Frequently asked questions
Video demonstration of how to use this site
(1.04 MB Shockwave Flash Movie)
Note: The entire video must download before you can view it. Depending on the speed of your Internet connection, this could take several seconds to a few minutes. The video will open in a new window, so you can simply close that window after watching the movie. Popcorn not included.
To view an answer that is not yet open, click the box containing the question. To see the entire answer for a few of the longer responses, you may need to scroll down. You can use the scroll bar on the right of each mini-window, but it's easier to use the scroll wheel on your mouse.
- Drag and drop word entry.
- Drag and drop keyword list rearrangement.
- Duplicate word/phrase detection and removal.
- Automatic removal of extra spaces and disallowed punctuation.
- Optional conversion of words from plural to singular.
- Optional wrapping of keyword list in meta tag code.
- Keyword and keyphrase analysis.
- Open two windows side-by-side with this site on the right side of your screen, and the source page on the left. (The source page is simply the page for which you're creating the keyword list.)
- Select a desired word in the source page by double clicking it. Select a phrase by clicking and dragging (to click and drag, put your mouse cursor at the beginning of the phrase you wish to select. Click the left mouse button and hold it down as you drag to the end of the phrase, and then release the mouse button.)
- Drag and drop the selected word or phrase from your source page into one of the two text input boxes on the home page of this site. Drag and drop means this: put your mouse cursor over the selected text. Now click the left mouse button and hold it down as you move (that is, drag) the text into the input box, and then release the mouse button. You can also add words by copying and pasting, or typing, them into a text input box.
- If you do not want to rearrange the keyword list, select that text and paste it into the head section of your page's HTML code. The following lines show how the keywords for my www.ER-doctor.com site are correctly placed in the keyword meta tag:
<meta name="keywords" content="ER, emergency room, medical school, become a doctor, emergency medicine, GPA, ER doctor, MCAT, ER residency, brainpower, intelligence, creativity, doctor, medical, hospital, college" />
This will be one line in the HTML source for your page, but it is too long to fit on one line here.
To illustrate this, I will copy the page source code from the top of my www.balancebraces.com site:
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1" />
<title>Balance Braces, Parentheses, Brackets, and Tags in Your Code</title>
<meta name="description" content="This utility allows you to visually check that your code's braces (a.k.a., curly braces), parentheses, brackets, and tags are balanced. It also makes it easy to see what braces open and close a given section of code." />
<meta name="keywords" content="balance braces, parentheses, brackets, curly braces, tags, computer code, nesting, programmer, code block, highlight, open, close, nested braces, balanced, string, braces, code, utility" />
<link href="bracescss.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />
Incidentally, this brings up another matter. Read the meta name="description" shaded bold just before the highlighted text following it. The content of that should summarize what the page is about. You must write the description of the content—sorry, no one yet has an automated tool to do that! The description should consist of one to two sentences, or 100 to 200 characters. A good description and keyword list can go a long way toward making your web site or blog appear higher up in search engine rankings.
Page titles are very important, too. Include keywords and keyphrases in your title, which should be a descriptive phrase of 30 to 80 characters like a succinct sentence, not a mere repetition of your keyword list. For example, the title for the home page of this site is "Create, rearrange, and analyze meta tag keyword lists."
Finally, include keywords and keyphrases in your alt tags because many search engines index them. The so-called alt tag isn't actually a tag by itself but rather part of the img tag that displays the alternate text associated with an image when a user's mouse hovers over the graphic, and while the image is loading. Alt tags should describe what the image is for or about.
People often wonder how they should write their title tags: for the audience first and the search engines second, or vice-versa? This is a good question because search engines display title tags (and sometimes descriptions, too). If you write in an "optimized for search engines" style, people browsing search results may think that you're an idiot and skip over your listing. On the other hand, if you write in an "optimized for people" style, your site may not appear high enough in the results for you to be recognized by your intended audience. A bit of a Catch-22, isn't it? However, it is possible to create titles that are great for both search engines and attracting site visitors. To do that, create a keyword list that you've rearranged in order of importance (that's step #2 in this site). Put those most important keywords and keyphrases—especially keyphrases!—into a short "written for a human" sentence that immediately conveys what your page is about.
