INFORMATION YOU CAN USE!
We all know it and we all do it. Whenever the typical web user needs to find something on the web, he or she will almost always instinctively go to one of the top search engines and run a search. Then, he or she will have a look at the first 30 search results returned (usually the first three pages of results), hardly ever looking beyond that. If nothing looks appealing, they will run another search using a variation of the keywords they used on the first search. Again, they will look at the first 30 results. If they still find nothing of interest, they may switch to a different search engine and repeat the process. This, believe it or not, is the typical web navigation behavior of at least 86% of the 110 million web users out there. The question is, does your web site capitalize on this behavior?
If the answer is yes, then no matter what a user searches for that has any relation at all to your products, they should find you even if they hadn't thought of finding you! That translates to a very high amount of daily traffic to your site. Is this what is happening for you?
I bet the answer is no. Very few web sites really capitalize on this behavior. However, you can learn how to do so. For this tutorial, we shall assume that you are in the business of selling wedding gowns. You have a web site that does a good job of displaying your wedding gowns, but like most other web site owners, your web traffic is really low and clients are simply not finding you. You have done everything you can think of, but your pages hardly come up on the search engines. What next? Well, get ready to learn one of the most effective online marketing strategies.
We know that the web user will think of a keyword or phrase and type that into a search form on an engine. That is his or her first step, and so it should be ours. This is a very important step! Get a piece of paper or open up your text editor and keep writing all the keywords and phrases that you think of as you go through the steps outlined below. Selecting the right keywords or keyword phrases will skyrocket your traffic. Research has shown that most people use phrases of 2 to 3 keywords when searching. People have come to learn that just typing in one keyword in a search will get them thousands of records that they just do not need. Therefore, they combine two or three keywords in their searches.
Your list should end up having about 50 or more keywords and phrases. You must write down every word that a person might use to look for your site PLUS words they may use to look for other related information or products. This is no easy task. It involves some research and a fair bit of thought. Remember, thousands of people out there looking for wedding gowns may not all think alike, look for wedding gowns directly, or even realize at the time that they can get wedding gowns on the net! To get a good list, here are the steps that you should go through. Keep your pen and paper handy so that you keep writing as you go along.
1. Think! Brainstorm! Sit down for several minutes and think! Write down whatever keywords or phrases come to mind. Then look at your list and see what other word combinations you can make from the keywords you have already written down.
2. Look at your products and services and see what words relating to them will pop up in your mind. Write the names of each product or service that you deal in. These product names will also be part of your keyword list.
3. Ask your family, associates, clients, and friends what words and phrases they would most likely use to search for products or services like yours.
4. See what keywords your competitors use. See what keywords are featured on their pages and in their meta tags.
5. Be specific AND general in scope. Think of words that also describe things related to what your site is about. For example, if you sell wedding gowns, also think about other things and words related to weddings, such as honeymoon, bridal registry, wedding rings, engagements, and other wedding accessories and services. The idea here is to capture people who may be looking for other things related to weddings, whether they are directly looking for wedding gowns or not at the time. Chances are that someone looking for any wedding related information will also be interested in knowing about wedding gowns. Get the idea? This is a very powerful way of getting more targeted traffic to your site.
6. Do not forget misspelled words. People often misspell words when they enter their search terms. Include commonly misspelled words or phrases as part of your list.
7. If your site deals with a particular region, remember to include that in your keyword list, e.g. 'Los Angeles wedding gowns' if you deal in wedding gowns within Los Angeles. A lot of people will search for wedding gowns, get a big list of returned search results, and decide to add the words "Los Angeles" (or wherever else they may be interested in) to get more specific search results.
8. Use the long and short form of words, e.g. consult, consulting, and consultants.
9. DO NOT SPAM! Do not use keywords that have nothing to do with your web site. Do not list the keyword "sex" or "free pics" just because they are frequently searched for if they do not have anything to do with your web site. You will only get traffic that is of no use to you anyway because surfers will come to your site and leave angrily when they realize you just cheated them. Also, search engines are on the look out for such deceitful practices and can sometimes ban your pages for spamming. As long as you stick with keywords related to your core business, you will be fine, but do not go way out of line.
