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Use Search Engine Modifiers to Boost Your Rankings

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Kim Roach photo Searching is the second most popular online activity, right behind email. Because of this, search engine optimization should be at the top of every web owner's marketing list.

To begin, you must start with the right keywords. Keyphrase selection is the single most important step in a search engine optimization campaign. You should choose your keywords before you write a single word of web copy.

Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of optimizing for very general keywords like "used cars" or "internet marketing". Although these terms get lots of traffíc, it is very unlikely that you will be able to rank highly for them. Then, even if you do, this type of traffíc produces very low conversion rates because they are not targeted prospects.

It is much more effective to target the low-hanging fruit. Who do you think is more likely to buy: someone who goes to Google and searches for "ipod" or someone who searches for "4gb black ipod nano"? Obviously, the person who searches for a more specific phrase is much closer to making a buying decision. The additional keywords (4gb, black, and nano) are called modifiers.

By adding a few modifiers to competitive keywords, you can uncover a long list of powerful keyword phrases for which high rankings are attainable.

In order to find these types of lucrative keyword phrases, there are 4 search modifiers that you need to know about. They are geographic, descriptive, brands, and misspellings.


If your products or services are targeted to a geographic area, you will need to optimize your pages for those specific locations. For example, if you are a real estate agent in Atlanta, you would want to optimize your listings for cities and towns surrounding Atlanta. Serious buyers would not just type "real estate" into the search engines.

However, they may search for "atlanta real estate agents". In fact, according to WordTracker, that phrase is searched for 80 times per day. This phrase is extremely valuable because it attracts a much more targeted visitor.

If you are a consultant, broker, or agent, it is crucial that you optimize your web site for specific geographic areas.


You can also add descriptions to a keyword to attract targeted visitors. Let's say you have a site that sells backpacks. Although the keyword "backpacks" get thousands of searches per day, this is not the type of visitor that you want to attract. It would be much more beneficial for you to optimize for the following keyword phrases:

leather laptop backpacks
digital camera backpack
one strap backpack
small dog backpack

Each of these keyword phrases use adjectives to narrow in on specific searches. You can do the same thing with your own web site in order to bring in quality traffíc. As web masters, we want the kind of traffíc that converts to buyers, not just visitors looking for information.


Brand names are another very powerful modifier. Using the previous example of backpacks, lets find some lucrative keyword phrases that target brands. To find some different backpack brands, I went to a popular backpack web site.

They listed the following brands:

dana design

I then took these brands and plugged them into my favorite keyword tool to find some quality keyword phrases. Here's what I found:

camelbak commander
camelbak alterra
camelbak classic
dana design backpacks
dana design arcflex alpine pack
jansport rainier
jansport odyssey
kelty red cloud 5000

By plugging a number of backpack brands into WordTracker, I was able to find very targeted brand models. These keyword phrases are the kind that will produce a higher conversion to buyers.

Whenever you are optimizing for brands, keep in mind that keyword tools don't always give you a full picture. New brands that have just been released will not show up in WordTracker or any other keyword tool. The ipod is a perfect example. When it was first released, the ipod wouldn't even register in the keyword tools. However, it was one of the hottest product releases of the year. Sometimes, you simply have to keep up with the trends. Just take a look at a few industry magazines and you will quickly find some untapped opportunities.


The last modifier that you should consider are misspellings. Well, I guess it's not really a modifier, per se, but they can definitely bring in an extra stream of traffíc to your web site. Google has estimated that 10% of all searches made on Google are mistyped or misspelled.

You can take advantage of these common mistakes by making a few simple changes to your web site.

Here is a step-by-step guide that you can use to start gaining extra traffíc from misspellings:

1. Put common misspellings into the meta keyword description tag.

2. Place common misspellings at the end of your title tag. This step is extremely important for ranking for misspellings.

3. Create a box on the web page for common misspellings. Keep in mind that you can often still rank for misspellings without doing this step, but it may give you some extra push.

To find typos for your keywords, go to

Now that you know about the 4 main types of modifiers, I urge you to start optimizing your pages for high-quality traffíc. By targeting long keyword phrases, you can tap into some extremely profitable traffíc. Keep in mind that this is not just for organic seo. These methods are also very effective when used for pay-per-click campaigns.

Adding the right search modifiers will significantly increase your chances of success in the search engine wars.


Kim Roach is a staff writer and editor for the SiteProNews and SEO-News newsletters. You can contact Kim at:

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