very weak)
2. "no soliciting signs custom" KEI 4230.0 (much better)


These were just a few observations I made recently on the KEI Observation Deck

Now what I have not shown you are the other details such as the compete number or the 24 hour count or how many times each phrase was searched in the last 60 days. For these details, you can visit Wordtracker and log in to the members area for yourself.

Do you ever feel like you are running out of ideas when you are working in Wordtracker? From my point of view, I think that often, the challenge is that we simply do not think laterally enough about our visitors.

8 Keyword Research Tips to help you think deeper thoughts and explore those true niche areas:

1. Why not start at the top, instead of the middle?

Did you know that in addition to their top 1000 keyword Report in Wordtracker's member area, that you can actually buy a list of the top 20,000 keywords? For that matter, they sell you the top 100,000 or top 500,000. The top 20,000 report sells for just $129 but is worth it's weight in gold.

2. Wordtracker's recent new design includes a training area.

Did you know Wordtracker has opened a new training area on their Web site which has tips and articles and resources that you may not have known about? Watch this area continue to grow in the future.

3. Magic in 3 minutes - listen to audio tips for free

Have you listened to my series of Wordtracker Magic audio tips? These are short little 3 minute recordings where I teach you how to tap into Wordtracker's hottest windows of opportunity in just minutes. The audio tips are free and you can listen in right on your computer.

4. Behaviors Vs. Keywords

Have you thought about exploring "search behaviors" instead of just "researching keywords?" I explain the difference in my e-book

Wordtracker Magic at

5. Opening up the niche

Just when you think you're running low on ideas, don't forget to plug that keyword you're investigating into a tool like and watch for more synonyms you can explore.

6. Reverse approach

If you feel challenged because the keyword you're researching has no potential, try a reverse approach and explore your audience's searching behavior first to see what they want, then create that quality content that they're looking for. Wordtracker is a powerful window on the world.

7. Are you mixed up in a muddle of industry jargon?

Every so often, Wordtracker may reveal unusual letters, short forms that at first appear like a mess. Realize that many searchers do search with short forms or even worse. Often they'll search using their own industry jargon. Why not make the most of it? Use a tool like to reveal the possible meaning of those nonsense phrases. For example, we all assume the term SEO means Search Engine Optimizer, right? Did you know it actually has over 21 different meanings? Try plugging any acronym or short form into acronym finder and see all of the possibilities. It can be an eye opener.

8. Observe Those Big differences in little words

Remember that there really are big differences in little tiny words that make up your keyword phrase. Learn to explore and dig through Wordtracker's awesome database and follow some of these tips and you won't need anyone to tell you about it once you strike those golden search trends. You'll know by the traffic coming to your pages.

Remember that you can work in Wordtracker for a long time and never discover it all or see it all. The reason is because their main database of (350 million plus queries) is being updated every week on a rolling 8 week cycle. In other words, there are always fresh trends waiting to be discovered, if you'll just change your thinking to a little wider scope.

You can look up these and other examples on our KEI Observation Deck, where we post dozens of high KEI observations each week for examples of what is easily found using Wordtracker's system.

For those needing extra help to understand how to get the very best out of your keyword research, be sure to check out the recent area called Wordtracker Academy. It contains tutorials, articles and other Wordtracker resources.

Wordtracker's newest User Guide has also been released.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.
May 16, 2005

John Alexander is Co-director of Training at Search Engine Workshops offering live, SEO Workshops with partner Robin Nobles as well as online search engine marketing courses through Online Web Training. John is author of Wordtracker Magic and co-author of the Totally Non-Technical Guide for A Successful Web Site. John and Robin are also official members of the Q&A customer support team at

Search Engine Guide > John Alexander > Keyword Effectiveness - Observing Big Differences In Little Keywords