SEO Optimization for Multiple Word Search Terms

Mon, Jan 5, 2009

Keyword Research

Think about this for a moment – how many ways can you ask someone for directions to a restaurant? I’m sure there are three or four ways we can all think of off the top of our heads, and in reality there are probably hundreds of different ways we could all ask the same question. Now think about the same scenario, except this time instead of asking someone they are typing in the query into a search engine. How in the world you can you apply SEO techniques to help you get the maximum value for queries and ad campaigns without having to design the site around every possible combination?

Luckily, there is a way to help alleviate the multiple word search term problem. It turns out that though there may be hundreds of ways to search for something, luckily the majority of people pretty much tend to use the same phrases in the same order. This is the long-tail problem reversed; instead of focusing in on and tail we are more interested in the head where the majority of the search terms are concentrated.

First, find out how much traffic different orderings of a phrase gets. Luckily there is a free tool out there that every SEO company should be using on a daily (if not hourly!) basis – Google’s AdWords Traffic Estimator SandBox. This handy little tool will immediate show you how much traffic different search terms, and different orderings of those terms, are getting.

Now that you know what ordering is pulling down the most searches, make it a priority to SEO your site for those search terms. Now you may be thinking to yourself that everyone and their brother are doing the same thing, but trust me – go after the big fish first. We’ll come back to the smaller fish in just a bit.

During this step you not only want to do SEO on the page level (keywords, phrases, etc.) but you also want to focus on your inbound links and their anchor text. Now this is a little more difficult since you are trying to influence the behavior of other sites. However, one way to do this is to create badges for the other sites to link to you with. This is not only a great SEO technique, but an excellent marketing technique as well. Think of them as “virtual bumper stickers”!

It’s time now to focus in on page and site optimization. You want to make sure that on the pages you make good use of not only the primary search phrase, but the alternative orderings as well. This could involve using headlines, different phrases or even images with alt text that are using the different search term orderings. You are trying to use the best combination of the terms as you can without going overboard.

Finally, we’re going for the small fish – and our bait is going to be alternative anchor text for sites that are linking to you. Chances are the “big guys” out there already have the anchor text with the most traffic already securely pointing to them, so now is your chance to swoop in and get the alternative orderings of the search terms pointing to you. This may not sound like it will do much, especially for low volume search phrases, but it can give you the boost you need to get into the coveted 5-10 top spots on the search engines!

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This post was written by:

Cassiano Travareli - who has written 90 posts on SEO Blog | SEO Marketing World.

SEO Specialist! Loves everything about Search Engine Marketing.

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