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Keyword Discussion Forum

Primary Keyword confusion
Am I a total newb or just suffering from identity crisis?

 6:55 am on Mar 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I know that most people here use generic keywords to discuss problems, but my question/confusion is directly related to what I "think" is our Primary Keyword and the only way I know to ask the question is to use the real words. So here goes...

We are a "Wholesale Supplier of Basket Supplies and Gift Packaging Products".

Brett says (in his Themes Pyramid discussion) to use one word as your Primary Keyword. Until I read this, I thought our Primary Keyword was "Gift Packaging". According to Brett, is our Primary Keyword "Gift" or "Packaging". I can see arguements for both.



 9:06 am on Mar 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

We are a "Wholesale Supplier of Basket Supplies and Gift Packaging Products".

How about reducing it to "Wholesale Basket Supplies and Gift Packaging", if those are the strings you see in the logs? I too had this dilemma and had to swap the two specialties around to rise in rank. e.g. I was an ABC and XYZ consultant and now I am an XYZ and ABC consultant. With more refinement, I rank #1 using either string, but I am in a field with relatively little competition. The ABC word was more prevalent, so I chose to push the other one for a while. I did not settle for just one because I do two things and wasn't even thinking of Google PR when I started. One day I may have two sites.

In the above example, the shortened version gives me 10,500 hits but your original gives 3800. That only matters if your audience is likely to use a particular phrase. The first one finds you, assuming you're the Nashville company, but the second one does not.

Do you expect people to be searching for wholesale+basket or wholesale+packaging? What other synonyms exist? That will help you decide.


 9:16 am on Mar 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'd also say that it's important not to make these decisions too abstractly.

I'd suggest using your server logs and using your record of which traffic really converts - and making that your bible. THAT data will make all your keyword decisions for you in a way that affects your bottom line most profoundly. You will be letting your target markets teach you how to find them.

You may find over time that you can abandon concern for some highly competitive keyword area and build a monster business on another, nearly overlooked "wavelength".


 10:03 am on Mar 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

The principle of a "single keyword" is derived from the the hisgest common denominator.

In generic form -- what word is used most often in keyphrases and corresponse to a searchers looking for you (or someone like you).

If using your statement --
"Wholesale Supplier of Basket Supplies and Gift Packaging Products"

were the only choices...

"Wholesale", "Supplier", "Basket", "Supplies", "Gift", "Packaging", "Products"

define the single word that best describes you, remember that many of these single terms would product "undesirable" click-throughs if ranked #1 (but the exercise isn't designed to rank you here).

When determining "which one" -- it helps to use the single word in as many phrases as possibly so as an example: "gift" is your primary theme; and can be used with two keyword phrases, such as:

Gift Wholesale
Wholesale Gift
Gifts Wholesale
Wholesale Gifts

Gift Supplier
Supplier Gift
Gifts Supplier
Supplier Gifts

Gift Basket
Basket Gift
Gifts Basket
Basket Gifts

and so on... as well as three word phrases:

Gift Basket Supplies
Gift Packaging Supplies

and so on.

Which even of the assortment phrases produces the most usage while emulates what you offer - that should be your primary theme.

As a title that same word should be first - adding others word to make the title succinct.

Off-page usage (such as inbound link anchors) should use this single word as well -- if and when possible.

The method drives relevancy on mulitple levels, and as time goes on any combination of search term queries with "gift" in the phrase you will be substantially more relevant.


 6:04 pm on Mar 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the informative replies everyone. Very much appreciated.

fathom: Your reply needs to be in some tutorial somewhere. I would think it could benefit many SEO wannabes like myself. I have a better understanding of the process, not just an answer to my question. Which ultimately will help us build a better "themed" site, in turn, helping our customers find what they're looking for. Thanks.

tedster: Well, for us this doesn't seem to be true. If I were to go by my logs, I would deduce that "Mycompany Name" was 97% of where I should focus my attention. We know this is not the case. We are not nearly concerned with what is in our logs as we are about what is NOT IN OUR LOGS.

Now that I understand what my Primary Keyword is (one word) according to Brett's Themed Pyramid discussion, I have another question:

Someone searching for just our Primary Keyword ("gift") would more than likely NOT be looking for us. In this situation, is it ok for me to focus, even on the index page, on more Tier1 and Tier2 (our "niches")?

