TIP ONE: THE IMPORTANCE OF KEY WORDS
In world of marketing online, one topic comes up over and over with great frequency: site rankings. It can sometimes seem to be 'holy grail' in highly competitive world of online marketing, where search engines rule supreme. The reality is that unless you have deep pockets indeed, SEO optimization in long run will be more affordable than simply buying placement with click campaigns and advertisements.
This is good news. The bad news is that process is slow, and it can take months (and months and months) of dedicated effort to achieve decent rankings (one reason you donít want to abandon those paid campaigns while optimizing your site). But it is well worth time and effort in long run, since it addresses one issue that is foremost when marketing your product and services online: people use search engines such as Google and MSN to do their looking. And search engine listings that are highly ranked consistently outperform 'paid listings'.
So how do you get your site listed and ranked highly? Does it take dedicating your life fulltime to this effort, or specialized knowledge? The answer is "yes" and "no". It can help tremendously to hire assistance of a firm that specializes in SEO (and, in fact, this is highly recommended). They can give you professional guidance in this arena, and steer you away from common mistakes.
But for those with a limited budget (which is most of us, nowadays, it seems) itís also possible to do your own site optimization, and work on a long-term campaign to help your site rise. It isnít easy (unlike those ads and books online that promise overnight success with no effort), but by rolling up your shirtsleeves and diving in, you can learn a tremendous amount, and help your site get found when people type in your products into a search engine.
TIP TWO: SELECT YOUR KEYWORDS CAREFULLY
Search engine keywords are what lead people (as in potential customers) who type in phrases in their favorite search engine to your site. When they go onto Google, Excite, or other search engines and directories, and are looking for a specific item, keywords are ones that they type in during their search.
To market effectively to them, you will need to think like them (this is basis of all excellent marketing). You will want to determine:
What phrases people type in when looking for your product, service, or content during their online searches (including most common
misspellings, by way). Not sure? Try looking at your web stats for your site. You should see an extremely valuable area called "search strings", with a list of words underneath it.
These search strings are phrases that actually brought people to your web site. Which ones were most popular? Youíll want to note these. But youíll want to add more.
Sit down for a minute, and think of every possible phrase people might use for searching for your product. At this point, donít edit yourself, just let words flow and write them down. If you sell used Chevrolets in Alexandria, VA, you might come up with "used cars, used Chevrolets, vintage cars, reconditioned cars, Chevrolet dealers, Alexandria VA car dealers, Alexandria VA used cars", as just a start.
By now, you should have a list. Go through it again, and decide which ones seem most focused for your product or service. You want search engine keywords that will bring targeted customers to your site, who are interested in doing business with you, and right keywords can help accomplish this. Be specific and relevant in your choices. Then, alphabetize your list, since some search engines and directories list pages alphabetically; so use your best phrases in alphabetical order whenever possible for better optimization.
Next, analyze which keyword phrases are realistic for obtaining high rankings. While you may sell used autos, and want to get top rankings for that term, Ďused autosí is an extremely popular and general phrase, and odds are, difficult to get good rankings for. But if you sell used Chevrolets in Alexandria, Virginia, then itís realistic to hope for high rankings for search engine phrases for ĎAlexandria used Chevroletsí. Youíll also get a more targeted audience (think Ďmore likely to buy from meí), since most of your customers will probably come from your locale).