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                             WEBMASTER TOOLS

What is Google Webmaster Tools?
Google Webmaster Tools is a no-charge web service by Google for webmasters. It allows webmasters to check indexing status and optimize their websites. It has tools that let the webmasters submit and check sitemaps, generate and check robots.txt files, list internal and external pages linking to the site, view statistics related to how Google crawls the site, and more.

 Google's Webmaster Tools are essentially the reversal of your standard SEO. What the Webmaster tools does is looks at your website from an external point of view and then displays the information about your website in one of two ways. In some cases it displays clear indications of how you can change your website to make it better (as far as Google is concerned) and in other cases it simply gives you the data to analyse for yourself. When you first log into Webmaster tools, you will be shown a screen like the one below. If you are using Webmaster tools for the first time, it will take a while to populate with data, so be patient and after 3 - 4 weeks you should have a fairly full image as per my example below. Although also keep an eye on your account, as some data is only available for a short period of time after it has actually been recorded (i.e a few days). This is specifically true with the search queries whereby you can only see the last 5 weeks worth of searches.

You will notice from the above image that like the majority of Google's tools, you have your standard menu on the left hand side, then in the main body you have a summary relevant to the particular section you are in. In the above example we are starting on the very first screen you will see when you log into your website. I have highlighted two of the sections in red and two in yellow. The areas I have highlighted in red indicate data Google has analysed about your site, but it's up to you to interpret and understand, whereas the yellow boxes are more factual. Let's start by running through these 4 main boxes.

1) Search Queries (Left hand side in red) 
 The search query box basically shows you a snapshot of where your site is within Google search results (or SERP's) at any given point in time. What this box shows is where you are showing up in the Google searches for a particular keyword. If you look at the example below, this shows you the metric data for the keyword 'Ask Foreman' from my site over the period of a couple of days. This could be any keyword and this one keyword will likely be amongst a list of hundreds of keywords - so let me explain why and how you can use this for your SEO.

Basically keywords will only show up here (in Webmaster Tools) if you are showing up somewhere in the search results for that particular keyword. So for a particular keyword to show up here, a couple of things have to happen. Firstly, the keyword must in some way, shape or form be present somewhere on your website, and secondly Google has then had to deem it relevant enough against a visitors search to display it in the search results. So in the above example, I am showing you the name of my website, and you can see that it's shown up 30 times when people have searched 'Ask Foreman' and of those 30, it's been clicked on 12 times - which is a 40% increase on the week before (which was the week before my site launched). You can then see the average position and the change - and this is the important bit.

As I explained in my very first SEO tutorial, Google displays 10 results per page, so if you example the Avg. position figure in the image above said 12, then on average you would be on the second page, second from the top in the organic listings. Years ago, your position in the SERP's was almost fixed, so that whenever you searched for your site in Google under a particular keyword you would always be in the same place unless you or a competitor had changed their keywords and moved you up or down as a result. Now days, Google move the positioning of sites up and down quite a lot - especially during Google Panda Updates, so you have an average rather than a fixed position. They do this for algorithmic reasons that I won't go into here, but needless to say if you are doing a real time search, don't be surprised if you see your position move up and down a bit in what seems like a random fashion. Also, never search for your own website when you are logged into your Google account, as your site will nearly always show up on page 1 and excitement will quickly be followed be realization that you are still not as high up as you would like to be!

So what this data is telling you is that for keyword X you are in Y position on average. Now this is where it's important to understand your SEO goals as I talked about in earlier tutorials. Say by this point you have initially selected 5 keywords and you have then optimized your website around these keywords, then hopefully these keywords amongst many others should be displayed here. However, it might be that the average rank for one of your keywords is for example 156th (or page 15) in the SERP's. By now knowing that one of the main keywords you were targeting is so far down in the search results, you can now go back to your site and adjust all the tags titles and content theme etc to boost your position. You can then monitor the results as it begins to change by looking at the number of searches you are getting and the percentage increase or decrease. It's important however that you do this in such a way that it's beneficial to the user - for example altering your SEO to draw customers into your site, but the site being completely irrelevant to what a visitor is searching for is pointless as it's just a bad experience for the customer and they will leave your site. However, changing the way you have worded your content to bring the more relevant keywords to the forefront and therefore helping the visitor find you more easily is just good SEO. As I have mentioned before, Google is all about connecting people with the best search results, so if your SEO isn't doing that then you are going wrong somewhere.

2) Keywords (Right hand side in red) 

 The keywords results data is what Google defines (in its opinion) to be the main content of your website. It works by going through every bit of code you have on your page and just counting the number of times a word appears. So let's say you have a website on apples, and you frequently mention apples, then you probably will have the word 'apple' listed in your keywords with 2 variants which will be 'apples' and 'apple'. Now, the importance of this list is what is listed, and just as importantly what isn't.

If you have specific keywords you are targeting for your SEO and they are not listed here, or do not have a very high frequency (indicated by a blue bar) then this is something you can address. However, you also might have the opposite problem I have seen before where certain words are listed that are not relevant to the overall content of your website. To give you an example of this, I once had a website where all of my image links to other peoples websites had the <alt> and <title> tags in HTML described as 'Visit this website'.

