After years of running websites and earning a full-time online income, I am constantly reminded that it all comes down to keywords. Actually, it all comes down to obtaining top rankings for your profitable keywords in the search engines, mainly Google.
And that statement has to be refined even further, it's all about obtaining top keyword rankings and keeping them at the top. You must consistently keep your keywords in the top spots on that all important first page of SERPs since your keyword rankings can make or break your online marketing.
If you're targeting extremely competitive and profitable keywords you will have your work cut out for you; unless you have tons of money to buy your way (links) into the top spots, expect to spend months if not years, getting to those top listings. Google has frowned upon link buying and has taken steps to fight it, but this practice is still widespread throughout the web.
Most beginning and honest webmasters want to take the proper route and earn those top rankings by providing good quality content that web users will actually find helpful and useful. They build those links the natural way by offering viral link bait in the form of videos, ebooks, articles, reports... all branded with backlinks to their sites.
Gradually over time, these links will build up and your keyword rankings will go up in the search engines. People will find your content and bookmark it in all the social bookmark sites like Digg, Facebook, MySpace... and your rankings will climb even faster.
However, since keyword marketing has become extremely competitive, you do need a little help with achieving those top rankings. Over the years I have tested and used many keyword tools and I have listed some of the best ones below. (Just Google to find links to these tools and programs.)
Internet Success Spider
One of the first keyword tools I ever used was The Internet Success Spider by Neil Shearing which is now free. The Spider is a very simple, yet powerful keyword tool because it shows you the major players in your keyword niche. It slowly works in the background to give you valuable information on your keywords. I realized very quickly, with online marketing (like most things in life) information is what separates the losers from the winners.
Later, I tried and am still using Keyword Elite by Brad Callen, it remains one of the best keyword research tools on the market. I can directly link many of my keyword successes to my early use of this tool.
Brad Callen simply creates some of the best marketing tools for online webmasters and marketers. KE is no exception. It will do some very comprehensive keyword research for you and let you easily arrange that information. Keyword Elite has earned a well deserved reputation as a very useful marketing tool.
Download Keyword Elite
Brainstorm It - Site Build It
Another, perhaps even more powerful keyword tool is Brainstorm It! which is offered through the Site Build It marketing/hosting system run by Ken Evoy. This is a powerful keyword analyzer and finder, which is now in its third version.
SBI run by Ken Evoy creates many tools for webmasters and Brainstorm It, Version 3 is simply one of the best. This keyword tool will do both Vertical and Lateral keyword research to give the most comprehensive array of information for your online marketing. Only negative, you only get so many Wordtracker credits and you have to pay extra when those run out. Actually, Wordtracker should be at the top of any keyword tool list, but I have mainly used it in conjunction with other programs like Brainstorm It.
Google Keyword Tool
Then again there is the Google own keyword system run through it's Adwords program. Like everything Google does, this keyword tool can be very helpful especially for the novice online marketer.
MSN Commercial Intention Of Keywords
Not to be outdone, another helpful tool is Microsoft's Online Commercial Intention tool, which tells the probability your chosen keyword has a commercial value to it:
SeoBook Online Keyword Tool
For very quick keyword references, I like using Aaron Wall's keyword tool on his Seobook site. It's quick and gives very good stats for your chosen keywords.
Still yet another SEO (sort of related to keywords) is the SeoQuake Toolbar which you can run on Firefox. It will slow down your browser but it will cough up valuable information about your own site and more importantly, it will give you valuable information on your competitors' sites. One feature that I find very helpful is the SEM Rank and SEM Price, which tells you how much your Search Engine keyword traffic is worth.
Plus, you must not ignore your website stats and traffic logs for they can supply you with your most valuable keyword information regarding your site. Closely examine which keyword phrases are bringing in the traffic and/or sales. Develop these keywords with your online marketing, especially any "long tail" keyword phrases visitors are using to find your site or products. These longer keyword phrases have proven to be the most profitable because many times consumers using these phrases already have their minds made up on what they're going to buy.
Why am I using all these keyword tools?
Simply because obtaining and keeping top rankings for my chosen keywords is my livelihood. Unless I can keep that targeted traffic coming from these keywords via the search engines; it's game over. Therefore, I use all the tools and information I can gather in order to keep those keywords at the top.
Google is always changing, you really have to stay on your game if you want to keep your keywords at the top. It all boils down to producing quality content web surfers need and want. The SEO pretty much takes care of itself as long as you keep promoting your keywords with good viral branded content like videos, articles, ebooks, PDF reports... and you must mix up your online link building to include links from such places as Facebook, Digg, Google Bookmarks, MySpace... I have always used the free "Addthis" button to all my important content and this has resulted in 100's of free links that your visitors will build for you!
I also believe you have to be careful when using viral articles to vary your anchor text (clickable part of a link) so that you don't have the same keyword phrase repeated 100's of times across the web. Just use different versions of your keyword phrase and if you can, get those keyword links in the body of the article, as near to the top of the page as you can. This will make your link building look much more natural in the eyes of the search engines, especially Google.
Overall, you must have hundreds, if not thousands of keywords that you're targeting with your online marketing. You must constantly keep building links for those keywords from related sites on the web. Sometimes it is helpful to truly view your keywords as organic, something that keeps growing naturally on its own. But you must first build a solid foundation with good quality content and then keep nurturing those keywords with good quality link bait so that others will bookmark, recommend and link to your keyword content.
Over the years, if there is anything I have learned about keywords which always holds true, it is this: you must be persistent. You must keep at it: building links, building content... it will usually take months, if not years, to get those top rankings for very competitive keywords and it will take some further work to consistently keep those keywords in the top positions. But you will quickly learn keywords are well worth it since they can easily make or break your online marketing.
The author is a full-time online marketer who has numerous websites. For the latest web marketing tools try: http://www.bizwaremagic.com
If you liked the article above, why not try this Free 7 Day Marketing Course here: http://www.marketingtoolguide.com
2009 Titus Hoskins. This article may be freely distributed if this resource box stays attached.
Copyright (c) 2009 Titus Hoskins