Keyword Hierarchy: Sometimes Second Really Is Best


Only a small percentage of people who have ever connected to the Internet hasn’t used a search engine. Those users are generally focused on email only. Practically everyone else uses a favorite engine to surf, read, buy, chat or comment on forums, blogs and social networks. Users enter words that are key to their interest—keywords, and every Internet marketer, website owner and content writers understand that to gain search engine attention and better rankings, judicious use of keywords and phrases is absolutely required, but not every keyword or phrase must be the most popular ones for users.

Tiered Keywords

Roughly speaking, the top 10 keywords or phrases searchers use in your niche are your first-tier keywords and phrases. The second-tier keywords might be the next set of 10 most-used keywords and phrases. Your third tier might comprise the next 10 to 20 keywords and phrases.

First-tier keywords are the ones every marketer and website owner in your niche are vying for: Competition for search engine attention for high rankings—and therefore, lots of visitors—is extremely tough. If you can use only a few first-tier keywords and phrases on your web page and focus the remaining density on your second-tier keywords, you will probably find greater success in rankings and higher sales numbers as a result.

For instance, if your site target was swimwear, your probable primary keywords would be “swimsuit,” “swimsuits,” “bathing suits” and “swimwear.” Unfortunately, those are also everyone else’s first-tier keywords. Instead of trying to maximize or even over-optimize your density for those words, hoping to get more attention with more instances of your keywords, use each once at most–but don’t declare them to the search engines. Go to your second-tier platform for prime optimization.

Second-tier keywords or phrases that are lined with platinum are those that use the primary keywords as part of the declared phrase. For instance, second-tier keywords and phrases might include bikini swimwear, spandex bathing suits, swimwear skirts, striped swimsuit and black swimsuits.

Each phrase uses the first-tier keywords, so you’ll get “accidental” credit for using them, so long as you don’t name them specifically for your meta tags. Instead, focus on a keyword density no higher than five percent within your text. That’s five percent total—not each. You will get penalized by Google, Bing, Yahoo and every other search engine for keyword flooding if you have a density that high, for it’s total keyword use per content word count that creates your keyword density.

To recap, know your first-tier keywords for your niche. Use a few of them lightly in your content, but don’t use them as tags for the search engines: They will all note them and give you credit. Focus optimization on keyword phrases that include your first-tier words and declare those phrases as focused tags for search engines.

Watch your total keyword or phrase use. The maximum usually accepted without question is approximately five percent off all your declared keywords and phrases—not each.

Write good, relevant content that pertains to your website, the keywords and your market, and you’ll see profits rise and your organic or natural ranking on Search Engine Results Pages improve as you fine-tune your optimization.

Also, be sure you use your keywords and phrases in the title bars of your optimized pages! You don’t count those in density, but it’s an important step to greater consideration in rankings.

This post was written by Holly Miller, a writer for Coupon Croc. Technology out of date? Grab an Argos voucher and save big when you shop online for the latest gadgets.

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