What then happened was when Google read all the HTML on my website they decided that as I had used the word 'visit' over 800 times in various tags it should became one of my main keywords. Suddenly almost overnight I got lots of visitors who were people looking for designs of website buttons. Hundreds of people were searching the Internet for 'Visit website button templates' and finding my site! So just remember, this list should only contain the keywords that are relevant to your site and you should edit your pages to remove any that are not relevant that you have accidentally used too frequently.

3) Links to your site and Crawl Errors - (Yellow boxes) 

 These two areas simply show you the number of other websites that are linking to your website and whether there are any errors relating to your website. Common display errors include a page not being available, or someone else linking to a page that no longer exists. Linking to pages that do not exist isn't always your fault, and can occur if someone misspells something when they are linking to your site. It's best to keep an eye on this and try and resolve all errors where possible as if Google is pointing out an error it could be effecting your SEO, although Google did say in a recent podcast that you would not be penalised for links that were effectively outside of your control.

Getting the most out of Webmaster Tools
To summarise, there are certain areas of Googles Webmaster Tools where you need to be pro-active and think outside the box and others where you need to be re-active and change things when Google tells you. One of the most important areas to keep an eye on is the option in the left hand side menu under 'Diagnostics'.

Diagnostics effectively looks at your website and says how could it be better. For example, it will tell you when you duplicate titles, when the titles are too long or too short or are not informative enough. Even if you spend a lot of time on your SEO, it's still worth looking here at least once a week as it's likely that at some point in time you might accidentally duplicate a title tag, or create a meta description that is too long (or short). This is basically Googles way of showing you how you can make small corrections to improve your SEO and it's free advice, so worth taking.

But remember, SEO is something that's built over time, so follow my tutorials and in time you will see your traffic increase every day as every page of high quality content you add to your website becomes another potential search query from a future visitor...

Creating a website can be a large labor of love. Luckily, there are tools out there to help making, tooling, and updating your website to keep running as you always imagined. In this instruction book I’ve tried to cover some of the not-so-obvious basics: broken links, redirecting, searches, and statistics.

Broken Links
A broken link is when there is a link to a file on your website that no longer works. This can happen because the file has moved (have you ever tried to access a file through a newspaper and found a blank page instead?), the server that is hosting the webpage is broken, or the original typed in address in the html is wrong. Detecting these errors can be tricky - especially when you have hundreds of links on your web site. Luckily there are some free tools out there that will go through each webpage, list all of the links, and make sure that they point to file that exists.My favorite tool is actually a webpage itself: It employs a spider to go through each webpage (called crawling) on the website you give it.

Internal Links
Internal links are links to pages inside your website. Links in a navigation menu are good examples of internal links. Next to each link is a battery of information. Check out the FAQ for more information about those. After your internal links have been checked your external links will be checked. External links are links to files that are outside of your website. For example, if you had a link on your webpage to a Washington Post story, that link would be external. At the bottom, after the program has finished running, a list of broken links will be displayed. The website that I searched had 4 links to report. Sometimes these links are not really broken; they only took a long time to load. It is best to click on each link yourself and make sure that it is in fact broken before trying to fix it. (You can see that I clicked on the purple one in the picture below.) The error encountered by each program is also listed next to each link.

How Google Works
Google works by looking at statistics like frequency and use. When you first create a website it hasn’t received a whole lot of use and so it is likely that Google would not have taken the time to properly crawl your website much deeper than your homepage. This is problematic if you want people to be able to use Google to search for content on your website or if you want to get a good amount of Internet traffic. 

Webmastertools to help it index your webpage. Some of the easiest ways to boost your web-statistics are to sign up for things like Google Webmaster Tools and to create a sitemap.
Google Webmaster ToolsGoogle’s Webmaster Tools allows you to do so many useful things! My favorite feature is all the neat things it shows you about links to your website and how it helps
you make your website more visible to the general public. “Google's free webmaster
tools provide you with an easy way to make your site more Google-friendly. They
can show you Google's view of your site, help you diagnose problems, and let you
share info with us to help improve your site's visibility in our search results.”
To get started all you need is a google account - which is also free! Sign in and get
cracking. Once you sign in you’ll see what is called your “Dashboard”. This is where all of the websites you want Google to help you with are listed. You can see in the picture below that no websites are listed in my dashboard for now. To have Google help you with your website, type in the web address of your website (ex: push the “Add Site” button.
After that you are going to be asked to verify your website. Follow the instructions to verify your website. (I think the easiest way is to upload a file so that your source code isn’t messed with.) Once you are verified, you will see the green checkmark on your dashboard. 

Site Map
In Google Webmaster Tools you will be asked to provide a sitemap. A sitemap is a list of all of the links on your website. It allows Google to know what are all the links on your website that you want searched and indexed. This can be very tedious to make, but it is worth the effort. There are a couple different formats you can use to make a sitemap. Google provides information on how to make an XML sitemap here: Also, they have information about all differ
ent types of sitemaps here:
I think that creating an XML file for a sitemap is a lot of effort and not necessarily best for everyone. The format I prefer to use is a simple text file. On each line of a text file you put one link to a page in your website. (Do not include links to webpages outside of your domain!) Additionally, if you use this format, make sure to use a text editor that does not add additional metatext to your file and does not try to wrap your lines of text if they are too long.

