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STARTING YOUR FIRST
WEB PROJECT, PART 4
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
In this lesson you will learn how to
generate additional keywords from your starter list and
how to order those keywords to achieve the maximum
economy in matching possible search engine queries.
By reviewing our last lesson, we see
that an analysis of the target market has resulted in
the following starter list of keywords for Donnaís
Recipes, food, cook, cooking, southern, family, meals,
menus, ingredients, child, children, parent, parenting,
raising, divorce, father, health, healthy, slim
Now, we'll refine this list and put the words in the
proper order for the Title and Keywords meta tags for
PLAYING A WORD GAME
This part of the process can be fun if
you approach it with the proper attitude. Think of it as
a new word game. Here are the objectives of the game:
First, we want to sort out the root words. For example,
"recipes" is the plural of the root word "recipe" in the
above list of keywords. "Parenting" is the verb derived
from the root word "parent." "Cooking" is the verb
derived from the root word "cook." Note that we included
the verb "raising" when we collected our list of
keywords from the last lesson, but the root word "raise"
was not included. So, go through the list above and list
only the root words. Your list will then look like this:
Recipe, food, cook, south, family, meal, menu,
ingredient, child, parent, raise, divorce, father,
The next step is to write out each root word at the top
of an index card or piece of paper. We have 15 words in
our list thus far, so we will need 15 index cards to
start. Leave lots of space under the root word on each
Now, take each card and write all the derivatives of the
root word underneath it. For the first card, which has
"recipe" at the top, write "recipes" right underneath
the word "recipe." Donna couldnít think of any other
endings that would make sense with "recipe," so she
stopped there. For the next card with the root word
"food" at the top, write "foods" underneath it.
Underneath that, write "foodstuffs." The third card with
the root word "cook" at the top should have "cooks,"
"cooked," and "cooking" as derivatives. "South" should
have "southern" underneath it. The next four words,
"family," "meal," "menu," and "ingredient" each seem to
have only the plural as a meaningful derivative. So,
Donna wrote "families," "meals," "menus," and
"ingredients," respectively, on those cards.
Don't make this process harder than it is. It is an art,
not a science. The process just gives you the
opportunity to think of different endings for your root
words that easily come to mind; you can later consider
using these derivatives in your final key word ordering.
After you have listed the derivatives,
it is time to think of synonyms for your root words.
Synonyms are words that have the same or similar
meanings. Take each card and write any synonyms you can
think of for the root word on that card. You may even
use a thesaurus (a reference book for looking up
synonyms) to help you with this task.
While doing this, Donna came up with no synonyms for
"recipe," but she came up with several for "food," such
as "chow," "eats," "edibles," "grub," and "victuals."
She writes these words on the "food" card.
For the word "cook," Donna decides to include "bake,"
"broil," "boil," "fry," "melt," "grill," "roast,"
"toast," and "bar-b-q." She also decides to include the
word "prepare" here. She then writes all these words on
the "cook" card.
For the word "south" (referring here to the Southern
United States), Donna decides to write the words "Dixie"
and "Dixieland" as possible synonyms on that card.
For the word family, Donna found "clan," "folk," "kin,"
"kindred," and "lineage."
For the root word "meal," Donna discovers "breakfast,"
"lunch," "dinner," "supper," "feast," "spread,"
"refreshment," "regalement," "fare," "snack," "grub,"
"mess," "dish," "banquet," and "table." Donna, while
looking up synonyms for the word "meal," also discovers
a previous oversight. She glances at the definition and
sees that a meal is the amount of food necessary to
satisfy the appetite. Donna left out the word "appetite"
in her original list of keywords, so she adds it now.
Complete this process for the remainder of the keywords
and then compare your list with Donna's below:
Menu: carte de jour
Ingredient: element, component, constituent
Child: kid, young one, young'un, youngster, nipper,
Parent: father, mother, mom, dad, mommy, daddy, ma, pa
Divorce: dissolution, separation
Father: (see parent)
Health: fit, sound, vital
Slim: thin, slender, svelte, lean, skinny
Donna now has a revised list of keywords and, for each
root word, she has a list of derivatives and synonyms.
