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March 4, 2008

7 simple steps to Keyword Mastery & Search Engine Ranking

Keyword Research has become an integral part of starting up your own business or growing your business (exponentially). Search engine marketing is here to stay for the long term, hence finding customers through keyword research should also be an integral part of your marketing.

Earlier, all you needed to do was to enter the description of your business in the title & meta tags and you were done with optimizing your web-site. Things have changed! And hence this article…

How does Search Engine Optimization (SEO) relate to keywords?

SEO is the process of increasing the number of visitors to your web-page by the careful and deliberate use of targeted keywords and their specific placements designed to get the page to show up on the top listing for such keywords. (SEO also includes other strategies not discussed here.)

TIP: Keyword Research is very useful to you when you decide to start a pay-per-click campaign to drive visitors to your website or increase revenue using adsense.

Here are the seven simple steps to keyword mastery that will cause your page to be indexed correctly by Search Engines and your link to be displayed at the very top on the search results page.

Step 1) Start with the most common words you use to describe your business(or your niche, if you operate in one). If you are in the automobile service business, you may have the following: Car Repair , Body Shop, Car Repair, New tires with car repair, Wax and Shine etc. If you actually have a niche business such as Jaguar Service And Repairs, then it becomes even more easier.

Step 2) Call your friend. Ask him how he would try to find your widget on a search engine if he lost your phone number and he wanted to look you up on the Internet. What if he forgot the name of your establishment? What if ….

Your perception of how people see you may be different from your customers’ perception of you. Add these new words to the list.

Repeat this as many times as you can with different people.

Step 3) Find other words related to your original list. such as names of the brands. Lexus Repair, Lexus spare-parts, Honda kit, etc.

Mix and match keywords with your original list to find even more keywords.

Step 4) Go to google and run a search for your widget. See what keywords bring up your competition and what words do not. Add them to your list .

Step 5) Add plurals and common misspellings too.

Step 6) Figure out as to how often people search using each of the phrases you have identified in your list. You can use the google adwords tool for this purpose.

TIP: Use adwords tool to see how many people have searched for each of your phrases in the recent past. https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal . This also suggest keywords you might want to use.

Step 7) Make sure your keywords are placed in the following locations on you web page: Page Title, Meta Keywords, Meta Description, Header Tags, Alternate Description for images, First Paragraph on the page, strong Tags, Em tags, Ordered and unordered lists, Anchor Tags, File names, Folder Names, Footer Tags, Any URLs and links in your pages.

Should I use many keywords in the same page?

Yes. Use as many keywords as it makes sense. Don’t overdo it. If your content becomes just a keyword trash-bin, users will start skipping over it and the search engines will catch on pretty fast. So avoid using too many keywords where it does not make sense. It’s best if you have multiple pages offering up different keywords.

One caveat. You need to be aware of ‘Keyword density’. Sometimes, if your usage of keywords is too high, and it looks like you have placed too many keywords, the search engine may not give you the best ranking. “Sprinkling” is the key-word when it comes to using them on each page.

You should also be aware of negative keywords. These are keywords you need to use in your PPC(Pay-per-Click) text so as to make sure that people do not click your link expecting to get freebies.

e.g. If you said : “Self Clearning Widgets- $500 and up”, you keep out the people who are looking for cheaper stuff.

Are phrases better than individual words?

Depends! If your customer is searching for self-cleaning widget, then you should use self-cleaning widget. If your customer is searching for just widget, and auto clean, you should use these words separately.

How often do I have to check my keywords?

As often as you can. Your customers react to various influences around them and search for different terms at different times. To be able to remain on top with a good ranking you need to keep on top of your keywords. Sometimes they react to an offer made by a competition and start searching for similar offers.

I know. You are saying:”But I don’t have that much time to devote to just keyword research.” That brings us to the next question.

Do I have to do it all by myself?

I have had many websites in the past few years. In the beginning I did everything manually the old fashioned way.

Lately I’ve found a few tools that help make life easier for me, though you could do it all by yourselves if you had the time and the tenacity(which I sorely lack). I suggest you find yourselves a tool to do the work for you.

I use Keyword Elite now, though I’ve used WordTracker in the past.

Pick 1: Keyword Elite tool : If you really plan to take your business to the next level, this is a great tool. From generating your own keyword lists, to analyzing pay-per-click listings, to studying your competition, this one accomplishes quite a bit. This tool works with Google, Yahoo,MSN, Ask etc. It will save you tons of hours of wasted time and effort. Also, I like the fact that it is multi-threaded(lots of more power.)

WebSite: http://www.elitekeyword.net

Pick 2 : WordTracker: Offers a free, ‘lite’ version, as well as a paid version. Features include an online management system for different keyword projects, searching for often misspelled words, a system to calculate your best keywords, and much more. WebSite:Wordtracker.com/FreeWordtracker

Pick 3 : WebCEO :From a free version to a $389/- version this company has various options available. For small business owners, the $199/- version would be suitable.Go for the $389/- version if you have multiple web-sites running and your business model is solely online. Web Site: http://www.webceo.com/cgi-bin/go/clickthru.cgi?id=linkflow

What next ?

Use keyword research to identify the most likely phrases for your business.

Master keyword research just like I outlined in this article and create a massive list of targeted keywords.

Make a list of the 5 most promising keyword phrases.

Head over to your favorite domain listing / hosting company (eg. www.GoDaddy.com) and see if you can buy that phrase in the .com domain.eg. Self-cleaning-Widgets.com

Point your existing website to this url. If you don’t have an existing web-site, create your new website using all the keywords you identified.

Submit your site to the search engines.

Author:  Dave James is a marketer/consultant with nearly 13 years of sales and marketing experience. Get your marketing questions/doubts answered free at his website.
http://www.nobleriver.com

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