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Watching Your Words

Watching Your Words

December 25, 2008
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" knowing the right words to use to attract targeted visitors to your website is only part of the problem "

Want to build a website that acts as an ATM machine for making cash withdrawals from Google? Well, it's a simple matter of watching your words.

Search engines, and the traffic they deliver, are based upon words after all, and a tool that I've been using is shedding new light and insight on my use of words and search engine marketing.

The tool is called Wordtracker, and according to its maker, it is designed to "improve your search engine rankings and PPC results with effective keyword research." If my first few flirtations with it are any indicator, it should help me improve my marketing.

After obtaining an account, I logged in and was greeted by a plain, easily read interface. The first thing that I noticed was that next to my username, the initial length and remaining time on my subscription was displayed, along with a cancel link; and this information was also displayed in the top navigation bar — something that many adult paysite operators may want to consider.

I then noticed a field that displayed my "daily allowance remaining," which outlined the daily usage limits for Wordtracker: 1,500 keyword searches, 350 lateral searches and 250 competition searches were available to me for the next six hours. Next to the limits was a link that asked, "What is this?" I clicked on it and a help window opened, explaining that the limits are on the number of searches made, and not for the number of results returned: if you receive 500 results when searching one keyword, it's still only one search.

I dwell on this because this website quickly and effectively addressed some of my basic concerns as a consumer/subscriber in a way that was helpful, accessible and friendly — and I couldn't help but think of how many adult paysites could increase their usability by offering such features. The process made me feel comfortable about what was clearly going to be a bit of a learning curve in getting up to speed with this program.

That learning curve steepened as I looked over the "Keyword Universe" section with its links to "Research," "Projects" and "Results," as well as the Keyword Researcher and other search tools; a selection of reports on the most frequently searched words; and a robust support section that offers a 47-page downloadable user guide on PDF as well as a link to the "Wordtracker Academy," which offers a wide selection of "articles, case studies, tips and tricks to help you grow your online business through effective keyword research and search engine optimization."

I was excited and wanted to jump right in; but after a few clicks, I realized that reading the instruction manual was going to make a major difference in my level of success, so after wading through the introductory material, I moved on to the step-by-step tutorial on using Wordtracker — beginning with the Keyword Universe tool, which according to the company, some users rely on exclusively; never using any of the service's other tools.

I began by entering my main three-word key phrases into the "Related Keywords" box An "adult filter" lets users choose to remove offensive or dubious terms from the listings; or to either allow listings that either naturally or exclusively contain adult terms. I chose the "off" setting and then clicked the "proceed" button.

A moment later, I received a list of 300 related key words and phrases, generated by automatically querying two major search engines, then examining the top 200 sites in each and compiling a list of the related terms based upon these 200 site's keyword and description Meta tags; as well as by performing a thesaurus query.

While the "Related Keywords" tool gave me 300 search terms that lead folks to websites with the same content as my key phrase, the "Keyword Popularity" tool told me how many people were actually searching on those phrases; and the results were eye-opening: while my primary key phrase would certainly provide me with targeted visitors, it would appear that only two people per day search for it; and that's across all of the major search engines combined!

Well, if only two people are going to search using my terms, I want to make sure that both of them find my site — but this approach alone won't provide me with my required traffic volumes; so by studying these results and the search volume of some of the related terms, I hope to develop a better, broader approach to attracting more, but still qualified visitors.

Looking through this list of 300 related search terms and phrases, it was clear that not all of them would deliver useful visitors. Wordtracker even addresses the issue of how far to go with optimization for every phrase simply because it appears on this list; advising users to ask themselves, "If someone is searching for this term, would this person be a useful visitor to your website?"

For example, number 144 on my list was "Extra" — and while this term represented the middle of the pack, I don't think that spending any precious time on optimizing my site or marketing for the word "Extra" would result in adding even one new member for me; although many of the other terms are relevant and will be worked into my marketing.

You can save and edit your resulting key phrase lists; cleaning out terms in which you are uninterested and then export it to Excel or another format, or email it if you wish; as well as perform a competitive analysis to see how many other sites are targeting these terms at various engines, and how effective your optimization efforts are likely to be, considering the competition for a given term.

At the end of the day, knowing the right words to use to attract targeted visitors to your website is only part of the problem: You must also know how to use those words and what to do with the visitors once they arrive. But for anyone interested in enhancing the effectiveness and profitability of their current search engine marketing, Wordtracker is a useful tool that deserves a try.


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