Starting Your First Web Project, Part 4

Starting Your First Web Project, Part 4


In this lesson Starting Your First Web Project, Part 4 you will learn how to generate additional keywords from your starter list and how to order those keywords to achieve the maximum foresight in matching possible internet search engine queries.


By reviewing our last lesson, we see that an analysis of the target market has resulted in the following starter list of keywords for John’s recipe site:

Recipes, food, cook, cooking, southern, family, meals, menus, ingredients, child, children, parent, parenting, raising, divorce, father, health, healthy, slim

Now, we’ll refine this list and put the words in the proper order for the Title and Keywords meta tags for John’s site.


This part of the process can be fun if you approach it with the proper attitude. Think of it as a new word game. Here are the objectives of the game:

First, we want to sort out the root words. For example, “recipes” is the plural of the root word “recipe” in the above list of keywords. “Parenting” is the verb derived from the root word “parent.” “Cooking” is the verb derived from the root word “cook.” Note that we included the verb “raising” when we collected our list of keywords from the last lesson, but the root word “raise” was not included. So, go through the list above and list only the root words. Your list will then look like this:

Recipe, food, cook, south, family, meal, menu, ingredient, child, parent, raise, divorce, father, health, slim

The next step is to write out each root word at the top of a(n) sticky note on your computer screen, index card or piece of paper. We have 15 words in our list thus far, so we will need 15 sticky notes, index cards or pieces of paper to start. [Note: Leave lots of space under each root word.]

Now, take each sticky note and write all the derivatives of the root word underneath it. For the first sticky note, which has “recipe” at the top, write “recipes” right underneath the word “recipe.” John couldn’t think of any other endings that would make sense with “recipe,” so he stopped there. For the next sticky note with the root word “food” at the top, write “foods” underneath it. Underneath that, write “foodstuffs.” The third sticky note with the root word “cook” at the top should have “cooks,” “cooked,” and “cooking” as derivatives. “South” should have “southern” underneath it. The next four words, “family,” “meal,” “menu,” and “ingredient” each seem to have only the plural as a meaningful derivative. So, John wrote “families,” “meals,” “menus,” and “ingredients,” respectively, on those sticky notes.

Don’t make this process harder than it is. It is an art, not a science. The process just gives you the opportunity to think of different endings for your root words that easily come to mind; you can later consider using these derivatives in your final key word ordering.


After you have listed the derivatives, it is time to think of synonyms for your root words. Synonyms are words that have the same or similar meanings. Take each card and write any synonyms you can think of for the root word on that card. You may even use a thesaurus (a reference book for looking up synonyms) to help you with this task.

While doing this, John came up with no synonyms for “recipe,” but he came up with several for “food,” such as “chow,” “eats,” “edibles,” “grub,” and “victuals.” He writes these words on the “food” sticky note.

For the word “cook,” John decides to include “bake,” “broil,” “boil,” “fry,” “melt,” “grill,” “roast,” “toast,” and “bar-b-q.” He also decides to include the word “prepare” here. He then writes all these words on the “cook” sticky note.

For the word “south” (referring here to the Southern United States), John decides to write the words “Dixie” and “Dixieland” as possible synonyms on that sticky note.

For the word family, John found “clan,” “folk,” “kin,” “kindred,” and “lineage.”

For the root word “meal,” John discovers “breakfast,” “lunch,” “dinner,” “supper,” “feast,” “spread,” “refreshment,” “regalement,” “fare,” “snack,” “grub,” “mess,” “dish,” “banquet,” and “table.” John, while looking up synonyms for the word “meal,” also discovers a previous oversight. He glances at the definition and sees that a meal is the amount of food necessary to satisfy the appetite. John left out the word “appetite” in his original list of keywords, so he adds it now.

Complete this process for the remainder of the keywords and then compare your list with John’s below:

Menu: carte de jour

Ingredient: element, component, constituent

Child: kid, young one, young’un, youngster, nipper, youth

Parent: father, mother, mom, dad, mommy, daddy, ma, pa

Raise: rear

Divorce: dissolution, separation

Father: (see parent)

Health: fit, sound, vital

Slim: thin, slender, svelte, lean, skinny

John now has a revised list of keywords and, for each root word, he has a list of derivatives and synonyms. From here, we can refine and order our list of keywords.

Take all of the sticky notes you have made and and open a new desktop or find a large uncluttered space in which to work. Lay out the sticky notes so that you can see them all. Now take two or three sticky notes at a time and put them next to each other, in varying orders, looking for phrases that make sense from the words on the sticky notes. For example, if you lay the “slim” card to the left of the “meal” sticky note, you will see many possible phrases, including: “slender snacks,” “lean lunch,” etc. If you lay the “south” sticky note to the left of the “cook” sticky note, you will see, among other phrases, “southern cooking,” “southern baking,” and “Dixieland cooking.” This process will be very helpful in identifying phrases that might be used in the search engines by people looking for a site like John’s.

Using this process of setting the sticky notes next to each other, try to identify the best three phrases that uniquely identify each particular section and page of your Website.


The final stage of the word game is to maximize your word foresight. This involves two steps.

First, from your entire list of all words on all sticky notes, eliminate the not-so-useful words and identify the 25 most useful words.

For the second step, order your final keywords list so that each word bears relation to the word to the left and to the word to the right. That is, if you have word 1, word 2, and word 3 in that order; word 1 and word 2 should form a key phrase and word 2 and word 3 should form a key phrase. Thus, word 2 is pulling double duty!

For example, if John used “southern breakfast recipes” as the first three keywords for his breakfast section, he would be creating an economy of words. “Southern breakfast” standing alone is a useful phrase (i.e. one someone might search for it in the search engines). “Breakfast recipes” standing alone is also a useful phrase. Here we also have a triple economy because the three-word phrase “Southern breakfast recipes” is a useful phrase also. Thus, we have gotten three phrases out of just three words by ordering them property.

Word foresight is extremely important because of the way most search engines work. If someone types in more than one word in a search, the search engine will first look for Websites whose initial keywords exactly match that phrase. If someone types in “southern breakfast recipes,” John’s breakfast page will most likely show up at the top of the search engine results because all three words match–and in the same order. If someone types the search phrase “southern breakfast,” there will be a two-word match with John’s first two keywords. This will also place John’s page at the top of the results. If someone types the search phrase “breakfast recipes,” there will be a two-word match for John’s second and third keywords–still close enough to warrant a prominent place in the search results. Whenever two or more words in a search query match the order of your initial keywords, you fall much higher in the results than if the keywords matched but were not in the same order–and much better than if only a single keyword matched.

It is permissible to repeat two or three of your most important keywords in order to maximum the number of phrases in your keyword list. Thus, the words “southern,” “breakfast,” and “recipes” could be used again later on in the keyword list if necessary to create an important key phrase with other keywords. For example, “breakfast” could be used again prior to the word “menu.” Just do not use the same word more than five or six times in your keyword list on any particular page or you might appear to be “spamming” the search engines.


After creating a starter list of keywords from an analysis of your target market (as we did in the last lesson), you then need to convert your starter list into the root words. It is useful to use sticky notes for your root words and type in all the derivatives and synonyms that you discover for each root word. Then, you can lay your sticky notes out in different orders to find the key phrases that appear most effective. Shorten your final list of keywords down to 25 of the most important ones (for each section or page), and then order those words to create as many possible useful key phrases as possible.


In our next lesson, we will test our final keyword list against actual search engine statistics and make the final refinements.

Starting Your First Web Project, Part 4

Optimized with PageSpeed Ninja