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Keyword Discussion Forum

keyword usage

 5:27 pm on Apr 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

I would appreciate any advice any of you can give on this topic.

I proposed a group of keywords to my boss to use(fictional example):

(free classifieds, new computers, used, etc etc)

She says placing used the way it is has no meaning, and we would be getting customers looking for anything used instead of what we are selling. My argument is, so what. At least you will still get the person who types in used computers, right? Or no? Wouldn't the SE hit off the 'computers', and the 'used' even though their seperate keyword phrases. Or would I have to have 'used computers' there instead of just 'used' for the SE to pick up on it?

This is actually for Direct Hit which only allows 60 characters in your keywords on their submission page. So trying to keep it short is important! Of course I also want to see how this applies in all keyword cases. Thanks to anyone who can help.



 5:44 pm on Apr 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

In general you won't have much luck targeting general, single keywords. I would have to agree with your boss on this example. Go for the specific product you are selling. No use working hard for a very general audience that takes one look at your site and backs out because it isn't what they are looking for. Sales or leads are the bottom line right? Go specific and attract the people that are looking for what you are offering.


 5:49 pm on Apr 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

Thanks James. Wouldn't this however cause a problem of over usage of keywords?

Another words if I put (new computers, used computers, old computers) wouldn't that get me in trouble with the Se's?

As opposed to (new computers, old, used)?


 5:54 pm on Apr 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

Well, they aren't going to pay a whole lot of attention to the keyword tag, Inktomi is the only place I believe considers it. Your ranking is going to come from content, meta title tags, heading tags, links etc.


 6:09 pm on Apr 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

from GoTo tool

1381112  computer
 390426  computer game
 214261  computer hardware
 68098  computer part
 64748  computer equipment
 63490  computer accessory
 57417  computer job
 51184  computer cable
 44013  computer training
 43504  dell computer
 41248  computer internet
 32728  computer virus
 32588  computer wallpaper
 30833  free computer
 28398  gateway computer
* 25459  used computer *
 25143  computer security
 22704  computer system
 21048  computer service
 20517  computer graphic
 19348  computer desk
 18657  computer case
 17562  laptop computer
 16509  computer history
 15772  computer software
 14673  computer memory
 14532  computer networking
 14086  free computer game
 13925  apple computer
 13203  computer network
 13014  computer furniture
 12670  compaq computer
 12437  computer auction
 12276  computer monitor
 12074  computer sale
 11196  computer dictionary
 10828  computer science
 10214  computer store
 10113  history of computer

Depending on what you sell, give them the relevant term they are searching for


 8:29 pm on Apr 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

I understand what your saying, and I am aware that they do not matter as much compared to the other things like title, and content.

However, I still have to write these tags out for my boss.

Now according to the goto report that Mike was nice enough to provide which keyword list would be acceptable or unacceptable?

(computer hardware, computer game, computer equipment, computer part)


(computer hardware, game, equipment, part)

That is my true question.


 8:37 pm on Apr 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

sorry for taking so long to get to your original question (a bit slow today...). Each page can really only target one or two phrases at the most. My most recent strategy is to have one main phrase for the page which I optimize using all the right ingredients. Then with the same page, go for a very non-competive, bottom of the barrel phrase that you will probably rank well on without effort...2 for 1 and both achievable.


 9:59 pm on Apr 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

I don't know if the answer you were looking for is this simple, but from looking at these posts I think it is.
Now according to the goto report that Mike was nice enough to provide which keyword list would be acceptable or unacceptable?

(computer hardware, computer game, computer equipment, computer part)


(computer hardware, game, equipment, part)

The answer to this, and someone can feel free to correct me if I am wrong, is that you have two options. One is to arrange them like so: (computer hardware, computer game, computer equipment, computer part). Another option you have is to leave out the commas all together, which will leave more combinations open for the SE's. This is something that I picked up here, and I know that is debated quite a bit as to its usefullness. Hope I helped.
-A Gerhart


 10:05 pm on Apr 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

Thanks James and Averhart.

Averhart if that is true, then it sounds like leaving out commas would be the best choice for everyone. Anyone else have info on this?

