New clients start off by telling me that they want their site to show up on the top of Google search results. My response usually stumps them: “For what phrase do you want to be #1 ?”

As I posted last week, you can tune a web page for just one phrase, and most business owners don’t know what their best money-making phrase is.  Selecting the right keyword phrase will get your site visitors. Picking the wrong one will mean your work is invisible and a bad return on your website investment.

Here are 2 tips to help you pick the right keywords for your web pages:

Pick phrases that are specific.

User searchingIf you are offering a guided tours of the Alaska wilderness around Prince William Sound, you don’t want to tune your page for “vacation”, even if people buy your guide service as part of their vacation.  “Vacation” is too generic, and most people looking to go on a vacation have another destination in mind. Perhaps they’re even thinking of a tropical resort.

You’ll be better off selecting a phrase such as “Alaska wilderness vacations” or even “Prince William Sound guided tours”.  If people type those phrases into Google and find your site, they are much more likely to want your services than someone looking to bake on a beach in Puerto Vallarta.

Similarly, if you are selling a product, you should tune the web page for a longer phrase instead of a generic one.

Web visitors looking for Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly shoes  are going to be overwhelmed with choices when they enter “athletic shoes” as a Google search term.  Visitors are also going to have a lot of choices if they search for “Nike shoes”.  Soon these web browsers are going to wise up and search for what they really want, “Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly”.

Your web page should be tuned for that phrase so that you can snag those motivated customers!

Find a phrase that is searched for a lot and which doesn’t have that many competing web pages.

This is a tricky task, but it’s one that can make or break your site. If there are 100 searches a day in Google for “San Francisco limousine service” and already 10,000 sites published with that phrase, it is going to be difficult to rank on the top of Google’s result list.   If there are also 100 searches a day for “San Francisco limo service” and only 100 sites published with that phrase, you should tune your new web page for the phrase with fewer potential competitors.

Finding the most effective keywords is one of the tasks of Search Engine Optimization specialists such as Ozdachs Consulting. I use two tools to identify cost-effective keywords: Google AdWords and Wordtracker.

Google AdWords

Google’s advertising program AdWords tools includes a screen which shows the number of searches for a particular term and the number of other people bidding for that term.  The number of competitors is not quantified and is only described in terms like “Very high advertiser competition”.  And, the number of advertisers doesn’t directly translate to the number of web pages with the keyword term.  Still, the AdWords provides a free glance at what people are searching for and the number of people competing against you.


Boy searching
Wordtracker is specifically designed to find the terms which are most searched for with the least competition. Wordtracker has created proprietary algorithm that produces a Key Effectiveness Index (KEI) that provides a numeric value to indicate the quality of a search term.

When you find a keyword phrase with a high KEI, you should tune your page for that highly-searched-for rarely-appearing term. Unfortunately, in my experience, there are few terms with a high KEI that relate to my clients’ real-world business.

Wordtracker is also relatively expensive, $60 for a month of access to their database of searches and web page competition. Running a search for a client with a small website takes at least a couple hours of my consulting time, so the price of selecting a better keyword for tuning can be several hundred dollars.

Nevertheless, I recommend to my clients that they buy a Wordtracker subscription for a month and have me use it.  We don’t want to overlook a money-making phrase to tune a web page for.  I’d hate to have my San Francisco CPA’s miss out because neither they nor I thought to tune a page for “independent public accounting firms”.

Picking The One Phrase That Will Get You the Most Business

Both Google’s AdWords Tools and Wordtracker will point out keyword phrases that you can tune your web pages for to get the most number of visitors to your site.

But, you and your Search Engine Optimization expert need to use common sense in tuning your site.  Don’t go after visitors for a phrase that isn’t going to make you any money!  If you are renting a vacation home in Puerto Vallarta you may tune for many different phrases that relate to your business.  However, just because you see that “Puerto Vallarta food poisoning” is searched for a lot and there are few sites with information on that topic, it doesn’t mean that you’ll get more customers for your vacation rental if you publish a spiffy page on diagnosing, treating, and avoiding food poisoning in that city!