26 Mar


Phase 2: Using Online Tools to Discover Core Terms, Plus Free SEO tools and Free SEO Software

This article was written way back in January 2010, but some of our forward-thinking SEO advice is still relevant today.


Brainstorming keywords is a great way to create a preliminary list of ideas for developing an effective keyword strategy.  In Phase 2 however, we will learn to use some online tools to assist in refining our potential keywords and keyword phrases.  In this phase, we will also begin to map out the core terms you will be using to create your individual web pages. We will also give you links to Free SEO tools and Free SEO software.


Typically, when one begins brainstorming keyword strategies the concern is simply to discover keywords and keyword phrases that can be used to describe the products, services and ideas you seek to promote via your website.


The next step is to work on refining those terms to make them relevant to your particular needs.  Using again our example of www.bastay.com (a vacation property rental website in Buenos Aires) let’s talk about the process.


When brainstorming keywords and keyword phrases we likely would have come up with vacation rentals.  Imagine how many people might come to www.bastay.com looking at vacation rentals?  Now imagine out of all the possible places in the world, how many people might be looking for vacation rentals in Buenos Aires?   Less than 1%?

Online Tools

To assist in refining your keywords, there are several online tools available.  It is up to you, but you should use one of the online keyword databases listed below.


We already mentioned Google’s “Adwords Keyword Tool” which can be found at:




Web CEO and IBP offer a great down-loadable program that works on your computer through the internet to assist with developing and refining keywords.  They offer a free version that are great to get you started.  You can download free seo tools and free seo software here:


SEO software by Web CEO



Trellian’s Keyword Discovery offers a free trial version which is great for this phase, discovering core terms, and the next, prioritizing core terms or keywords.  You can find it here:




The Wordtracker database also has a free tool which can be helpful in phase 3, prioritizing core terms.  You can find it here:



Using these online tools

For each of the keywords you listed in your brainstorming stage, earlier this week, use the keyword database in either Wordtracker or Keyword Discovery to look at the top 10 variations.  You do this by typing in your proposed keyword in the database’s search tool.


At this point, you will then want to start assessing the possible relevance of those 10 variations.  Thinking about each variation and then assigning a simple “yes” “no” or “maybe” is the best way to begin.    For instance, you input Vacation Rental Buenos Aires and you got back “Finding Buenos Aires Vacation Rentals” you would probably say “yes” because that is more specific.  If you got back “Vacation Rentals Buenos Aires” you might say “maybe” because it is not much more specific.  If you got back “Apartment Rentals Buenos Aires” you would likely say “yes” because it is too broad.  It encompasses all apartments in Buenos Aires and not just vacation rentals.


If you find that you can say either “yes” or “maybe” to at least 3 of the variations of any keyword or keyword phrase, then you can consider that a potentially good core term.


Take the time now to make a list of those candidates as good core terms and their variations.  These core terms and associated variations are called clusters and you should have at least 10 of them before moving on to the next lesson.

Phase 3: Expanding Clusters

Now that you have a good list of clusters (core terms and their variables) it is time to start prioritizing and targeting those terms.  It is important at this juncture to perform adequate research.   Having a lot of visitors to your website comes from being found by a lot of searches.  Therefore, your top priority is to find keywords and keyword phrases that show the greatest number of searches in the keyword database.


Of course, it is important that you also consider the relevance of a particular search term.   If you have a keyword phrase you are considering that gets 10,000 searches a month, but only 1% of those looking at it would be interested in your particular website, then you are only effectively looking at a value of 100.


At this point, we would recommend you select the best 10 to 15 relevant core terms and use those as the primary keywords and keyword phrases for your website.   Do not worry if you think you might be overlooking something at this point.  We will come back to revisit your keyword strategy more than once during the course of this online course.  And you will be doing the same thing again and again over the upcoming months and years. Effective website optimization is a never ending process.

Using Modifiers, Localizing Words and Brand Names

At this point, you should also begin thinking about using modifiers, words that you can apply to your chosen keywords and keyword phrases.  For instance with www.bastay.com , Buenos Aires’ premier luxury vacation rentals, you might want to include Luxury, or Premium with your phrase.


You should also look to words describing your location to further refine the search and therefore, the visitors to your site.  If you are renting vacation rental property in Buenos Aires, then be sure to mention Buenos Aires along with some of your keyword phrases.


At the same time, if you are using a well-known company such as Buenos Aires Stay, be sure to use that name as well as it is likely some people will use that name as  part of a search.

Phase 4: Mapping Keywords to Web Pages

So far in this lesson we have brainstormed to discover potential keywords and keyword phrases; we have used online tools to discover our core terms from those keywords and phrases and we have formulated our clusters.  We have also worked to expand those clusters by using modifiers, localizing terms and company/brand names whenever relevant.


In this section, Phase 4:  Mapping Keywords to Web Pages, you will decide which clusters to use for which page(s) of the website.


Generally speaking, since you can have more than one web page, or URL, listed on the first page of search results, you should select 2 pages for each cluster.  While you will want to find the best match for the first web page, and the second best match for the second URL, those pages will likely be next to each other in your site’s structure.  For instance, Palermo Vacation Rentals may be your cluster and you have determined that your page for Palermo Apartments is your best page and the very next page Palermo Viejo Apartments is the second best page.


If you have some particularly good clusters that offer multiple variations, you might consider setting up some sub-pages so you can use those clusters there.  This is a great way to broaden your site’s profile, or to “cast a wider net” to catch the attention of more potential site visitors and clients.


You will want to use the most general and popular core terms from your top 2 or 3 clusters to use on your home page since in most instance this is your top priority page for the search engines and thus, for prospective clients and site visitors.


At this point you should now have an effective keyword map and the developing an effective keyword strategy step is now complete.  Moving into the next lesson we will be learning about how to optimize the site structure.


You can download free seo tools and free seo software here:


SEO software by Web CEO



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