If I used:
(computer hardware, computer game, computer equipment, computer part).

Wouldn't that get me in trouble for spamming the word computer?


 10:47 pm on Apr 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

Alta Vista reads your keyword tag, but just considers it the same as ordinary text, according to this page [doc.altavista.com] on the AV site.

AV suggests using the keyword tag to add words that aren't covered in your regular page copy (synonyms and such). Other sources I've read say that keywords which aren't in your page are totally discounted.

My experience over the past months says that META keywords just don't make much difference one way or another. If and where they still matter at all, a short list is all that matters, and certainly keep the total repetitions under control.

Today I use the tag to remind me about the phrases I was targetting on the page. It's a handy place to keep that info, but I expect nothing more from the tag but a place for me to keep my notes.

Edited by: tedster

Robert Charlton

 9:06 am on Apr 13, 2001 (gmt 0)

An extra wrinkle on this with AV. Run a search on all-the-words (no quotes) "used computers," and you'll see down below the results that AV considers used computers as a single unit, in addition to reporting on "used" and "computers" as separate words.

When I see this, I usually figure that if I want to rank on AV for such a phrase, that an inexact match isn't going to do it.

As for the commas, I don't think that most engines really see the commas, so in repeating, say, the word "computer" over and over, you're running the risk of some sort of spamming penalty. I usually make it a rule of thumb not to repeat a word, either in metas or on the page, unless I have five intervening words. It isn't always possible to avoid repetition, but I try.

In my experience, it's more important to get your exact phrases in the title and prominently on the page than it is in the keywords. The meta description is also more important than the keywords.

I like to keep meta keywords short and focussed. Inktomi doesn't look at a keyword if it isn't on the page. They might even penalize you for it. On AV, though, where they say they look at keywords as if they're simply words near the top of the page, too long a list of untargeted keywords can actually cause a relevance drop in what you want to target with your page. This is one of the most common optimizing mistakes I see.


 8:17 pm on Apr 16, 2001 (gmt 0)

Ok here is an actual meta tag for keywords I am working on:

(boats,classifieds,used boats,yachts,power boats,personal watercraft,sailboats,for sale,sail boat,jet ski,fishing boat,pontoon boat,powerboat,cruiser,speed boat,outboard,inboard,engines,buy,sell,parts,accessories,merchandise,yachting,fishing,marine,finance,insurance,boating,ski boat,pre-owned,yachting,houseboat,marine supply,bayliner,catalina,baja,schooner,tug,motoryacht,custom,catamaran,catalina,events,jet,vessel,sportcraft,bass,sea ray,sportcraft,triton,deck,wellcraft,chaparral,hunter,pwc,trawler,mako,sloop,cutter,marconi,gulfstar,bayliner,boston whaler)

Now in reference to the above discussion, how would you rate this meta tag?

keyword repeating? (especially boat)
comma location?
anything else?

I would appreciate any feedback on this. I'm just having a rough time getting this meta tag stuff down pat. Even if it doesn't make much of a difference, I still want to get it right. Thanks if you can help.


 4:47 am on Apr 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

legster, long ago I was advised to limit the number of keywords used, lest they be "diluted" and the value of the important ones diminished.

I personally keep the number of keywords down, use words in proximity to form phrases, and just my personal preference, eliminated most of my use of commas in the meta keywords tag. Opinions vary, but I personally experienced a vast improvement.

Here's an overview of optimization, with good advice on quantity and usage of keywords:


Note: It was Robert_Charlton who gave me this advice about limiting number of keywords, for which I will always remain grateful :) Thanks again, Robert!

Robert Charlton

 8:11 am on Apr 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

Legster - What can I say? Marcia's advice is absolutely right on.

You're very welcome, Marcia. :)


 8:35 am on Apr 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

This is a really nice thread, summarising concisely how to use keywords.. All the good advice summed up. Thanks all.


 12:57 pm on Apr 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

Ok I just read Brett's article.

Here is what I got out of it:
Keep the initial keywords under 250 characters, but you can go up to 744 characters.

Now it seems Brett is saying the opposite of Marcia. She is saying to keep it short, but Brett is allowing up to 744 characters. Which is way longer than the example I posted above.