From here, we can refine and order our list of keywords.
Take all of the cards you have made and find a large
uncluttered space in which to work. Lay out the cards so
that you can see them all. Now take two or three cards
at a time and put them next to each other, in varying
orders, looking for phrases that make sense from the
words on the cards. For example, if you lay the "slim"
card to the left of the "meal" card, you will see many
possible phrases, including: "slender snacks," "lean
lunch," etc. If you lay the "south" card to the left of
the "cook" card, you will see, among other phrases,
"southern cooking," "southern baking," and "Dixieland
cooking." This process will be very helpful in
identifying phrases that might be used in the search
engines by people looking for a site like Donna's.
Using this process of setting the cards next to each
other, try to identify the best three phrases that
uniquely identify each particular section and page of
ECONOMY OF WORD
The final stage of the word game is to
maximize your word economy. This involves two steps.
First, from your entire list of all words on all cards,
eliminate the not-so-useful words and identify the 25
most useful words.
For the second step, order your final keywords list so
that each word bears relation to the word to the left
and to the word to the right. That is, if you have word
1, word 2, and word 3 in that order; word 1 and word 2
should form a key phrase and word 2 and word 3 should
form a key phrase. Thus, word 2 is pulling double duty!
For example, if Donna used "southern breakfast recipes"
as the first three keywords for her breakfast section,
she would be creating an economy of words. "Southern
breakfast" standing alone is a useful phrase (i.e. one
someone might search for it in the search engines).
"Breakfast recipes" standing alone is also a useful
phrase. Here we also have a triple economy because the
three-word phrase "Southern breakfast recipes" is a
useful phrase also. Thus, we have gotten three phrases
out of just three words by ordering them property.
Word economy is extremely important because of the way
most search engines work. If someone types in more than
one word in a search, the search engine will first look
for Websites whose initial keywords exactly match that
phrase. If someone types in "southern breakfast
recipes," Donna's breakfast page will most likely show
up at the top of the search engine results because all
three words match--and in the same order. If someone
types the search phrase "southern breakfast," there will
be a two-word match with Donna's first two keywords.
This will also place Donna's page at the top of the
results. If someone types the search phrase "breakfast
recipes," there will be a two-word match for Donna's
second and third keywords--still close enough to warrant
a prominent place in the search results. Whenever two or
more words in a search query match the order of your
initial keywords, you fall much higher in the results
than if the keywords matched but were not in the same
order--and much better than if only a single keyword
It is permissible to repeat two or three of your most
important keywords in order to maximum the number of
phrases in your keyword list. Thus, the words
"southern," "breakfast," and "recipes" could be used
again later on in the keyword list if necessary to
create an important key phrase with other keywords. For
example, "breakfast" could be used again prior to the
word "menu." Just do not use the same word more than
five or six times in your keyword list on any particular
page or you might appear to be "spamming" the search
After creating a starter list of
keywords from an analysis of your target market (as we
did in the last lesson), you then need to convert your
starter list into the root words. It is useful to use
index cards for your root words and write down all the
derivatives and synonyms that you discover for each root
word. Then, you can lay your index cards out in
different orders to find the key phrases that appear
most effective. Cull your final list of keywords down to
25 of the most important ones (for each section or
page), and then order those words to create as many
possible useful key phrases as possible.
WHATíS COMING NEXT
In our next lesson, we will test our
final keyword list against actual search engine
statistics and make the final refinements.
by George Little
Copyright (year) Panhandle On-Line, Inc.
License granted to Carson Services, Inc. for
distribution to SFI affiliates. No part of this work may
be republished, redistributed, or sold without written
permission of the author.
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Course and other works and courses by George Little, see
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