Web Crawling: 

Similar to checking for broken links, any links they come across that are broken will be displayed
here. This isn’t 100% - so using another tool like one of the ones above is still recommended.

Content Crawling:

Problems with some of the content displayed on your webpage can pop up here. For example, I needed to provide a more descriptive title of a webpage than “Contact.
Search Data: 

Want to know what people are searching for when they find your website through Google? Find out the search queries here. 

                                         Google Analytics

What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics help you analyze visitor behavior in regards to your site. Analytics tools can tell you how many visitors you had each day, what pages they crawled, how long they were on each page, etc. Google Analytics is an invaluable tool in helping to augment your site’s ability to attract browsers.

 In the first 4 tutorials on Search Engine Optimization, I have focused very heavily on explaining how SEO works and the importance of picking the right keywords for your website. I have also explained how to apply these keywords to your pages to give you the best SERP results over time. Now we reach the really interesting part - analysing your website traffic.
Note: A lot of people ask how long it takes to start getting search engine traffic to your website when you launch a brand new website. There is no set answer to this question. I have had some sites take just a few weeks and others 2-3 months. The simple rule is be patient and in time you will get traffic, but it's unlikely to happen quickly at first. As a general rule, the bigger and more developed a website gets the quicker your pages are displayed in Google.

People ask, why is Google the biggest search engine? And what separated Google from any of the other search engines before it became the search engine to use? Other than being a very effective way of finding what you are looking for on the Internet, Google has distinguished itself from other search engine companies right from the start by doing certain things differently to its competitors. Google built a great search engine, yes. But their genius was the advertising options and the analytical tools they have given to businesses and website owners around the world to use in conjunction with their search engine. They produced a multi functional product which has more than one user base within the same market and this diversification is the key to their success.

In this tutorial we will be looking at the first of two such tools Google makes available to Web masters (or website owners) to help them understand who is visiting their website and how they are getting there - let's take a look at how to use Google Analytics.

There are currently 2 versions of Google Analytics, Google Analytics and Google Analytics Premium. As GA Premium is for websites with more than 10 million, but less than a billion hits per month, and on the assumption you are reading this tutorial as you are a relative beginner to SEO, I am going to focus only on the standard version for this tutorial. Also just to note, the Premium version is a charged version of the software whereas the standard version is totally free.

At this point, I would just like to mention one thing. At the beginning of the SEO tutorials you may have noticed that I said I would teach you how to get to the top of all the major search engines, yet I seem to have only focused on Google and their tools. The reason is because for my entire career thus far, I have used nothing but Google's tools and the strategies outlined in my tutorials. Yet despite this, I have managed to get tens of thousands of click thru's from search engines other than Google.

Why? Well, because if you understand what you are doing with Google then 99.9% of the time the other search engines follow the same logic in their algorithms. It's as simple as that. I spend absolutely no time optimizing any site I own to any search engine other than Google. And yet I still get great coverage from all the major search engines. So unless that fact changes, my SEO strategy won't either.

So what does Google Analytics do?
Google Analytics Demo Graph

If you take a look at the image above, what does it tell you? If you understand the graph you are looking at, it shows you regular traffic to a website, but also identifies the websites traffic is somewhat cyclical (regular highs and lows). But it doesn't really give you any useful information other than regularity of visitors. My reason for pointing out this unlabelled graph is because by not using Google Analytics you are blindly hoping people are visiting your site without understanding why they are visiting, what they are doing and where they are leaving. Some website owners never ever look at their statistics when really there is absolutely no reason not to. If you owned a shop in real life and no one ever came into it, you would be concerned. Yet hundreds of people own websites and don't understand (or aren't aware) of the amount of useful marketing information they can ascertain just by using Google Analytics.

The standard version of Google Analytics is totally free of charge and very simple to use. All you need to do is sign up for a GMail account (Google Email Accounts) then join Google Analytics - which you can do by clicking here. It really is as simple as then copying and pasting a snippet of code that Google give you into the top of all your web pages before the closing </body> tag in your HTML and then that's it. Once you have done this, your Google account screen will change to a green tick and then your information is tracking and you can begin to harvest all that great information which will enable you to better understand SEO and more importantly create a better website experience for your users.

Understanding the Google Analytics Interface - The Basics

You can monitor as many websites as you own using Google Analytics, but as most people will only have one website I am going to keep things simple at first and explain the basics of Google Analytics - although I will at a later date go into a lot more depth on how to use Google Analytics effectively. Below is a screenshot of what you will see when you enter your account. You will notice I have selected a date historic to this website being launched so you can see it as a blank canvas.
Google Analytics Site Screen

So first let's look at the box I have highlighted as '1' on the left hand side. This contains all your primary navigation. Now as this is a basic tutorial to get you started with Analytics I am not going to go into the sort of depth you would require if you are running a website with a large traffic throughput, but I will be covering all areas in enough detail so that you know what you are looking at when you are using it. Like I talked about in some of the previous tutorials, the more you use something like Google Analytics the more you get used to what you do and don't need to look at for your particular website.