(As I write this a part of me says, "ding ding, if you were listening to fathom, you would be covering your Primary even more heavily by default which is the way Brett intended it.")


 6:14 pm on Mar 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Your reply needs to be in some tutorial somewhere.

hmmm... I think it is in a tutorial -- WebmasterWorld. ;)

Someone searching for just our Primary Keyword ("gift") would more than likely NOT be looking for us. In this situation, is it ok for me to focus, even on the index page, on more Tier1 and Tier2 (our "niches")?

To cover this in another way - you decide that gift baskets will be your primary phrase, and develop your site accordingly.

Gift packaging may also be a qualified phrase but "baskets" dilutes the potential of gift packaging unless the phrase used gift baskets as in - packaging gift baskets or gift baskets packaging.

Remember the object is not to actually achieve ranking on "gift" but to make your site and pages more relevant to anything using "gift" and the amount of phrases using this word is substantially more traffic than the single ranking on the single word.


 1:16 am on Mar 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Footnote on the Deprecation of Keyword Targeting

Search engine referral stats from SearchEngineWorld.com:

  • 1998: 10,000 referrals in a week. 171 unique search terms and phrases. Strategy: classic keyword targeting.
  • 2003: 10,000 referrals last week. 7,100 unique search terms and phrases. Strategy: Spaghetti flinging.

That, is a profound and monumental shift in the search engine landscape. This new era requires new promotion strategies.

Had I stuck with keyword targeting for SearchEngineWorld above, our total referrals the last week would have been lucky to top a few hundred.

We are in to an era of quality search engine algo's from Google, Fast, Altavista, Teoma, and Inktomi. These new algos - most often based on a quality assurance metric from off-the-page criteria, have the ability to micro target relevant content.

Primary keyword targeting -- as opposed to reverse engineering from logfiles -- for organic SE referrals is possible, but produces a fraction of the potential real world referrals available.

Instead, write around your products for what your visitors will need and want. I've been calling it Spahetti Flinging, as it is akin to throwing noodles against the wall and seeing what sticks. You throw content against the search engines and see what comes back. Then just let the search engines figure out what your keywords are and send you appropriate traffic.


 2:05 am on Mar 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your comments Brett and fathom.

We are just getting started in SEO. Any success in the engines we have had previously has just been from happenstance. Now that we are focusing on SEO, I want to make sure I do it right.

After reading your excellent discussion on Theme Pyramids Brett, and especially after fathom's points earlier, I thought I had a "handle" on it. Now it appears you (Brett) are saying that it's a "hit or miss" process.

I can understand this I guess, besides, what might work today might not work later tonight, which is just the world we live in now.

So, instead of the plan being "ok, we focus on 'gift' and everything else falls under that" it sounds like you are saying the plan should be, "ok, let's try to focus on 'gift', letting everything else fall under that, and then see if that works, if not, we'll attack it another way".

Am I "getting it"?

P.S. I apologize for the excessive use of "quotes" in this post. :)


 9:03 am on Mar 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Am I "getting it"?

We hope so :)

The way I read it is that you need to pick on different keywords for different parts of your site so that those pages can come up if people search for those phrases or words. You don't want all your gifts in one basket.

<G, D & R> :)


 9:21 am on Mar 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Or better yet - build content that is on topic to your site, and let the search engines tell you what kind of content/topics/keywords they want to be fed.


 11:03 am on Mar 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

I need to agree with Brett there.

Obviously you need to start some place -- but don't get the mindset of "I must rank this page on this keyphrase". You'll end up getting no sleep and quite probably disappointed with the results.

A recent client - chose the keywords he wanted to rank on, and rank on he did. But his visitation only marginally improve. This is because the client had been looking at keyword tabular results and saying "that's the one I want" and not appreciating outside factors like; a famous book & movie parallels his keyword.

As Brett Says -- search engines are pretty smart therefore your logfiles will show the greatest potentials and where you can improve your site.

Many times your keyword gems are found my someone doing a deep search and click-through. You realize a whole new direction and something you have never considered before has just pop into view.


 9:42 pm on Mar 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Wow, and y'all don't charge for this stuff? :)

Seriously, thanks for all the help. I think I "get it" enough to get to work.

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