Don't use hype, even if you think that raving about your product or service is justified. For example, a few years ago I stumbled upon a way for an adult man to increase his penis size. According to what I was taught in medical school, that is impossible. Indeed, it is for most men because they don't do a few things that can trigger what amounts to a "second puberty" of penile growth, which I discuss in The Science of Sex and Advanced Enlargement. I also discovered a way to lose weight without dieting, drugs, herbs, exercise, or surgery. That's another one of those "supposed to be impossible" things, right? It might seem to be impossible, but it isn't. It works because of a basic principle of physics. I obtained a perfect 4.0 in every college physics class I had, and I graduated in the top 1% of my class in medical school. I know both physics and medicine, and I am so confident that my idea works that years ago I offered $1,000,000 to anyone who could prove that it did not. I'll never have to write that check because my idea works, and its efficacy is both easy to demonstrate and understand. So, with those two breakthroughs and many others described in my books and web sites, I might have some justification for using hype. However, hype repels people like Off!® repels mosquitoes.
Yes, but you may wish to continue on to subsequent pages to access advanced features such as keyword analysis and wrapping of your keyword list in meta tag code. Furthermore, the final page includes an easier way to select your keyword list: just click the "Select All" button.
No. The words from your last keyword list should be automatically erased.
No. If the keywords are in the desired order, simply click the Submit button.
No. Any extra spaces (called white space) before or after your entry are automatically removed.
Yes, if it is a simple straight apostrophe ('), not a slanted one (´). If the apostrophe you entered isn't the correct type, it will be removed automatically, but you can manually add it later if desired.
Yes, if it is a true hyphen (-), not an em-dash (—) or en-dash (–), which look like elongated hyphens. (People often incorrectly use them interchangeably, even though they are not semantically equivalent.) Any disallowed punctuation will be removed automatically.
Remember, you are generating a keyword list, not writing a novel. Valid keywords and keyphrases may contain hyphens (such as high-tech), but most search engines are not sufficiently high-tech to differentiate high-tech from high tech. Google should put this on their "to do" list, because this is one of the many semantic differences that, once understood by search engines, will enable them to deliver better search results. For example, consider these two sentences:
- "I was captivated by her beauty and her high-energy personality."
- "High energy costs are forcing many Americans to reduce their discretionary spending."
In sentence #1, high-energy is an adjective meaning vigorous or dynamic. The meaning of high energy in sentence #2 is entirely different.
I've seen recommended lengths ranging from 63 (go figure!) to 1024 characters, including commas and spaces. Several sources advise a length of 300 to 500 characters, but I think that is too long for a typical web page. I'd limit your keyword list to 256 characters (or about 30 words). For most web pages, an accurate summary of their key topics wouldn't take more than half that, so 256 characters is a reasonable guideline as a working limit. Furthermore, more is not always better. If you go overboard and add too many keywords and keyphrases, you risk diluting the "keyword weight" of your meta tag.
Imagine if you were looking to purchase a tractor, and you passed by a store that sold tractors, plants, pet supplies, sporting goods, hardware, tools, car parts, gardening supplies, toys, clothing, electronics, appliances, and lumber. Another store sold only tractors and other lawn and garden equipment. Who would you trust to know about tractors and how to service them? The answer is obvious. The "jack-of-all-trades-and-master-of-none" store diluted its credibility as an authority on tractors by not specializing. Similarly, search engines are more likely to believe that you truly discuss everything mentioned in your keyword list if it is short, giving more relative weight to each of your main topics. Never omit ones that are central to your page content, but never include ones that are not. If you abide by this principle, staying under 256 characters should not be a problem.