There are 5 main sections on the left hand side menu pictured above. These are Visitors, Advertising, Traffic Sources, Content and Conversions. You will notice that I have not highlighted 'conversions' as this is something which is fairly advanced and needs a tutorial of its own to explain when and why you would use it. Also, I will not be discussing the 'Advertising' option in this tutorial, as what this does is combines data from your Adwords account with your Analytics to display your conversions all on one page. (And this is Advertising, or Non organic SEO so again requires separate analysis).

So what we are left with at this stage is Visitors, Traffic sources and Content. These are the three key areas to primarily understand when using Google Analytics for the first time.

Visitors (Now changed to Audience)

Firstly, we will look at visitors. Now of course to analyse any data you need visitors to your website, which you will have hopefully generated by following the SEO tutorials I have outlined. By clicking on the visitors button you are given sub categories to further analyse your data. As the exact terminology of the Analytics buttons and features are frequently changed, I am going to explain what you should be looking for rather than go through the menu on a point by point basis.

Anyone that visits your website is tracked under the visitors section of Google Analytics and a lot of information is stored in this section to help you understand where you visitors are coming, how long they are staying and how many pages they are looking at. The main summary of this data can be seen in the area highlighted '2' of the above image. The terminology used might not be something you are familiar with, so let's quickly run through what's on the screen.


 This is literally the number of times anyone goes onto your website. If you went on your own website 10 separate times in one day and no-one else visited the site this would display as 10 visitors.

Unique Visitors 

 This is one of the key figures I look at when I am considering advertising on another person's website and it's critical you understand what it means. Now as I explained in Point 1, if I visited my own website 10 separate times in one day it would be 10 visits, but I am only ONE unique visitor. The unique visitor figure therefore represents the REAL number of people visiting your site. For that reason, the Unique visitor figure will always be lower or the same as the Visits figure. There is however one tiny flaw though, in that if you visited your site from one PC but used 3 different browsers (i.e. Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox) then it would show up as 3 unique visitors. This is due to different cookies in the different browsers, but is really only a tiny data imperfection and it's unlikely many of your visitors will use different browsers so it shouldn't impact the validty of your figures.


This is simply the number of pages viewed by the visitors on your site (the total).


This is the average number of pages viewed by your website visitors.

 Avg Time on site 
 The average amount of time a user spends on your website.

Bounce rate 

This is something that's very important. The bounce rate is effectively calculated by analysing a customer's movement between pages. So if someone goes onto one page of your website and then shuts their browser or leaves your website this is classified as 100% bounce rate (100% is the worst bounce rate, 0% is the best). It's not an entirely accurate science at the moment though, as that one page may have been an extensive article which the visitor reads and then it answered their question - so they leave. This means that your website did exactly what the visitor was looking for, but it was still classed as bounce and with the worst rate of 100%, because they only visited one page. I am sure in the future, Google will be able to look at the difference between users that click straight on and straight off a website vs those that spend a lot longer but only on the single page. The unwritten industry average (and a good target from experience) is between 30 and 40%. But on some sites that have a good regular bounce rate, you may still see highs of 100% and lows of say 20% when looking at the data for a single day. If you are experiencing long term high bounce rates then there is clearly something on your site which is poorly designed, there may be too much advertising, or is not exactly as relevant as perhaps your SEO implies it is.

What's important with all the information I have spoken about above is you can then drill down this information to look at a single visitor and see exactly where they came from geographically, what pages they visited and how long they spent on your site. You can also see what browser and operating system they were using, whether they were on a mobile or not and if they found you via social media. It's this level of data interrogation that you will find better and better the longer you use and understand Google Analytics.

The relevance of Google Analytics is firstly and foremost to see how many visitors you are getting to your website. But then you also want to look at visitor habits to try and make your website better. For example you can always take this data one step further depending on the level of thought you want to put into it - this is where marketing knowledge and experience comes more into play, but here are a couple of examples:

1) You look at your geographical visitors and identify that you are getting a lot of customers from a particular region but none from another. You investigate this further using the SEO tactics explained in my previous tutorials and identify that in this particular region they use a different terminology to the region you already are getting traffic from. You can then adapt your SEO to target this regions keywords and you can then improve the number of visitors to your website. (E.g. In the UK, the word for a house might be house, but in another country it could be 'crib' or 'pad' - understanding these details enables you to target your SEO more effectively for different markets).

2) You notice that you have written an article which is getting a lot of search engine traffic but an extremely high bounce rate. Further analysis of your keywords shows that you were pulling in customers who were looking for something totally different to what they actually found on your site. You adjust your SEO and the bounce rate decreases. (Of course so does your traffic, but you don't want visitors who do not find what you are offering relevant - traffic isn't good if you are getting the wrong type of visitors).

All of these are hypothetical situations, but each demonstrates an example of how Google Analytics can identify a way in which you can make your website better for the user and therefore increase the overall quality of your website by proactive troubleshooting.

Traffic Sources

What you can see from the 'Traffic Sources' section is who is finding your website, how they are finding it and whether they are coming from a search engine, another website or directly to your site. There are three main ways Google categorizes traffic to your website and these are:

1) Direct - The user has either typed your exact web address into their toolbar or has you under their favourites.

