What is a Relekey?

Search Happenings
February 13, 2009
Search Happenings
February 20, 2009

What is a Relekey?

Posted by JC Longbottom, Associate Product Marketing Manager

On our constant quest to determine relevant keywords we realized a deep need. There was no word to describe keywords that are a cornerstone of optimization. These words are often inadequately labeled as relevant keywords or target keywords. These force fitted names, while descriptive, lack the uniqueness these terms deserve. And thus the Relekey was born:

Relekey [Rel-uh-kee] noun

1.        A keyword that a Web site’s qualified customer uses to find that site on a search engine.

2.        A keyword likely to drive conversions, not just click volume.

Relekeys are essential for natural search optimization as increasingly personalized search results have positioned relevancy as king and volume’s fiefdom dwindles. More than ever, the ability to engage qualified consumers rests on ability to very precisely match what a specific person is looking for.  Keyword research strategies need to be focused on relevancy and conversions, not just traffic. The ideal keywords balance effective content optimization with specific consumer needs.

The etymology of relekey is complex. Sophisticated linguistic analysis may lead you to deduce that relekey is drawn from the combination of relevance and keyword.  You would be correct. Relekey is indeed a combination of those two fundamental search marketing terms.

However, relekey’s etymological legacy extends to the words it sprung from. The oldest is the “wurdan,” presumed to be an old English word for “to speak,” it developed over time to become “word.” The origin of “key” is uncertain. It is possibly an evolution Germanic words that meant “to spear” or “to cleave,” or it may stem from an older Germanic term that meant “that which serves to open or explain.” Relevance comes from the Latin word “relevare” which means “to lift up” or “to raise.”

These etymological ancestors of this word do a great service to the importance of relekeys. A relekey slices through common terms to match the declared need of a searcher.  It then lifts a search result out of obscurity to put it directly in front of a searcher that is looking for it. Both in root and in definition the relekey describes a vital component of successful optimization.

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