Towards the end of September I kept seeing the phrase "Halloween Costumes" shoot up the popularity index like a rocket. I decided to do a little experiment.

I did my homework on the keyword phrases that were related to Halloween Costumes and found that CHILDRENS HALLOWEEN COSTUMES and ADULT HALLOWEEN COSTUMES were popular sub-phrases, and had little to no competition in the directory. has recently changed. First, they changed the way Yahoo returns search results, and then they added GOTO/Overture listings so this exact method won't be as effective next year.

Simply put, I found out what people were looking for, and then I positioned my site to come up for the best results for those searches, and then I sent the traffic to a retailer who had exactly what those folks were looking for and I got an 8% commission for sending that traffic.

That single Yahoo! listing generated a commission of $2,188.77 for 616 orders that were from 96,861 hits. These all came from a SINGLE Yahoo! listing.

The MOST IMPORTANT THING about Internet Marketing is knowing the most popular search terms buyers use to find what you sell! These are your Top 20 KEYWORD PHRASES.

Once you know what exact KEYWORD PHRASES your customers are looking for, you can do everything you can to make your site come up as high as possible in the search results for those specific words and phrases in the directories, search engines, and pay-per-click results. You can also track these results and compare how well you rank with your traffic and sales.

Once you know what exact KEYWORD PHRASES folks are looking for, you don't have to worry about every single word that would apply.

    One of my clients is #1 on Google for her #1 keyword phrase, a brand name of a particular girls' toy. She was a little concerned when she wasn't on the first page of search results for the phrase "LIMITED EDITION ___," and she gave me a holler.

    We did a quick check and the GOTO/Overture tool said: No suggestions for "limited edition ." My other database also said: "Sorry! No results returned from database!

    No one was looking for this particular keyword phrase, so it didn't matter! The main thing is to be highly ranked for words that count and to ignore the ones that don't!

"So, How do I find out what my Top 20 KEYWORD PHRASES are?"

There are two place to look to find your TOP 20 KEYWORD PHRASES : Inside & Outside.

Look Inside - Look at your log files / references to see what phrases are already drawing traffic. These phrases are already working for you. Yahoo! Store owners should look at MANAGER > References > Details to see what the top KEYWORD PHRASES are in your existing Yahoo! Store.

You can rank these by sales, orders, and traffic. Usually your top ten sources of traffic are the best to look at. You can get a pretty good idea of your better words in about 15 minutes, but I usually spend up to four or five hours to consolidate all of the data.

Look Outside. Use whatever internet resources you can to find ALL relevant keyword phrases. This includes keyword databases, search engine "related results," related sites' meta tags & keywords, competitors' pay-per-click lists, industry-related sites, glossaries, manufacturer sites with brand and product names, synonym generators, and anything else you can think of using.

This new list will probably include your existing keyword phrases, and you will be able to see what words and phrases you might be missing and see where your current TOP 20 KEYWORD PHRASES rank in and around the other words...

In the old days (1997), it was hard to find out what people were looking for on the internet. There was one public list of most searched terms on Yahoo!, and half of those were for porn. Now there are a lot more resources to find out exactly WHAT people are looking for. The best free, public example is the GOTO / OVERTURE search suggestion tool (Ask me about this or look at my links page at We have access to many more, and we've learned a lot about how to put your site in front of this traffic to sell them stuff.

"Okay, then how do I get more traffic, NOW?"

Hire me! I'll show you. You buy a day of my time spread out over a week or so. You get access to my 5+ years of internet marketing experience as well as 15 years worth of "bricks and mortar" retailing and marketing experience. You also get a proven road map to building your site's traffic, and a list of elements you can use to jump-start your traffic.

I'm in the process of creating an expanded version of my marketing plan for independent retailers using the Yahoo! Store platform. Call me at 800-332-7601.

Rob Snell