What’s below folks is a little technique for you for deciding on keyphrases you want to go with.

We’ve discussed this before at length – lots tools and techniques at previous posts( see postings on keyphrase analysis )

However, this area of optimisation continues to be crucially important so here’s more useful stuff, below is a step by step process for you but before that lets review some of the basics.

What are the most important factors in deciding on your keyphrases?

There are three you must consider:-

Search volume – how may times a day is your phrase searched for? (get a feel at www.digitalpoint.com)

Relevance – to your business objectives and what sort of searchers you want to capture


Its this last factor which is the real indicator of how easy/difficult it might be to get good rankings.

The classical way of doing this is to see how many pages are returned when doing a google search, for example on doing a google search for “international relocation” in the top right hand corner of the results google will say ‘results 1-10 of about 34300 for international relocation 0.09 seconds’

Its this figure of 34300 we normally take as the competition figure. (dont forget to include the search term in quote marks if you do this so you return just the pages with the exact phrase).

But are these really competitors just because they include the phrase in a page? They could be, but there again many of these pages may not be optimised so its a crude measure. This is the figure use when measuring the KEI (keyword effectiveness index) so confirming why KEI is only a crude measure and should be used as such.

Here’s a more accurate way.

Lets stay with the term “international relocation” as our example.

Lets say our first objective is to get into the top 5 positions. This is a good target because we know now that this ‘above the scroll’ area delivers most visits (around 85%).

Doing a google search for this term will show us our top competitors. We will take the guy in 5th position and examine him to see how difficult/easy it might be to get above him. Below is the snippet in 5th position.

We then look at two main variables which have given him this position.

One is his degree of on page optimisation; the other is his backlink profile.

Much can be gleaned from viewing the snippet above in terms of his on page optimisation. We can see that the title above (the first line of the snippet and very important as I’m sure you will remember) is not particularly well optimised since the term ‘international relocation’ is not in there.

We can also see that the ‘description’ (the two lines below the title which are the contents of the description metatag) is not well optimised (again the selected keyphrase is not in there). Finally if we click on the ‘cached’ (on the last line of the snippet in red) we get:-

This is google showing us the repetitions it has recorded for this page and you can see there are no significant repetitions of the phrase. In fact all we need to do is to repeat the phrase ‘international relocation’ a few times in our page, include the phrase as the first item in our title tag and bingo we’ve out optimised him.

So how come this guy does so well in google if his on-page optimisation is so poor? It must be that his off-page optimisation (ie his backlinks) is good.

We can confirm this by looking at his Page Rank.
If you remember you need to download this from http://toolbar.google.com

As we can see (by scrolling over the PageRank indicator above) his PageRank is 4.
If we now check how many backlinks he’s got (many ways to do this but going to yahoo and typing in the following is as good as any):-

If you did this you will see he has around 1000 backlinks. Now we know why he ranks so high!

So, if we check our own backlinks we can work out how many and how long it will take to be in a position to compete. As an example lets say we have 600, so we need another 400 (lets say adding 100 per month for 4 months and that would do it.)

This is a rough guide only – it may be that by getting better quality links (more ‘contextually relevant’ better anchor text and so on…. all stuff we’ve discussed before) we dont need so many links. Also this is pretty exceptional for a small business, most of you wont need anywhere near so many links. (please note the limitations of Page Rank also – see the last post)

So I hope you can see this is a good way of working out how easy and how long it will take to get good rankings on specific keyphrases. Sometimes its very simple, perhaps just changing some on-page factors, some times more difficult (like the example above).

If you need any more input on this dont hesitate to call. (01928 788100) – always happy to speak with you…

Best Wishes

Jan Klin