Include only ones that are truly relevant to the content of that specific page. Do not try to trick search engines by including every possible word you can think of that is tangentially related to the subject matter. Furthermore, the keywords and keyphrases must appear on your page, or you risk being penalized by the search engines. By using this site to form your keyword list by dragging words and phrases from your page, you ensure that the keywords and keyphrases you enter are valid.
Think about it this way: Consider including "memory" as a keyword. How many pages does this appear in? About 300,000,000. Therefore, your chance of rising to the top of the search engine rankings simply by including that keyword is nil. (However, include it if it is relevant to your page content, because a small boost is better than none at all.)
Second, memory isn't a very specific word, like many other words. Are you discussing computer memory, a memory-foam mattress, battery memory, or what a brain does when it retains and recalls past experiences? If you are discussing the latter, is your topic about short-term memory? Long-term memory? Relational memory? (I discuss relational memory in my www.ER-doctor.com site because it is critically important to anyone who wishes to increase his or her IQ.) "Relational memory" is currently 15,000 times more specific on various search engines than "memory." Therefore, including "relational memory" will do far more for your ranking than including only "memory."
Search engines may penalize you for repeating a keyword or keyphrase, so we eliminate them automatically so you don't have to scan your list for duplicate entries. For example, imagine that you are creating your keyword list and it includes these words:
emergency room, ER doctor, trauma room, emergency department, emergency medical technician, ER physician, code blue, ER doc, full code, no code, emergency doc, emergency nurse, attending physician, head nurse, emergency physician, resident physician
As you continue to scan your page, you encounter the phrase emergency doctor. That is pertinent to your page, but did you include it yet? Hmmm, that's not very easy to determine without carefully scanning your keyword list because it includes many similar terms. This keyword list generation site knows what you've previously entered, so it won't let you add the same word or phrase again. However, it will permit you to include word or phrase variations, such as emergency doctors in addition to emergency doctor, because search engines can differentiate plural from singular words. You can also add an entry containing a previously used word as long as the overall entry is not the same. For example, if your list contains emergency, you can add emergency room. Or if your list contains emergency department, you can add emergency.
However, beware of repeating a word too many times, even if it is slightly different (e.g., plural instead of singular) or is incorporated into a keyphrase instead of being a standalone keyword. Several sources claim that search engines penalize your ranking if you repeat a word too many times. The safe thresholds they cite differ, typically ranging from 3 to 6. Go above that, and you risk being blacklisted. It is reportedly also a good idea not to place repeated keywords one after the other, such as ER doctor, doctor, doctors.
No. Focus or specialization is exactly what you need. If you try to attract a broader audience by not focusing, you risk being lost amongst millions of other web sites. For example, I just Googled the phase "ER doctor" and found that one of my pages was ranked #3 on their list, behind two of CNN's pages (given their size, they have a huge advantage over me). For years, my www.ERbook.net site has ranked #1 in a search for "emergency room stories." Thus, I succeeded in standing out from the crowd by focusing on specific topics, such as emergency medicine instead of medicine in general.
If you think about this (and I have!), you will realize the immense power and specificity of word concatenation, or joining individual words into a phrase or sentence. Coupled with the right technology, a sentence can be as unique as a fingerprint. Incidentally, I created a site (www.contactmefree.com) that allows you to contact people you've noticed on personals sites without the need to pay those sites or to create an account with them. That site is possible only because phrases are much more capable than words of being specific identifiers. When you create a web page, you want search engines—and ultimately your target audience—to specifically identify you. Keyphrases are the key to doing that.
The power of keyphrases has increased in recent years as people became far more likely to include more words in their search phrases. Why they did that should be obvious: a one-word search will turn up so much extraneous material that it borders on being useless, given the current number of web sites. A search for "food" will return pages about restaurants, chefs, cookbooks, recipe collections, coupons, weight loss, grocery stores, travel and tourism, farming, economic policy, allergies, food poisoning, and countless other topics.
