5 Essential Tips for Great SEO

1. Choose Keywords Carefully

Research and select your keywords carefully, using the following keyword tools. Researching keywords is like doing police detective work- there are several methods to glean data, but they each only give you small pieces of the puzzle. It can be a time-consuming effort to sort through the information, but quite worthwhile.

a. Google’s Keyword Tool: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

b. Overture’s (Yahoo! Search Marketing) Keyword Selector Tool: http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/

c. Manual research of competitor websites - Try doing manual research, by simply going to each of your competitors’ websites, analyzing their keywords, and trying to notice any consistent patterns in their keywords and how they rank for those keyword searches.

d. Yahoo! Search Marketing (Overture) and Google AdWords CPC campaign summaries - If you do cost-per-click (CPC) advertising through Yahoo! or Google, its interface gives you another means for calculating the popularity of keyword phrases- it will tell you how many people search for the keywords you add.

e. Wordtracker – http://www.wordtracker.com/ - Pay $7.73 for 1 day of keyword research.

f. NicheBot - http://www.nichebot.com/

g. FreeFind - http://www.freefind.com/ - If you have a search engine on your site, you should use the search logs as a benchmark before choosing your keywords. If you do not have a search function on your website, you can get one free with FreeFind. When activated, they can automatically email you a report of the top searched words on your site.

h. Google Trends - http://www.google.com/trends - Google Trends is a new development tool that lets you compare general keyword search popularity visually on a graph- they don’t reveal the actual number of searches, however.

i. Good Keywords - http://www.goodkeywords.com/products/gkw/ - Tools such as Good Keywords consolidate some of these useful tools and is completely free.

2. Keep it Simple, but Specific

For best results in the search engines, it is important to keep your keywords consistent and simple. Use only 1 keyword phrase per page, and don’t be too general. For example, if you were selling cell phones, it would probably be a wasted effort to target the word “cell phones” as there are too many competitors, but the phrase “cheap camera cellular phone” is more likely to help you to rank high in search engines. This phrase was searched for 807 times last month, according to Yahoo!.

3. Maintain Consistency

Use the exact same keyword phrase in all of the following page elements:

Use your keyword phrase within:

  • Page title
  • Meta title
  • Meta keywords
  • Meta description
  • Header tags: <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4>
  • <strong> tags and/or <b> tags
  • <em> tags and/or <i> tags
  • Four times in the body copy
  • At least once in a URL link <a href=”link”>keyword phrase</a>
  • Make a folder with the keyword phrase as its name; use hyphens – between multiple words.

4. Use Tools to Monitor Your Progress

Various tools exist to check where you stand in search rankings, links, and more. Instead of continually checking manually, try some of the many tools available.

One helpful tool which happens to be free is: http://www.webuildpages.com/cool-seo-tool/

Other pay-based tools exist, such as: Microsoft Submit It and WebTrends’ WebPosition. If your pages are not getting indexed by Google, you may consider making a Google site map. You can generate an XML based site map for free here: http://www.freesitemapgenerator.com.

Also, make sure you have web statistics programs installed on your host server, such as AWstats, Webalizer or other free tools. Google Analytics is an in-depth stats program and is free. Because of the demand, you have to get on a waiting list, but it is worth it: http://www.google.com/analytics/

Alexa can be wildly inaccurate at times, but is still a nice rough guage for traffic rankings: http://www.alexa.com/

5. Learn From Successfully Optimized Sites

The following is a short list of websites that appear to be successful in their search engine optimization efforts.

http://www.acclaimimages.com/

http://www.sparepartswarehouse.com/

http://www.seochat.com/

http://www.timbercon.com/

Though not always as aesthetically pleasing, viewing the winners of Google optimization contests can be a learning experience. Links and information can found on Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SEO_contest

By Trent Mueller

© 2006

About the Author:

Trent Mueller is a web marketing and SEO specialist and owns various websites, including sites for cheap stock photography and for MBA CDs; He resides in Portland, Oregon, USA.



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