2) Referrals - This is categorized as any traffic coming from a website other than your own, unless it is a search engine. Therefore any other website which has a link to your website on it and someone clicks on it will come through classed as referral traffic. If you have any banners, directories or paid for advertising on any non-search engine sites then this is the best place to see how they are performing.

3) Search - This can sometimes be a bit misleading if you don't understand how it works. For most websites, the search traffic is simply the traffic which has come from someone using a search engine to find your site. But if you are also using Google's Custom Search Engine on your website as a search tool for your visitors, and it loads the search results in a separate screen, then any search done via this is technically classified as a traffic source. This is important, because if all your website visitors suddenly start searching your website for a particular keyword, it might make it look like you have suddenly had a massive influx of traffic from this keyword, where in reality it's your website visitors looking for something on your site. You can however filter out what people are genuinely searching for (in a real search engine i.e. Google or Bing) when you start looking at the Web Master Tools data in the next tutorial.

The key with the search data is that you can see a lot of keywords on how people are finding you, which if you think about it, helps you identify the opposite of this and shows what keywords people aren't finding your site for.

By being able to see which keywords visitors aren't finding you under in the search results, you can then refocus your SEO and optimise your pages to incorporate the other keywords that are important to your website, and in turn maximise the potential traffic flow. However, there is one slight catch, in that from early November 2011, Google no longer display the keywords that people have searched for to get to your site if they are logged into their Google account. For more information on this, see the article 'Keywords not Provided' by SearchEngineland.


The content section of Analytics site is one that you should spend a bit of time familiarising yourself with. Here you can see in great detail how a visitor is navigating through your site and what your top pages are, both in terms of landing pages (the first page someone hits when they visit your site) and exit pages (the last page someone sees before they leave). There have also recently been some additions to this page to show other features that Google offer as well as site speed, which now shows you if you have any troublesome pages with too much information on that are taking too long to load. Again, what you do with this data will vary massively depending on your site design and layout, but here are a couple of what ifs that can be solved using this section:

1) You notice from your Analytics data that you are getting a lot of people leaving your website on a particular page. You look at the design of this page and notice it is not as well laid out as other pages, has no navigation to other pages or has no incentive for the user to visit another section of the website. You adjust the design and the 'Exit' figure decreases for this page.

2) You notice that one particular page on your website is much more popular than anything else. Using this information you create several other similar relevant articles and boost the traffic to your website by savvy SEO.

Of course, these are just examples, but the main point I am trying to illustrate is that Google Analytics is a problem solving tool as much as it is a data analysis tool. The amount of time you put into Google Analytics is totally dependent upon what you want to get out of your website, but over time I shall be looking at some case studies in advanced Google Analytics usage, so visit regularly for updates.

                                            Keyword Research

Keyword research is one of the most important, valuable, and high return activities in the search marketing field. Ranking for the "right" keywords can make or break your website. Through the detective work of puzzling out your market's keyword demand, you not only learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO, but also learn more about your customers as a whole.

It's not always about getting visitors to your site, but about getting the right kind of visitors. The usefulness of this intelligence cannot be overstated - with keyword research you can predict shifts in demand, respond to changing market conditions, and produce the products, services, and content that web searchers are already actively seeking.

How much is a keyword worth to your website? If you own an online shoe store, do you make more sales from visitors searching for "brown shoes" or "black boots?" The keywords visitors type into search engines are often available to webmasters, and keyword research tools allow us to find this information. However, those tools cannot show us directly how valuable it is to receive traffic from those searches. To understand the value of a keyword, we need to understand our own websites.

Choosing Keywords:
   Choosing keywords should be your first step when constructing a site. You should have the keyword list available to incorporate into your site text before you start composing it. To define your site keywords, you should use seo services offered by search engines in the first instance. Sites such as and are good starting places for English language sites. Note that the data they provide may sometimes differ significantly from what keywords are actually the best for your site. You should also note that the Google search engine does not give information about frequency of search queries.

   After you have defined your approximate list of initial keywords, you can analyze your competitor’s sites and try to find out what keywords they are using. You may discover some further relevant keywords that are suitable for your own site.

Frequent and rare Keywords:
   There are two distinct strategies – optimize for a small number of highly popular keywords or optimize for a large number of less popular words. In practice, both strategies are often combined.

   The disadvantage of keywords that attract frequent queries is that the competition rate is high for them. It is often not possible for a new site to get anywhere near the top of search result listings for these queries.

   For keywords associated with rare queries, it is often sufficient just to mention the necessary word combination on a web page or to perform minimum text optimization. Under certain circumstances, rare queries can supply quite a large amount of search traffic.

   The aim of most commercial sites is to sell some product or service or to make money in some way from their visitors. This should be kept in mind during your seo (search engine optimization) work and keyword selection. If you are optimizing a commercial site then you should try to attract targeted visitors (those who are ready to pay for the offered product or service) to your site rather than concentrating on sheer numbers of visitors.

 Evaluating the competition rates of search queries:
   When you have finalized your keywords list, you should identify the core keywords for which you will optimize your pages. A suggested technique for this follows.

