I am working with a frustrated client who is concerned that her site is not visible on Google’s search engine results.

I asked what search terms she was having problems with, and she said, “All of them. My site isn’t in the top for ‘aaaa’, ‘bbbb’, ‘cccc’, … ‘xxxx’, ‘yyyy’, or ‘zzzz’. Each of those terms are valid synonyms for the service she offers.


To help her site, I’ve asked her to pick the ONE most important search term she wants her site to show up for. “All of them” is not something I can tune a web page for. Even if all the terms mean the same thing.

The reason I cannot tune a single page for all the terms is simple. Google’s method of ranking pages is to read a web page and to then count the placement and frequency of the words on that page. Then, based on its secret algorithm, Google decides what that one page is about and how valuable the content of that page is likely to be to a visitor searching for any particular set of words.

In order to tune a page to make Google think it is a good resource for, say for example, “San Francisco accountants”, I have to put “San Francisco accountants” in the page’s title, headers, photograph descriptions, and paragraph text. I have to emphasize that one phrase, “San Francisco accountants” in order to convince Google of the page’s focus.

To tune for “San Francisco accountants” the words I use are “San Francisco accountants”, not “SF accountants” nor “San Francisco CPAs”. A human reader may know that those three phrases talk about the same professional service, but Google does not.

Similarly, “vacation rental” may mean “vacation lodging” to a human being. You may search for “vacation rental” and be happy finding a page talking about “vacation lodging”. But, to computer-minded Google the terms have only “vacation” in common.

To Google “apartments” and “apt” are also unrelated as are “tennis shoe” and “sneaker”. (At least they are at the time I write this blog entry.) Google deals in words and phrases and is ignorant of topics and meaning.

A thorough optimizing of a site to show up highly on Google requires individual pages for each keyword phrase. Each of these pages will emphasize that particular keyword, and each page must also have unique content on it.

A business that has 10 “money words” for which it wants high Google ranking will have to have at least 10 pages in the site, one for each phrase. This requirement is, of course, one which many small businesses cannot meet. Creating text and graphics for each of these pages can be a burden!

Therefore, for a first step I advise my clients to pick the one phrase they most want to show up for in Google. I then tune their home page for that most important phrase. As time, energy, and money permit we can, over time, create separate pages for each of the desired money phrases.

If you’re not showing up as high as you want on Google results, start with this simple tip. Look at your home page. Edit it to highlight the ONE phrase that you most want to show up for. Your home page should focus on that phrase like a laser and not throw out all your keyword goals like a shotgun.

Next Up: Picking the One Phrase that Will Get Your Site the Most Visitors