It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. In the case of a search engine placement promotion of any size the first step should be the choosing of keywords. Everything from the titles, meta tags and even your content will later be built around these phrases.

There are two main reasons why this is extremely important. The first and most obvious is that you want your website to rank well and a solid use of the keywords you are targeting is a definite must in accomplishing this. The second reason a strong use of the keywords is important is that these will reflect the words used by those finding your site meaning that the use of these words will provide a recognizable association for your visitors. If a searcher looks for “search engine placement” in Google and, when they visit the StepForth site encounter the phrase search engine placement they will be reading a term they are familiar with. This will establish a comfort level with the content they are encountering.

So how exactly does one go about choosing keywords?

When I am helping my clients choose keywords for their sites there are a number of factors that I look at. The first thing to look into is the number of searches for related phrases. To accomplish this there are a couple tools that one can use. The most popular is the Overture Search Term Suggestion Tool which can be found at Another handy tool is provided by WordTracker ( You can sign up for their trial version and use it indefinitely though it does limit the number of results that show up and some of the advanced functionality. There are certainly other tools out there but these should be enough to get you started.

Now you will want to run a number of searches for phrases related to your area. For example, if you sell real estate in Toronto you will want to run some searches for Toronto real estate, Toronto home, etc. and it will then provide a variety of related phrases such as homes for sale Toronto, and Toronto real estate listings along with the number of searches for each phrase.

Now what you have to do is take this information and determine which phrases you should target. To do this you will have to look at which phrases have the highest number of searches, which phrases are the most targeted, and what it will take to attain top rankings.

Just because a phrase has the highest number of searches does not make it the best choice for the primary keyword target. If I ran a computer support site one of the keyword phrases with the largest number of phrases would certainly be windows xp with a predicted 4,589 searches per day. Do I want to compete with Microsoft? Will that provide the best possible ROI for my business? The answer is, probably not. And so I will look at phrases more targeted to my region or my specific area of expertise and target there. Less competition resulting in a less expensive promotion that will undoubtedly provide a better conversion rate.

But how do we know what the best phrases are? How do we know what the competition level is? This is one of the most important decision we will make for the life of our site, how do we know how to make the right one?

For that you will have to wait until next weeks newsletter when these issues will be addressed.