The Tools of the TradeWritten by Sumantra Roy
Before you start optimizing your site for search engines, you would need to arm yourself with some tools to help you. What follows is a brief review of 4 software programs that we find invaluable when we are optimizing our clients' sites.
Wordtracker: The first and most important step in any search engine positioning campaign is identifying keywords for which you should optimize your site. WordTracker's keyword research service is only one on Internet that will provide a comprehensive and powerful database of most popular keywords in your industry. It has features that all other keyword research tools lack - for instance, it will help you identify related keywords that you would otherwise never have thought of, it differentiates between singular and plural keywords and tells you which version is more popular, it helps you identify popular mis-spelled keywords (which generally have very little competition) in your industry etc. It has a free trial version which will help you identify a few keywords. However, we recommend that you subscribe to its paid service as otherwise, you will not be able to discover quite a few keywords that can turn out to be extremely valuable to you. You can find more information on WordTracker at http://the-easy-way.com/wordtracker.html
Optilink: Link popularity has quickly become one of most important factors that influence your rankings in search engines. What is important is not only number of sites linking to you, but quality and relevancy of sites that are linking to you. If you are trying to improve link popularity of your site, until now, there has been no easy way of checking quality and relevancy of sites that are linking to you or quality and relevancy of sites that you are thinking of asking for links from. You could have done it manually, but it would take a tremendous amount of time. However, a new software product called Optilink automates this process to a large extent. In addition to doing an excellent job in helping you determine quality of sites that already link to you or might link to you, it also does following:
i) analyzes link structures of your top ranking competitors and tells you why they rank well, so that you can emulate same tactics that your top ranking competitors are using.
ii) allows you to do "what if" analysis - it tells you what sort of rankings you can expect if you adopt a particular linking strategy.
iii) monitor sites that you have exchanged links with to ensure that they are still linking to you and are linking to you way you want them to.
What is your real goal: web positioning with top results or the ability to attract more qualified traffic to your website?Written by Fernando Macia
If placing your website within top search engine results, entering certain keywords in Google, Yahoo, MSN Search, or Alta Vista, has become your daily obsession, stop for a moment and reflect. Is achieving top search results with selected keywords real objective, or, is it perhaps developing a means for connecting with your potential customers, thus attracting more qualified traffic to your web site, what you are truly after? Besides, what are chances that your prospective clients will key in, exactly, those keywords that you chose in, precisely, those same search engines that you have targeted to locate your website within first page of results?
Now that majority of website administrators have finally accepted that online marketing applying search engine technology is most efficient strategy in long term for capturing qualified Internet traffic, companies that offer web optimization and search engine submission services have started launching aggressive campaigns guaranteeing top positions for their clients by using a limited number of keywords (typically five, ten, or fifteen), regardless of their websites’ business domain. This approach should immediately raise doubts as it is obviously much easier to position a website dedicated, for example, to dissection of butterflies, that probably enjoys very little competition, than positioning a website dedicated to real estate operating in an extremely crowded market. Therefore, one must always carefully weigh in promises made by these web-positioning firms since two different scenarios could occur:
- In order to achieve promised top search results, a web-positioning company may be forced to choose keywords that are so exclusive and specific that even if your website surfaces among first few spots, chances of a prospective client typing those exact keywords is extremely remote. - On other hand, a client may demand from web-positioning company utilization of keywords that are so generic and belong to such a highly competitive business domain that web-positioning company is unable to realize their promises even after applying all proper techniques correctly.
This raises question of whether mechanisms currently employed for determining success or failure of a web positioning strategy are adequate, or, perhaps, better alternatives exist. In most cases, web-positioning companies justify their success by providing periodic web positioning reports to their clients. These automatically generated reports show positions achieved by each of selected keywords with every search engine targeted. Software programs repeatedly launch queries once a week, or once a month, with each of search concepts using all search engines selected, capturing results and presenting them in weekly or monthly reports. The customers review these reports and apply their information as only basis for determining level of success, which brings us back to original question: Is achieving a good positioning real objective, or is it using web positioning as just another means for obtaining more qualified traffic intended goal?
From my perspective, attracting qualified Internet traffic should be ultimate goal of any online marketing strategy, from web positioning to online advertising, including email strategies, permission marketing, or pay-per-click campaigns. That is why marketing professionals should be using web traffic reports as true indicators of their online marketing success, as opposed to relying solely on information provided by web positioning reports. Even though these latter reports can offer a good indication of where a website would appear if certain keywords were used in a search engine, cornerstone for determining how well a website is actually performing comes from analyzing real-time statistics provided by web traffic reports. Let’s analyze next some of reasons that make these reports such an invaluable asset.