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Search Engine Optimization: Your Page Content

According to SearchEngineWatch.com, a recent survey of businesses using the Internet as a primary marketing tool reported that only 11% said SEO gave a lower return on investment than search advertising. More importantly, 35% said that SEO was more valuable in terms of return on investment than paid advertisement.

This means that in 89% of businesses who could determine the relative value, inexpensive search engine optimization of page content was as valuable or more valuable than paying for advertising on Google, Yahoo, or other pages and search engines. A full third of all businesses found SEO to be the most valuable advertising tool to use with search engines.

This is remarkable news because, with patience and attention, anyone can optimize their page content for search engine placement. This means that your little computer business, with its tiny marketing budget, can compete in search engines with international corporations if you do things properly.

SEO: Making Your Page Work

So how do you harness this incredible tool to make your own page's ROI higher? By understanding the search engines and how they work, and by taking steps to ensure your page is optimized for best usability by these engines.

First, search engines use text-based algorithms. They send out miniprograms regularly called search engine spiders, robots, or web crawlers that catalog the data contained in web pages - data in the form of text - and use that to determine where to place a page in search engine returns on keywords.

So when your potential customer types in "butterfly handkerchief," the placement and frequency of your keyword phrase "butterfly handkerchief" is one of the main things a search engine pays attention to when deciding where to rank your page. If you are the only "butterfly handkerchief" site that is clearly demonstrating you offer these by placing the keyword phrase in the header, metatags, and text of your page, then you'll get first ranking. If Billy Bob's Hankies does a better job of this, he will get top ranking, bumping you down.

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But that's not all the search engines look for.

Content Has An Expiration Date?

Because there are so many billions of web pages search engines are trying to organize, some sites are going to do equivalently good jobs of inserting those keyword phrases. There has to be a way of organizing pages beyond that phrase.

One way is cataloging regular fresh content. A web site that delivers different content on a regular basis containing the same keywords is a site that will rank higher in the search engines. So if you rotate your "butterfly handkerchief" articles frequently while Billy Bob gets lazy and leaves the same one up for a year, you'll regain that top spot you lost.

A second advantage to using continual fresh content is that it gives your customers something to come back for. Repeat customers are among the most valuable. If you continue to provide excellent content to this customer base, you'll find them returning to - and spending money at - your site on a regular basis.

Not everyone has the time to create continual fresh content, of course, especially content optimized for the search engines with good keyword placement. One way to always have fresh content on hand is to purchase private label articles to place on your site. These are articles pre-written and pre-optimized for the search terms you need. You purchase all rights to the articles - once you've paid for them, they are yours to use as you see fit. You can edit them, add or delete information, personalize them to your content, and even list yourself as the author if you like.

Reciprocal Links

A third item the search engines look at when cataloging you is linking. If you have great content and lots of other web sites link to you, this will boost your ranking. That's why the New York Times is placed high in a search for "The New York Times," even though their name is mentioned infrequently on any given page; the search engines see other sites linking to the content contained there. This helps the engines, which are really big programs with very good logic and artificial intelligence, determine that the New York Times web site is the primary site for this term.

Your little site will probably never have the name recognition of the New York Times. But if you make agreements with complementary web sites to link to one another, particularly if you link within articles or at least not on "My Favorite Links" pages, you can boost your ranking quite a bit.

And if you offer great information on your site, other sites will be more eager to link to you. After all, when they link to you, they're recommending you to their customers. They wouldn't want to recommend someone who won't reflect well on them.

If you trade reciprocal links with another webmaster, check occasionally to ensure that your link is indeed posted, and posted correctly. And do the same courtesy for them - be sure you have their link up and active somewhere it will be noticed on your web site.

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Cody Moya writes about Article Marketing in his free 50 parts course on Internet Marketing. You can sign up for his Free Internet Marketing Course and get additional information at his web site: http://www.marketing.us

Targeted Content Can Increase Affiliate Sales

Less than a decade ago, Amazon.com, an upstart little online bookseller, started a unique new business model: have other people's web sites sell books for you. It made so much sense that other booksellers started doing it as well: have fishing web sites sell fishing books, and needlepoint web sites sell books on knitting and crochet. Any site that sells a book, they decided, deserved a piece of the profits made from the book.

Affiliate sales program today still make up a large chunk of Amazon's sales, although many other innovative online business models have come into practice. And with several years of experience, those affiliates have learned a number of tricks to maximize their book sales. These tricks don't work only with books, but with any number of affiliate programs.

Know Your Customer

Affiliate sales sites that try to sell everything are going to be a turnoff to the average consumer. Even though the Internet is an anonymous electronic force, consumers want to feel as if the web site owner knows about and cares about them as individuals, and a web site that tries to be Wal-mart to you is going to get exactly what it deserves - nothing.

At the same time, if you understand the type of person coming to your web site and you can deliver to them items that they really want and need, you're going to get a repeat customer. Ideally, your affiliated sales should take place within articles or in the right sidebar of your web site, and when your customer sees the item you're selling, they should instantly want it.

Use Targeted Content

Once you know exactly what you should be selling to your customer, you can target your content to support those sales. Consumers, more than anything else, want information on products they may want to buy. And those who sell products depend on "buzz," people like you talking about the product's advantages and disadvantages, to get those products sold.

Targeted content can be the obvious reviews of books, new products, etc. But it can also be things like descriptions of fishing trips where you drop in links to affiliated products you actually used. For instance, if you caught a huge bass last weekend using a particular lure, you can drop in a photo of the lure, linking the photo and a text reference to your affiliated sales page where you actually allow the consumer to purchase that lure.

This is a trick that television networks are just catching onto. While recent fashions may have been largely driven by the clothes characters wear in popular TV shows, there was no way to purchase those fashions without searching for something similar throughout stores. Just this season, networks are starting web sites where you can purchase the sweater Jennifer Aniston wore, or Tom Welling's jacket, even funky new glasses frames. It's the ultimate targeted-content model, if they sell it right.

You probably don't have a network to sell your products on. But you can develop a dedicated audience that knows your recommended affiliate products are good, reliable, and exactly what you say they are.

Develop a Reputation

The largest sales driver online is trust. This is a rare commodity in today's world of corporate scandal, downsizing, and sell-it-now trends. If you can develop a growing loyal customer base who know they can trust you, you are guaranteed success, no matter who tries to move in on your territory.

One of the best ways to do this is by writing excellent reviews. Another is by giving information away on your web site. You must be able to write well to do all this, or at least contract with others who can write well and to your specifications.

To grow your customer base, you must expand your communications outside your own web site. You must be able and willing to distribute articles to other newsletters, web sites, and content distributors who are willing to print your information and retain your personal name and URL in a resource box attached to the article.

You also must be honest about the items you write about. If it's junk, you should be willing to say it's junk. You won't sell many of the junky things, but you'll gain something priceless: respect from your customers.

Cody Moya writes about Article Marketing in his free 50 parts course on Internet Marketing. You can sign up for his Free Internet Marketing Course and get additional information at his web site: http://www.marketing.us

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