Getting started with Web site optimization

As you might imagine, as a Web hosting company, WestHost receives requests all the time from prospective and existing hosting clients for help on how to market their Web site. Attracting exposure for your Web site comes in a variety of formats. On the most basic level though, traffic in any form can really be broken down into two categories: natural/organic, and paid. Keyword optimization on your Web site plays a substantial role in both of these categories.
One of the most common mistakes I see people make on their Web site is the result of lack of knowledge or experience with Internet marketing. The mistake is simply the omission of any keyword optimization on the Web site. Any brick-and-mortar business owner understands the concepts of marketing a traditional business using traditional methods, but a substantial portion of these same real-world savvy people generally have little to no experience with Internet marketing, and little idea of how to proceed once they have their Web site online.
Of course by now, most anyone who has a Web site understands the importance of being listed in search engines, but many don’t generally understand how to rank well for their service/product. There are lots of different ways to optimize your Web site by manipulating title tags, header tags, placement of elements on the Web site, navigation, and more. One of the first methods of optimization though is selecting targeted keywords to place on your Web site to “tell” search engines what your Web site is actually about.
Keyword optimization is really the 101 of fine-tuning your Web site to receive traffic. Lacking relevant textual content on your Web site, you will have a very difficult time coming up in search listings on any reputable search engine. If you’re participating in paid keyword advertising, then you’ll pay more for your selected words if you have poorly optimized pages than you would if you had pages that were optimized well. Determining which keywords to target, initially, is as simple as writing down keywords relevant to the product or services you provide. For instance, if you own a bike shop and you’re looking to optimize your Web site with relevant keywords, you might consider initially basic terms like ‘bike’ or ‘bicycles’. The object after generating your list of basic keywords is simply to begin to fine-tune them into more specialized categories. For instance, you might then begin to list keywords relevant to specific types of bikes, such as ‘mountain bikes’, ‘bmx bikes’, ‘road bikes’. Variants of those terms would be beneficial as well, such as substituting ‘bicycles’ for ‘bikes’ in the phrase ‘mountain bikes’. Once you have your keywords in place that are relevant to the content on your particular Web site or landing page, you then pepper your product/service specific pages with those specific keywords to “optimize” that particular page for a keyword, or perhaps a few keywords. Be careful not to use the term so often that it might be considered excessive on that page.
Good keyword optimization is paramount for your Web site; it has substantial affect on your ability to rank in natural/organic listings with all search engines. In addition to that, keyword optimization is also factored into such things as your quality score when purchasing advertising through Google’s Adwords.
To help with this beginning process of optimizing your Web site with keywords, consider using any of the following tools. These tools help you choose keywords by listing such items as competition among the term and search volume, and also variations of the term, which oftentimes leads to keywords that are relevant to your Web site, but that you may not have thought of by yourself.
Google Keyword Tool