One of the first things you should do when planning your website is to do a bit of research. Analyzing keywords and putting together a strategic marketing plan is a crucial first step towards the construction of a search engine friendly website. SEO (or search engine optimization) is not all that difficult but does require an investment of time. Basically, the more you put into it, the better your results will be.
The days of tossing up a website on the fly and waiting for the world to beat a path to your door are long gone. First, determine the purpose of what your website will be. Search for the competition and try to learn how challenging it will be to compete. If you have a relatively new idea, you may have low keyword competition but a problem with familiarity. For instance, I develop a new product called “Tredlitely Chocolate Bon-Bons”. More than likely, I will have no problem coming up number one in a search for that phrase. However, without a huge marketing and branding campaign, no one would be searching for that phrase anyway. This is where niche keywords can be a great help. Don’t focus on the keyword “Chocolate” if you have a new website because your chances of competing for that keyword are slim to none. Instead, try to focus on “chocolate bon-bons” which would have a more narrowed focus, yet lower competitive ratio.
Here are a few free SEO tools to get you started:
- Nice Searcher – A free, online tool for comparing keywords and determining their effectiveness.
- SEO Book Keyword Suggestion Tool – This keyword tool is powered by Wordtracker’s API and offers rough suggested daily search volumes by market for Google, Yahoo!, and MSN.
- Xinu – Great for a quick check of your (or your competition’s) PageRank, backlinks and much more.
- Self SEO – Offers a wide variety of other free, online tools for checking page links, popularity and more. The best way to get your website off to a good start is to research what your competition is doing using these type of tools. Why re-invent the wheel?