Now as I am reading the article, and I am getting excited about using his tactics. So as soon as I am done reading the first thing I go do is check his meta tags. Guess what? He has none! What's that all about??

So now I am really confused! This thread seemed to have the theme in the beginning that keywords aren't that important. Brett's article makes them sound very important! Yet he doesn't have any on that article??

The article didn't address keyword repeating, unless I missed it(I'm barely awake still). So my question still remains of did I use the word 'boat' too much in the example up above?

Thanks for all the help guys!


 3:32 pm on Apr 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

The reason you didn't see any keywords? He doesn't use them.....when I first came here I was baffled by this also. I actually started another <url=http://webmasterworld.com/forum8/148.htm>thread</url> about this.

I'm still in the dark on how to get the great rankings with absolutely no Meta's, but as a result of this site I am getting a grip on the subject.

-A Gerhart


 3:34 pm on Apr 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

whooops.....that was supposed to be a link

[webmasterworld.com ]


 3:52 pm on Apr 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

The "initial build" for the keywords is 250 characters according to the article, while developing keywords for the site. Basically,there will be a few phrases used throughout the site, with an emphasis on only one or two on each individual page.

A very broad guideline that I personally stay with to do the keywords meta tag: I don't use any words that don't appear in the page text. No more than 3 repetitions of any particular word, with 3 words in between occurrences of repetitions. If there are very few keywords used on the page, I might just use each only once or twice. The most important come first.

I try to stay with plurals - for example, people would probably not type the word game in by itself for a search, but they might look for used computer games.


 4:05 pm on Apr 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

With that being said, themes are a great way to go about things if your site is large enough.

They are a great way to be organized, as well as concentrate your efforts on one to two keywords per page.

If applicable to the project you are working on, I think that themes are worth a shot, especially for some of the theme-based SE's.


 4:09 pm on Apr 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

Thanks Ager. My world as I know it is being turned upside down on this site. :P

Marcia, if you follow the link Ager just posted Brett says that useing a word three times can get you penalized on Alta Vista.

Ok so using my keyword example above would I be better off instead of saying:

used power boat, sail boat, ski boat, etc

should i instead use:
used, boat, power, sail, ski, etc

Or am I totally off track? Somebody please help me find the right way to express the above keywords. Thanks. :)

Bear with me, I will get this down sooner or later!


 4:11 pm on Apr 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

Themes? Now I feel like a total idiot. I saw you refer to it in the other thread also. What exactly are themes, or is there a thread where this is discussed elsewhere?


 4:17 pm on Apr 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

Prepare to be amazed by the explanation in this thread:
check it out [webmasterworld.com]

This is the best explanation of themes, and currently we are landing a big job which I plan to use themes on. I have tried to incorporate them on already completed sites, but in my opinion you can only get optimized results by starting from scratch.

I understand your feeling of being overwhelmed, as I am still in the same boat you are. There is alot to learn here, and alot of very smart people to learn from.

With regards to your question about what to do on those keywords.....if you are going to use the second example, maybe try leaving out the commas. Some people don't like this method, but I have heard it works.

Robert Charlton

 7:37 am on Apr 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

>>Keep the initial keywords under 250 characters, but you can go up to 744 characters<<

Several comments about Brett's article, and I don't mean to be putting words into Brett's mouth... the article is at least a year or two old, and the importance of the meta keyword tag has diminished. Also, since the article was written, engines have reacted against an overuse of keywords. I remember that somewhere Brett posted that AV, for example, is only looking at the first 80 characters of a keyword tag.

Additionally, theming has become an important consideration... suggesting that you need to focus your whole site around 10 or so prime keywords at most. I believe this has come about partially because engines have had to take a wider view of the web as the number of sites has increased... so, whereas before the core of optimizing was focusing a page, when things get sufficiently competitive it's now necessary to focus a site.

Notice that the word "focusing" keeps coming up here. Whether you're optimizing a page or a site, you need to limit what you target.

There's a lot of reading to do on the board here... but if you keep in mind that you need to create a prominence for the search engines by focusing your site content, structure, and links... and that you've got to do that without excessive repetition... I think that will help you a lot.

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