Yes. While increasing length increases specificity (which is good), it also decreases the probability of anyone searching for that term. For example, a good keyphrase for my www.make-a-favicon.com site is "make a favicon," because such a search phrase might be entered by someone who wished to learn about favicons. (Incidentally, a favicon is the 16 by 16-pixel image located adjacent to the URL in the browser's address bar and tabs; see below for an example.) However, "make a favicon to increase brand recognition" is definitely too long and restrictive. In general, it is usually advisable to limit keyphrases to three words or less unless you think that people will truly enter a phrase of that length.
You might think that you can't get much image detail in a 16 x 16-pixel image, put I have a way to create favicons that effectively enhances their resolution.
In case you're wondering about the www.stop-burglars.com site: I developed a new way to deter burglars that is inexpensive, easy to use, and even more effective than elaborate security systems.
The keyphrase you entered had four or more words. As discussed above, keyphrases are more specific than keywords and hence can do more to attract viewers to your web site. Longer keyphrases increase specificity. That specificity is good if people search for the keyphrase you entered because a search engine is more likely to "pick you" for one of the top spots in that case. However, adding more words to make your phrase more specific can make it too specific and effectively eliminate you from consideration for people doing more general searches.
Here is a real-life example of how I handled this for one of my web sites that discusses the beautiful woman syndrome. I used beautiful woman syndrome as a keyphrase for it because it is much more specific than using just beautiful woman. Currently, Google has 1,670,000 listings for beautiful woman but only 23 for beautiful woman syndrome (by the way, my site is ranked #1). If someone searches for beautiful woman syndrome, he will definitely see my site. Realistically, if someone searches for beautiful woman, he most likely is not looking for a discussion of why many beautiful women behave the way they do. Conversely, people searching for beautiful woman syndrome don't want to see 99.99% of the more general beautiful woman sites. Therefore, search engines make an inference about what page you want to see based on matching the specificity of the search terms you entered and the specificity of the information on various sites, including the keywords and keyphrases in their keywords meta tag, title, description, and of course page text.
In today's world, with billions of web pages as your competitors, you must carve a niche for yourself by entering specific keyphrases, i.e., ones with more words, not necessarily more characters. Why? There is no correlation between the length of a word and how specific (i.e., how narrow or how broad) it is, but specificity definitely increases when words are concatenated or "strung together" to form a phrase or sentence. It is the addition of another word that makes a phrase more specific, not the number of characters in that word. While short words can be less specific than long words, they are just as likely to be more specific.
What can you do if you want to include a very specific keyphrase to help "carve a niche" for yourself, but you don't want to risk putting yourself out of the running by becoming too specific? Simple: just include both in your keyword list. In the above example, I could include beautiful woman syndrome and beautiful woman.
The four-word threshold may seem arbitrary, but it is based on an analysis of the specificity of search terms that people typically enter at the present time. Those terms are more specific than before (as discussed in an earlier topic), but they are often not as specific as they could be if search engines were more proficient in separating the wheat from the chaff without eliminating all of the wheat. When people perform searches that are too specific, they get the dreaded "Your search did not match any documents" error. Sooner or later, most people learn to reduce the specificity of their searches (so as to not strike out), and then sift through dozens or hundreds of pages searching for the information they're after.
Yes! Many blog sites and software encourage you to list keywords and keyphrases with every blog posting. A good keyword list will help increase your blog's visibility and readership.
No. Search engines are not case-sensitive.
No. It is free to use. There are no strings attached, no spyware, viruses, or other malicious code. Of course, I hope that you will read one of my books (this one is free). I have tips that any man or woman would love to know, and books of ER stories that have attracted the attention of celebrities, an Emmy-award-winning Hollywood producer, and countless readers worldwide. My health and sex books aren't the usual "put you to sleep" stuff. If you care about your brain, bod, mood, happiness, and how appealing you are to the opposite sex, you must read my books because I present information that you won't get from other authors. And I guarantee it!