   Rare queries are discarded at once (for the time being). In the previous section, we described the usefulness of such rare queries but they do not require special optimization. They are likely to occur naturally in your website text.

   As a rule, the competition rate is very high for the most popular phrases. This is why you need to get a realistic idea of the competitiveness of your site. To evaluate the competition rate you should estimate a number of parameters for the first 10 sites displayed in search results:
   - The average PageRank of the pages in the search results.
   - The average number of links to these sites. Check this using a variety of search engines.
   Additional parameters:
   - The number of pages on the Internet that contain the particular search term, the total number of search results for that search term.
   - The number of pages on the Internet that contain exact matches to the keyword phrase. The search for the phrase is bracketed by quotation marks to obtain this number.

    Refining your keyword phrases:
   As mentioned above, search engine services often give inaccurate keyword information. This means that it is unusual to obtain an optimum set of site keywords at your first attempt. After your site is up and running and you have carried out some initial promotion, you can obtain additional keyword statistics, which will facilitate some fine-tuning. For example, you will be able to obtain the search results rating of your site for particular phrases and you will also have the number of visits to your site for these phrases.

   With this information, you can clearly define the good and bad keyword phrases. Often there is no need to wait until your site gets near the top of all search engines for the phrases you are evaluating – one or two search engines are enough.

   As well as detecting bad phrases, you may find some new good ones. For example, you may see that a keyword phrase you did not optimize your site for brings useful traffic despite the fact that your site is on the second or third page in search results for this phrase.

   Using these methods, you will arrive at a new refined set of keyword phrases. You should now start reconstructing your site: Change the text to include more of the good phrases, create new pages for new phrases, etc.

Google Keyword Tool,Word Track,

Picking the right Keywords using Google Adwords Keyword Tool
I can't remember where or who I heard this from, but someone once said 'Creating a website and not understanding SEO is like filming a TV advert and then not having the money to broadcast the advert' - this concept is spot on.

If you are looking to build a website, or have already built a website, then even the most veteran marketer would be forgiven for thinking they know what their customers want in terms of keyword optimization - or to simplify that statement - most SEO marketers would say they know what keyphrases their customers are searching for to find their site. This might be correct at a given point in time, but the fact of the matter is that the game is always changing and you have to understand the rules of any game to keep ahead of it. If you are a long established website then you shouldn't be saying we have lots of keywords that our customers are finding us under, but instead you should be looking at the keywords they aren't finding you under when they search.

I would say to anyone who says they know everything there is to know about SEO, or says that their site never needs changing - that the minute you think you totally understand your customers is potentially the first time you are losing your touch. SEO is something you can always improve on - because you are not the only person in your sector doing it. If you have got to number 1 on a key phrase it's fairly likely the person who you have moved down to number 2 will notice and then it will be their aim to get above you!

SEO is easy to understand but difficult to master. When searching for something in Google for example, the plural of a word can put your company at a totally different SERP position to the singular of a word (i.e. tomato vs tomatoes). In a similar concept, typing two strings of keywords (but with the words in a totally different order) can also give you varying results (i.e. "free marketing ideas and advice" or "advice and free marketing ideas"). Your SERP position can vary massively even with something as simple as this, which is why it's important you understand what your end goal is before you go about optimizing your site - try the examples I have given in Google to see how different the results are.

Picking the right Keywords for your SEO - Ground Rules

Before one of the major search engines took a different approach to displaying results, there was a distinct lack of logic as to which websites would come up when searching for particular key phrases. But now the logic is in place in terms of algorithms, SEO marketing specialists spend a long time testing different ideas and logical structures to learn how search engines treat different keywords and in turn the HTML information behind a websites design.

Over the years, analysing these algorithms by looking at how I have got to the front page of Google has taught me to do the following:

1) Identify the key phrases that you want to be found under in the major search engines.

2) Do not spread yourself too broadly in terms of what you are trying to rank highly on. Do not start off trying to rank highly on 20 keywords all at the same time. Start with between 3 - 5 keyphrases.

3) Make sure you have a core theme for the website - this is increasingly important.

4) Make sure you do not change things too frequently or never change them.

5) The more illogical and infrequent the search term is, the easier it is to get ranked highly for.

6) Always try and think like your websites visitors.

Now some of this might seem like fairly straight forward stuff, but you would be surprised the number of sites that do not follow the above basic rules. To run through these points briefly, you have firstly to understand what the core theme of your site is to be able to structure the keywords you want to try and target - effectively creating a list of keywords you are trying to rank highly for in a particular search engine. If you pick too many words from the get go, then you may spread yourself too thinly - remember Rome wasn't built in a day - as your site gets bigger you can target more keywords across more pages.

One of the key rules is do not change things too frequently and do not change everything at once. If you change all the SEO on your entire site then the site can disappear from the rankings for a long time before it pops up again (even 3 months!) - it's better to change a page here and there to achieve the SEO goal you are looking for over time, rather than doing it all in one hit - unless of course you have no SEO or ranking in the SERP's then it makes little odds.

Last but not least is thinking like your customers or visitors. In general people tend to either use key phrases (i.e the bare minimum) in Google or more frequently they ask Google questions when they search as if they were asking a person. The majority of the time if you start typing something into Google you will see that it autocompletes and gives you search ideas. If you take the question concept and tie it in with the Google Adwords Keyword Tool then you should start to come up with some good SEO ideas.