10. Now its time for some research. You need to look at what people are actually searching for on the various engines and get more phrases for your list. Here is a list of sites that will help you. When doing your research at these sites, remember steps number 5, 6, and 8 above - people often misspell words, they use different word forms, and they may be looking for a whole lot of different stuff all related to your products.
(a) GoTo.com Keywords Inventory Search search for your keywords here and see how popular they were on GoTo.com. The service will also tell you what other related keywords and phrases were searched for. This is perfect for finding related keywords that you may not have thought of. For example, a search here for wedding gowns returns the following information:
Click here to see results
(b) http://www.searchterms.com - See what the top 100 search terms worldwide were. Remember that it is not advisable to use terms that are not related to your web site's content, but this service can still prove useful.
(c) SearchSpy - SearchSpy is a database of search terms captured from the top search engines. Use this to find even more words and phrases for your list.
Now that you are armed with your big list, what you do with it next is what will get you all the traffic you need. The next process is long and complicated if done manually, but there are ways of making this automatic, easy, and fast, saving you the agony of doing it yourself. This article is too short for the technical details on search engine optimization techniques, so I will just give you a quick explanation and a link to where you can get all this done for you automatically and easily.
Basically, there are 8 major search engines today - AltaVista, Excite, Infoseek, Lycos, HotBot, AOL Netfind, WebCrawler, and Northern Light. Yahoo is a directory so this technique will not work with it. What you need to do is figure out what kind of pages rank well with each of these engines. Search engines use a mathematical formula to rank all the pages in their index. It is hard, but not impossible to come really close to knowing exactly what kind of a page will rank well on a particular engine. Basically, the text statistics on a page are what are considered most by the engine's ranking formulas. Now, for each keyword or phrase on your list, you need to create a web page that focuses on just that one keyword or phrase and ranks it highly on a particular engine. Because each engine ranks pages differently, you will need to create a different page optimized for each engine.
Stop and think about this strategy for a second. You have a list of virtually every phrase that someone interested in your products and other related products can ever use in a search. Then, you have pages that make sure they rank highly for all those searches. No matter what people search for that has any relation to your products, they will find you even if they had not thought of finding you! Do you now see how much qualified traffic you can get? It is amazing!
The only set back is the amount of work you would have to put into figuring out what kind of text statistics on a page will rank it well on an engine, then creating these optimized pages for your entire list of keywords for each major engine. That means creating about 300 or more finely tuned web pages! But do not worry! As long as you have compiled your list of keywords and phrases, there is an online service that will automatically create the optimized pages for you in a couple of minutes. SearchPositioning.com (www.searchpositioning.com) uses a set of online scripts to cleverly generate web pages optimized for the major search engines. All you need to do is give it your list of keywords and phrases, a short piece of text describing your site or business or products, and your email address (the pages are emailed to you as attached HTML files). To my knowledge, this is the only service on the web that works in this way.
Once you have your pages, upload them to your web server and either submit them to the engines, if there aren't too many, or have the engines crawl over them and index them by only submitting a page that links to all of them. That's it! Now simply step back and watch your traffic skyrocket!
Granted, there are many other ways that people use to find new sites, such as following links on other sites, reading about sites in magazines, hearing from friends, etc. But no matter what other methods they use, they almost always use them in addition to using the search engines, especially when actively trying to locate new information. By knowing how to use the search engines to your advantage, you will become an empowered Internet marketer. No other method of marketing is so powerful, effective, and affordable (virtually free)!
If you need any more information on search engine positioning and keyword selection, see http://www.searchpositioning.com. I wish you the best of fortune in your web promotional efforts!
Article by David Gikandi, of Search Positioning.com, David is a programmer at SearchPositioning.com. SearchPositioning.com features tools and resources that get you top positions for your web site on AltaVista, Excite, HotBot, Infoseek, and Lycos. It also has forums, articles, links, and other free resources useful for the website owner and marketer.
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