Keyword Research Tools and Methods

There are many different keyword research tools that can help determine the best keywords a website should be optimized for. Online tools, such as Google Keyword suggestion tool or Wordtracker are well known and highly recommended. But there are many other keyword indexes, methods of determining keyword importance for a website or branch. Lets briefly describe the most important ones.

KEI (Keyword Effectiveness Index) .

Keyword effectiveness index was first introduced by Samanta Roy from http://www.1stSearchRanking.com and was created to determine the value of keywords. KEI compares the number of searches for keyword with number of search results.

KEI = Popularity ^2/ Competitiveness
Popularity – number of searches for a keyword (for example, a Wordtracker estimates),
Competitiveness – number of search results in search engines (for example in Google) using exact match for a keyword.

Assume that number of searches for some keyword per month is 1287 (according to Wordtracker for instance) and number of search results in Google using exact match is 427,298. KEI is: 1287^2 /427,298= 3,87

The higher the KEI, the more valuable a keyword is.

Why square of the popularity? When popularity and competitiveness both increase the KEI index should also increase as it is far better to optimize a website for more searchable keyword than keyword with just couple of searches per month. Thats why a website should enter more competitive market and potentially gain more from benefit viewpoint. At the same time the competitiveness become harder, but its better to get to number 4 position on SERP for competitive keyword rather than be at number 1 for weak keyword with no or very little searches per month. The best keywords are those with many searches and little competition.

Although KEI is good indicator of keyword importance it does not say anything about quality of competition. While there might be couple of competing websites for specific keyword, the market can be taken by big companies with big technical and economical background that are hard to beat. Therefore KEI is good way to help determine keywords, but should not be the only measurement of determining the best keywords.
Read more about KEI at Wordtracker website.

Keyword density.
If you are interested a bit in SEO, you must have heard about keyword density. Keyword density is a percentage of keyword appearance compared to total number of indexable words on website.

Keyword density = number of times keyword appears on site / total number of indexable word on site [%]

For example, keyword density for “keyword density” phrase in this post is: 1.18%.

Keyword density is not very important these days for search engines. Of course it is important to have keywords on website, but search engines don’t put much attention to this way of determining websites relevancy. Well written copy for people will bring much better effects than stuffing your website with keywords.

Density of keywords on website shouldn’t exceed 7-8% as search engines may consider higher density as spam and exclude website from its indexes.
Very good post about importance of keyword density can be viewed on Hobo-Web Ltd UK website.
To check the keyword density on your website visit LinkVendor.

Keyword frequency.

Keyword frequency is number of times a keyword appears within a site text. Keyword frequency for any website is then compared to other websites on Internet. Search engines compare websites to rank them in their indexes therefore if your site does not include a keyword in its text it will not show up in SERP’s. With some inbound links with keyword in anchor text it may be possible to rank for that keyword but it will not gain high positions in search results.

Keyword frequency = number of times a keyword appears on website

The more times a keyword is used in different places on website (meta tags, title, header tags, text on site) the better chances search engines will give higher importance to this website for certain keyword. In general a keyword frequency holds some weight when compared to other competitive websites. When your competition is using more times a targeted keyword on their website you should consider adding more text with that keyword to your website or reviewing the existing text. But again, be careful and don’t overdo with keywords as it may be treated as keyword stuffing.

Keyword prominence.

Keyword prominence refers to how close to start of websites code a keyword is located. The keyword located closer to the beginning of text is given more importance than following keywords. The more prominent a keyword is, the bigger chance it will come up high in search results. Thats why putting most important keywords to the beginning of visible text, especially title tag and header tags is so important.

Keyword prominence = how close a keyword is to top of page

Keyword prominence has value for all major search engines, therefore it should not be overlooked when creating title tags, header tags, meta tags and site text. For the same reason putting company name first in title will not bring much good for website position as long as it does not include valuable keywords that a website is being optimized for. If a website is optimized for its company’s name you should put it first in title and other important places on your site.

Keyword proximity.

Keyword proximity refers to how close are keywords to each other. Using “stop words”, such as “the”, “and”, “or” (every language have different stop words) is simply breaking the keywords importance. You should never break your most important keywords as search engines calculate keyword proximity and give value to it. That said it is important to keep the key phrases as close to each other as possible and on top of page without using “stop words” between them.

Keyword proximity = how close key phrases are to each other

Keyword proximity should be taken into account when performing a professional keyword research. When properly used it can give higher positions in search results as keyword proximity in title tag is considered to be one of the most important factors of determining SERP positions.