Getting Started with Google Adwords Keywords Tool

Ok, so to start off you might notice that the Google Tool I am going to be talking about is named the Google Adwords Keyword Tool - but don't be put off by it's name. The purpose of this tool is to display the number of searches for particular keywords over a monthly range so that people using Google Adwords can pick the most popular keywords to target for their adverts (also displayed in Google). In effect, this means that Google Advertisers using the Adwords Tool can cover the most popular keywords and then by having greater search results exposure to their adverts they will get more people clicking on them. This is then beneficial to both the advertiser and to Google (as Google get a percentage of the revenue from adverts being clicked - I'll explain this in a lot more detail in its own section - but its relevance is nominal at the moment).

Now let me be clear about something, this is very important - I know and understand that this tool is designed for people using Google Adwords. But of course, you have to think that if companies are targeting advertising based on popular keyword searches in Google, then it makes sense that logically you should be doing the same for the SEO keywords on your website - because the Adwords Keyword Tool results are the keyword searches of real people using Google. They are exactly the same thing! You can use the Google Adwords Tool at any time, but for best effect please read the rest of this tutorial first.

So let's take a look at how this works in practical terms. Let's say that I have built a site which is based around me offering a service of website design to my customers - so effectively I am a Website Designer for the purpose of this tutorial. Now off the top of my head (and trying to think like a potential customer of a Website Designer), I would type into Google something like 'Where can I find a good website designer?' or 'website designers' - always try and think like your customers and remember that half the time the people searching will not use the same terminology and abbreviations that you might. This is particularly important with industry based acronyms that you might know but it's likely 95% of your customers will not.

So firstly, I take the core concept of what I think one of my visitors may search for, which as I suggested would be 'website designer'. By using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool I get the following results:

Analyzing Google Adwords

So let me break down the boxes above I have circled in red.

1) Competition - This is the competition for a particular keyword. This is not entirely relevant at the moment from an SEO point of view, but a rule of thumb is the more full the green bar is, the higher the competition is for this word on Google Adwords (Not SEO). However, in contradiction to what I have just said, it is normally the case that a highly competitive Adwords score also relates to a competitive SERP keyword. This is logical, as if a company/individual can't get as high in the SERP's as they would like to, they may resort to inorganic SEO and to paying for adverts through Google Adwords - so high competition normally equals lots of good SEO already in place for those keywords. This is not always the case, but very often it's the rule, not the exception. (Please note: Competition is no longer displayed as a green bar, but as high, medium and low. This changed the day after I wrote this tutorial on 25th October where Low < 0.33, Medium 0.33 - 0.66 and High > 0.67. It's really only an aesthetic change by Google to make things a bit clearer at a quick look.)

2 & 3) Global Monthly Searches/Local Monthly Searches - As the first part of the title would suggest, this is the number of 'Global Monthly Searches' for a particular keyword. This is an important one in combination with the 'Local Monthly Searches'. The reason this is important is because if you take for example this site, (, then I am really only interested in the Global Monthly Searches. Why? The reason is because what I offer on this site is Marketing knowledge, so it's something which tends to be globally useful information. If however you are a Marketing Company based in New York, USA and you do not want clients from the UK, or you are a painter and decorator offering your services within a 10-mile radius of London UK, then you are going to be more interested in the Local Monthly Searches i.e. you want to be able to analyse your local market, not the global market. These two figures can vary massively and it can sometimes be a great way of identifying a lack of competition in your region/country/local area.

Analysing the Google Adwords Keyword Tool Results

Continuing the above example, you want to look at which keywords are getting the most searches and then the relevance of these keywords to what your website offers its visitors. There is no point targeting a keyword with 1,000,000 hits per month if it has nothing to do with what your site offers its visitors - even if you did rank highly in the search engines you would be misleading your visitors which causes all sorts of problems in the long run.

By clicking on any of the columns in the results, you can quickly arrange them to show the highest or lowest searched for keywords. In this case I am looking for the highest ranking keywords under the Global Monthly Search Figures. Now this is where you have to really think outside of the box. Google Adwords by default gives me the top 5 results as per the image below: (These are results based on a UK IP Address search)

Analyzing Google Adwords

The problem with the results now is that as you can see there are 277,000,000 people searching every month for 'web' which is part of our phrase but has no real relationship to it (You will notice I talk a lot about relationships in SEO as this is something that is very important).

The reason is because particular words may come up as they are part of a sentence structure - but Google also displays them on an individual basis. For example 200,000,000 people might search for 'web footed toads' and 76,000,000 might search for 'web weaving' leaving only 1,000,000 searching for 'web design'. Ok - so the example is a bit extreme and 1 million monthly searches is still a lot, but I am trying to show how you need to be selective about how you interpret the results. You need to do a little detective work with these figures before you just pick the highest searched for keywords out of context.

The way in which I personally do this can be difficult to explain, but the more SEO you do the more you will be able to quickly judge which data is important and what isn't. You can get a good idea of the results I started off with by running the Google Adwords Tool yourself and searching 'Website Designer' to see how many keywords I have gone through to pick the ones I am going to talk about below. Bear in mind though, my search was done in October 2011 and this data is constantly changing.

