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Saturday, February 18, 2006

How To Optimize Your Website: Keyword Research

Search engine optimization (SEO) costs money. There are lots of people out there who will charge you lots of money to make sure that Google, Yahoo and MSN will find your website. But when I wanted to increase my search engine ranking a few months ago, I didn't have the budget to pay anyone to do it for me. What I needed was a do-it-yourself approach to website promotion. I did some reading, tried a few things and realised that it was easy to promote my site myself if I could devote a couple of hours a week to doing it properly. This is how I started:

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a way of making it easy for Google, Yahoo, MSN and other search engines to find and index your pages. The easier it is for search engines to find your pages, the more likely it is that someone will come to your website and offer you work or buy a product you've offered for sale. SEO increases traffic to your site or blog and, in the case of WritingUp, makes it more likely that someone will click on your ads and rack up those Adsense earnings.

How do I optimize my website?

If you're launching a site from scratch, you start with keyword research. If you're updating an old site, start with keyword research. If you want to bring traffic to your blog (and can write about anything), start with ... (you get the idea). You need to think about what keywords best describe your website, business or blog and what similar keywords people are looking for on Google, Yahoo, MSN and others.

What will keyword research cost me?

Zilch. Zip. Nada. Bupkes. You can pay if you want to, but there are a few free tools you can use that will work well if you're on a tight budget. They are:

Adwords analyzer

These tools are simple to use. You type the keywords you want into the form, enter and you get back a list of related keywords or the number of times those keywords have been searched in the past month. Once you've identified the keywords that are best for you, you need to put them into your page content. This is covered in Part 2 of the series.

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