Once you’ve discovered words based on those two basic principles, it’s very interesting to use some search parameters at Google and Yahoo and do some deeper testing and get some numbers that are useful in different ways. Many of these are done by adding certain commands or phrases in front of the word you’re searching for. These can focus your searches and give you more specific information.
When you do a search, type the string “intitle:” (include the colon, but not the quotes) before the keyword you’re wanting to research. For example, I might type “intitle:fishing” (notice there’s no spaces at all). This kind of a search would return a big list of all the web pages that included the word “fishing” in their title tags. This will give you a number that reflects more closely the number of pages that are really competing with you. This would eliminate pages that merely mention the word deep in the text.
If you have a keyword phrase, you need to put the intitle: command in front of each word. For example, I might type: “intitle:fly intitle:fishing”.
The “inurl:” command is similar to the “intitle:” command in that it limits the search results. In this case, however, it will only show the sites that include the keyword in the URL (the address). Again, this helps you see how much competition you have in a more direct way.
The “link”: command is a little different in that you don’t search for a keyword, but rather, you search for a URL.
We all know that inbound linking is a major factor, possibly the biggest factor, in search engine ranking success. So, from time to time, it’s valuable to know just how many other people are linking to you. Go to the search engine and type “link:myfishingsite.com”. What you will see is a hopefully big list of all the sites that the search engine is counting in your ranking. If’ it’s not big, then you know what you have to work on!
This one is similar to the other keyword search commands, but with a twist. When you search a word with the “inanchor:” you’re seeing in the results a list of every page that has a link pointing to it, where the link text contains the keyword.
Got that? It’s confusing.
So, if I’m running a fishing page, and there are people that link to me using the word “fishing” on their pages, my page will show up in this list. Inbound links are important, but they get kicked up a notch when they include keywords in the link text. Here you can see if anyone is linking to you with killer keywords.
- * keyword
If you’re trying to think of new keyword phrases you haven’t checked yet, this one can help. I could type “* fishing” in my search. The “*”, in computer lingo, represents what’s called a “wildcard”. That means that the computer knows something is supposed to go there, but it can put anything in its place. So, for example, if I typed “* fishing” in my search, I immediately see more words that I can research. I see “fly fishing”, “sport fishing”, “saltwater fishing”, and more!
- News and Blogs
By searching specific areas of the search engine for a particular keyword, you can tell just how much that area is paying attention. Searching News feeds in Yahoo! will tell you how immediate a keyword is. Searching the blogs at blogsearch.google.com will tell you where the buzz is.
Now, none of these is a substitute for basic research. It’s very unlikely that your customers will be using these parameters and commands to do their searching, so you’ll still want to check your results in the most common way. Still, it can give you good insights into your market and what you can do about it!
Mark is the co-director of http://seotrafficmagnet.com, the search marketing consulting arm of Clickincome (http://clickincome.com). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including MarkHansenMusic.com and his MoBoy blog.