After removing results which I class to not be relevant to my core concept, and by taking out results I know are from unrelated searches, here are my top 5 results:

Analyzing Google Adwords

As I mentioned previously, my logic here is relationships and associations. When you are creating really good content for your website, then you are likely to be covering a lot of the right keywords during your normal text i.e. if you are writing an article on SEO, then you will be mentioning SEO and other related subject areas anyway. You will be covering the subject area and then in turn other keywords associated with your core focus without even thinking about it.

The original keyphrase I selected right at the beginning of this tutorial (without any knowledge from Google Adwords) had 3.3 million monthly searches . As you can see, this is way under half of the what the most popular keyword searches receives each month. If I had simply gone ahead with keywords I thought were relevant, I may have potentially missed a large chunk of the market just because my potential visitors and customers search for something in a different way to that which I had assumed they did - this is a genuine result to show you that you can't always assume you know what your customers are looking for. I would say 50% of SEO is clever thinking and the other 50% is being able to understand hundreds of different data variables and how to make them work for you.

Turning the Results in usable SEO Text

So the whole point of this tutorial is to show how you can use the Google Adwords Tool to help generate your HTML keywords theme. We have taken a core idea which was 'Website Designers' and now I am going to explain how I would translate the above into some good search engine content.

The 5 keyword groups I have picked reflect relevant search terms, reoccurring search themes and strong ideas. Taking these search results you then want to create rich content that is interesting and appealing - it's no good just copying these search phrases exactly as they are into your title tags and hoping for the best. Let me give you an example of how I personally would deal with the above.

Let's take Point 2 (in red) from the last image - 'how to design a website'. It's a very popular search phrase with 6.1 million global searches each month. Now I if am a web designer, how can I write an interesting article that will be search engine friendly and most of all relevant?

Let's start with creating an idea, again off the top of my head - "How to design your own website - Website Designers vs Building your Own" - this would be my <title> tags. (Doesn't make sense? See Tutorial Two).

Next we want to create a meta description for the page. I would say "Finding a Good Website Designer vs Building your own website. How to build a website your way." - Notice my use of the word "good" here which I said could be a phrase I would type if I was searching and 'how to' which supports the title tags also.

Next is the H1 tag - "Website Design vs Hiring a Website Designer" - This is supporting the title tags in a more concise manner and at the same time covering two variables of the same key theme - Design and Designer.

And last but not least is the content - I would write an article of a few hundred words (400 - 500) and importantly I would explain firstly the benefits of hiring a web designer over and above learning HTML or using a CMS. Explain the benefits of not needing any technical knowledge, the time saving and most importantly include all the keywords I have highlighted above in my title, H1 and description tags. Remember that a search engine can only say your site is relevant to something if the keywords are there to support it! (so many people forget this!). Also remember that if you have any images or links to set their title and alt tags up in the same constructive way as you have done with the main <title> and the other meta tags.

Content can be difficult to write and this is where it's impossible to tell you exactly how to do something. All I can say is that good articles are separated from the bad ones when they have no USP (Unique Selling Point). USP is a term normally used to differentiate a service or a product, but I am using it in this context because if you write an article about Facebook (for example) and just copy the idea off of someone else, your work is likely to be uninteresting. There is no reason for anyone to read it because it doesn't tell them anything a thousand other articles don't already tell them online. If however you take a totally different approach to anyone else and write something creative, critical and logical then more people will read your work. This is why I suggested in this example, your article theme should be looking at why you should or shouldn't hire a web designer - because it's not a lesson in why you should do something, but a critical look at all the options available.

In this particular example, as you are trying to sell a personal service you must be objective and above all honest about the pro's and con's - your readers will appreciate it. If you clearly say to the reader, look you could build your own website, or you could use a content management system or you could hire a designer then you have given them the 3 main choices available for designing their website. You can then go on to explain the pro's and con's of each. This is where you have to try and think from your customer's point of view, as not everyone that reads your article is going to need a web designer. Some people may be perfectly capable of creating a website themselves, so you don't want to write the article in such a way that assumes all readers will come to the conclusion of requiring a web designer, as it may alienate some readers with a bit more knowledge if you are dishonest about the complexity of web design. Don't think 'well if they don't need a website designer it doesn't matter if they don't like my article', instead think that that person at some point in time may refer a friend or colleague who has less experience than they do. Your website(s) should be as much about creating long term personal relationships online with people as you would do in real life.

So the end result of your article is that you are being honest, informative and hopefully creating useful interesting content at the same time. Google are more and more concerned with user experience on a website, so take your time and create something worth reading - in the long run, 10 poor articles are not worth one good article.

So I hope this tutorial has helped you understand how to choose the right keywords for your SEO and how to create a logical SEO structure in your pages. You shouldn't use the above article in isolation though and all your pages should have a strong relationship in terms of content. The next tutorial now looks at something I haven't mentioned up until now which is trends. Trends of course occur in search pattern results as much as they do in real life, so you need to be aware if you are targeting your SEO based on a short term trend or a long term trend and the importance of this in your SEO strategy.

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