Understanding the Site concept, Tier 1, and Seed Words
There is quite a lot of confusion regarding the site concept, seed words, Tier 1, Tier 2, what the right demand and supply is, and other related keyword research topics.
I’ve shared my ideas in the SBI forums not long ago about keyword research and did my best to simplify things, but that thread is now on page 11 and I am still getting questions. 😉
All of these, of course, are well explained in the SBI Action Guide (if you are an SBI user), but perhaps you need a different perspective to understand them. So let’s tackle these terms and ideas one by one…
1. What is a Site Concept?
A Site Concept is an idea. It can exist only in your head.
a) The Site Concept of my tennis website is the mental game of tennis, which I am trying to convey to visitors with the domain name – tennismindgame.com. The key is that a visitor will »get it« immediately – what your site subject matter is – just by seeing your domain name.
Tennis mind (the part of the domain name) is NOT a site concept, it’s just a keyword. 😉 It’s a keyword that tries to tell you what the whole site concept is.
I’ve later expanded my site to include tennis instruction, talking more about technique, and tennis strategy, which talks about strategy and tactics. Both of these concepts are NOT a part of the mental game of tennis, but so what?
This has nothing to do with the rankings and traffic of my articles. Tennis strategy and tennis instruction are still tightly related to the mental game of tennis and, of course, all of these cover tennis. If I were to start writing about golf strategy or baseball technique, then these articles would probably not rank so well. (Although I have no proof. Maybe they would. 😉 )
b) The Site Concept of my vacuum site is vacuum cleaner reviews. The site will cover reviews and I am trying to convey this idea in the domain name which includes a keyword vacuum (but not cleaner).
(Note; my site concept is NOT »vacuum cleaner«. That’s just a product or an idea.)
I could, for example, create a site that talks about vacuum cleaner technology and dissects all the little things going inside a home or industrial vac. Or I could talk about the history of vacuums. These are different site concepts.
The only keyword used in the domain is vacuum, which is not even the full keyword – vacuum cleaner. So what? The domain name has very little to do with your rankings, unless you target an exact keyword (for example vacuumcleanerreviews.com – which is taken by the way).
However, these domains look spammy to me and probably do to many other webmasters. Consequently, in most cases, I do not choose a keyword-based domain unless I feel it’s a tough keyword to win.
(Again, I can see the future questions: How do you know whether the keyword is easy or tough to win? ;). Ok, as a rule of the thumb, if the top 5 sites in Google for this search have an average pagerank (PR) of 3 or lower, then you can easily get there. If the average PR is 4 or higher, then you may want to attack them with the domain name that includes that keyword.)
In conclusion, the Site Concept is an idea of what your site subject matter will be. Of course, I suggest that you use only one or a maximum of 2 keywords in your domain name, and your goal is to convey this site concept to visitors when they see your site in the Google search results page.
What keyword should you use in your domain name to explain your site concept?
A keyword that clearly shows the concept of the site and that possibly has some demand and for which you have some chances of obtaining a ranking. Tennis mind doesn’t have much demand and not much competition, so I rank #1 for it.
Vacuum (in the domain name) has lots of demand and too much competition and I won’t rank for it (and I don’t really need to), but I chose the domain name for the reasons of coolness of the name. I also researched beforehand and found that I can rank well in Google for the keyword search »vacuum cleaner reviews«, even if I don’t have the exact keyword in the domain name.
2) What is a seed word?
a) A seed word on my tennis site is, of course, tennis. It’s NOT tennis mind. As you just learned, that’s just one keyword that tries to explain to the visitors the topic of my site.
In order to find more keywords for which I will write articles, I need to brainstorm much more BROADLY, so I need a SEED WORD that will give me many more keywords.
So – tennis is my seed word.
This seed word gives me lots of keywords from which to choose and now I can »cherry pick« the keywords that fit my SITE CONCEPT!
I first wanted to write only about the mental game of tennis, so I chose tennis psychology, mental tennis, and tennis mind, among others. Later, I expanded the idea to get more traffic and added tennis instruction, tennis tips, how to play tennis, and others.
My site concept is not about tennis equipment or racquet reviews, so I didn’t use these keywords.
I also brainstormed just »vacuum« and got a few more good keywords, but my general seed word was »vacuum cleaner«. Based on it, I got a list of useful keywords, which I then arranged into main pages and related articles.
3. What is a Tier 1 keyword?
A Tier 1 keyword is the keyword around which you want to optimize your Tier 1, or homepage. This is my definition, though.
The SBI Action Guide tells you that »Tier 1 focuses on your Site Concept word (ex., “Anguilla”).«
The problem with this definition is that you will most likely never rank with such a broad keyword. Therefore, you are wasting the power of your homepage, which will have (or has) the highest pagerank with the most incoming links!
So – here’s how I do it:
I choose 3 to 5 keywords which I have already chosen for my Tier 2 pages and try to squeeze them into the title (and headline) of my homepage.
The T2 keywords are those with very good demand and not so high supply, so that you can rank in the top 10 in Google, right? It’s even easier to rank for these keywords if your homepage is optimized for them! Why? Again, because the homepage is »stronger«; it has higher pagerank and more incoming links!
a) In case of my tennis site, my main T2 keywords are tennis tips, tennis psychology, tennis instructions, and tennis strategy. Check the title of my site www.tennismindgame.com and see how I used all of these keywords in the title. Of course, I didn’t use the main seed word tennis every time because that might »upset« Google. 😉
Use it at most 2 times in the title and in the headline.
Do a Google search for each of these keywords and you’ll find that I now have 2! listings in the top 10, which brings me much more traffic! The homepage may rank higher or lower compared to the T2 page, depending on how well it’s optimized and how many incoming links with that anchor text it receives.
b) In the case of my vacuum site, I chose vacuum cleaner reviews, vacuum cleaner ratings, and best vacuum cleaners (these are all of my T2 pages) and used them in some logical way in my title.
Note that when you optimize your homepage for a longer keyword, like best vacuum cleaners, you AUTOMATICALLY include your main seed word vacuum cleaner(s). The page is then AUTOMATICALLY optimized for this keyword too, in case you later get more links and more pagerank and eventually start ranking well for this broad keyword too!
Let’s make a quick summary of both of these examples:
– Site concept: mental game of tennis
– Domain name: tennismindgame.com – the tennis mind part tells you the site subject matter
– Seed word: tennis – from which I then cherry pick keywords that fit my site concept
– T1 keyword(s) – tennis mind, tennis tips, tennis strategy, tennis instruction, tennis psychology
– Site concept: vacuum cleaner reviews
– Domain name: vacuum______.com – which suggests expertise on the topic of vacuums
– Seed word: vacuum cleaner – from which I choose keywords with good demand and not too high supply
– T1 keyword(s) – vacuum cleaner reviews, vacuum cleaner ratings, best vacuum cleaners
For your homework 😉 , go to Sitesell Results page and pick 5 to 10 websites that have very good rankings (Alexa close to 100,000 or even lower).
Now try to figure out what their Site concept is, whether you can see that from the domain name, what seed word they used (or maybe even more), what their T1 keywords are, and whether they have 2 listings in Google for that search phrase.
Once you »get it«, apply this knowledge to your site!
One last tip: To help your homepage to rank well for all of those T1 keywords (which are the same as some of your T2 keywords), get links to your homepage that include those keywords in the anchor text. You can do that with external and internal links.