Top 5 Search Engine Marketing
Tip #1: Target the Right Keywords
For those of you new to search engine marketing, a "keyword" is simply
a word or phrase that people would put into a search engine to find your
You might think that choosing the right keywords to target should be a
no-brainer. However, you'd be surprised at how many people jump in,
optimize their Web site, and achieve top rankings. They then cry out in
dismay when their hit counter registers no more visitors than it did
before they went to all the work to tune up their site.
What happened? They failed to choose keywords that people were actually
looking for. Therefore, we recommend:
A. Brainstorm a list of keywords and phrases that apply to your Web
site's products and services. Try to place yourself in the shoes of the
Web searcher. Avoid generalities like "web site." Yes, you may sell a
product for web sites, but who is going to search for "web site" when they
are looking for web site maintenance or promotion?
B. Take advantage of excellent services like
tell you which keywords are popular, but still not so competitive as
to make a top ranking next to impossible. There's a fine line
between targeting keywords that are TOO general or competitive
versus keyword phrases that are so specific that few people ever
think to search for it.
handles both with ease.
In addition, it will do much of the brainstorming for you by
taking just a couple of keywords and producing a broad list of
related words and phrases from which to choose. Again, please don't make
the mistake of picking the wrong keywords. Nothing is more disappointing
than taking the time to achieve top rankings and then seeing no increase
in traffic from all your efforts.
Also, don't pick keywords that are too popular or broad like "games" or
"entertainment." You'll not only get visitors that are far less likely to
buy your product, but the amount of work needed to gain that ranking will
not be worth the trouble. You'll then join the ranks of misinformed
critics screaming "search engine optimization doesn't work - don't waste
your time!" SE Optimization works and works well, IF you take the time to
do it right.
There are some good tools that are available on the Internet for doing
keyword research for your particular search engine optimization purposes.
Yahoo Search Marketing is an excellent tool that is available for free;
you can use this particular search engine optimization tool here:
To get started, simply go to the white box near the middle of the page and
enter a keyword or keyword phrase to see how many searches were done
on that keyword within the last month. Not only will you receive the
number of searches for that particular search term but also all of the
Simply by paying attention to the number of searches done on a
particular term you can get a pretty good idea of what kind of competition
exists for each term. It is (generally) a good idea to target keywords, or
keyword phrases, that show fewer than 50,000 searches.
Another excellent tool for doing keyword research is available at
Wordtracker is also free (limited use) but is probably one of the best
keyword analysis tools available on the Internet.
A great service is provided by the folks at
. They catalogue search activity at the major engines, and then make
available those numbers to the general public. You simply type in a word
or phrase related to your site's theme, and Wordtrackers shows you the
number of times that entry is being searched at the major search engines.
The service will also give you a list of related terms, so you can look
for other important search words to target. If you are serious
about search engine optimization you will want to check out
Review the two tools I recommend to help with your job:
* Yahoo Search Marketing's Keyword Selector Tool
http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion ) is
a good place to start your investigation. You just type in a word or term
you think people in your market might search for, and the Keyword Selector
Tool will tell you how many people searched for that particular term in
Yahoo Search Marketing over the last month.
It will also show you a list of related words and phrases, and tell you
how many times people typed those terms into the free search engines over
the last month.
This is a great way to find out how many people may be searching for
information to solve a particular problem, and give you a picture of the
demand for your product on the Web. But best of all, it gives you tons of
ideas for keywords that you might never have thought of.
Once you've generated a list of useful keyword ideas, you're ready to dig
in and do some serious research with Wordtracker.
* Wordtracker (
http://www.wordtrackers.com ) goes into more depth to show you not
only what people are searching for online, but also how many other web
sites are competing for the same audience.
Basically, it keeps a record of how many times a particular keyword or
phrase was searched during the past 90 days across the Web.
When you enter the keyword phrases your market is searching for, you
search the Wordtracker database of over 330 million searches (or
You're looking for search terms that are popular, but don't have too many
sites competing for them.
You can also pop all of this detailed information into useful reports that
help you determine which keywords and phrases will bring you the most
Be sure to check out Wordtracker and get a head of your competition!
Wordtracker is a paid service, but you can sign up for a short time. It's a great investment.
Back to Top
Tip #2: Proper Submission to the Major Directories is Critical
One of the most significant changes in search engine marketing in
recent years has been the rise in popularity of human reviewed directories
and catalogs like LookSmart, Yahoo, and Open Directory. Some search
engines prominently display directory listings for many popular searches.
MSN is a prime example. Do a search on MSN and you'll generally find the
first page of results dominated by LookSmart directory listings. Some of
the other major engines also list directory results prominently, or at
least emphasize them in various ways. You can recognize directory listings
since they are often called "Web Site results" rather than "Web Page
Once you submit to a directory, it's difficult to go back and correct
mistakes later. Some of them like Yahoo and LookSmart charge you as much
as $200 for the privilege of simply being reviewed for inclusion.
Therefore, it's of utmost importance to get it
right the first time.
There are many strategies for achieving great visibility with the
directories. Some of them involve keyword placement and some involve human
psychology. Read all the information you can about submitting to each
directory BEFORE you submit. Even if you've submitted already and ranked
poorly, you should find some strategies to help you reverse the damage.
Back to Top
Tip #3: Optimize your Page Content
There are countless tips for optimizing your page's content so that it
will be more "relevant" to a given search. Each engine ranks pages
differently, so most tips are not universal.
However, there is one tip that overrides them all: Create pages that
emulate the "statistics" of pages that already rank at or near the top of
the search results. These statistics include:
a) Frequency of the keywords on the page.
Tip: This does not mean more keywords are better. Instead, emulate the
same number of keywords of top ranking pages as closely as possible. Be
careful not to base your entire strategy on the statistics of a single top
ranking page. The content of a top ranking page could have easily changed
since it was last indexed. Therefore, every page ranking in the top 10 may
not always represent exactly what the engine is currently looking for
today. Using averages is one way to combat this problem.
b) Total words on the page.
Tip: Mimic the approximate number of words of a top ranking page on
your own page.
c) Weight of the keywords on the page. (i.e. frequency divided
by the total words)
Tip: Too high a weight is just as bad a too low a weight.
d) Location of the keywords on the page. (i.e., title, heading,
Tip: A keyword is given more relevance by an engine when the keyword
appears in the engine's "preferred" areas.
Tip: Generally, the closer to the front of the area you can place the
keyword, the better.
Tip: The closer that the words of a phrase appear together, the better.
g) Off-page criteria. (i.e., link popularity, click through
Tip: Even when you've done everything else right, don't forget the
off-page factors! Back to Top
Tip #4: Increase your Link Popularity
This "off-page" statistic has grown in importance in the last year,
becoming a significant factor at many engines. You must have at least one
or more links from other domains in order to be indexed by some engines.
In addition, if you don't have a high enough link popularity, you'll never
achieve top rankings on many keywords. Therefore, make link popularity a
high priority in your Web marketing plan.
There are many strategies for increasing links to your Web site. Links
to your site not only improves your rankings, but will increase your
traffic in a consistent and long-term manner.
If you're curious about how you stack up against your competition, you
can check your link popularity for free at:
Tip #5: Track Your Progress
As you learn more about search engine marketing, you'll discover it is
not an exact science. Some of your pages will rank well the first time
out, and some will not. In addition, your rankings will fluctuate, calling
for tweaks in design from time to time.
It is important to use a Tracker, which tells you where a visitor came
from, their search term used, their browser, screen resolution, etc. Some
web site hosting services provide this information, and there are free
trackers available. Pacific Web Sites can suggest a free one for
Back to Top