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Keyword Research
Keyword research is obviously an important step to any SEO campaign. If people aren’t searching for the terms you want to rank for, why bother?

There are a number of tools out there that can help you choose the right keywords. Most of these tools will give you an estimate of how many times a term is searched, as well as other suggested keywords.

This is important, because ranking for a number of long tail (3 or more words) keyword phrases is often easier, and just as beneficial (cumulatively) as ranking for one short tail keyword.

The following tools will help with your keyword research:
Google Keyword Tool
Keyword Discovery
LSI Keywords
SEO Book

Checking/tracking your ranking for your keywords

If you are actually putting time into SEO, then you probably want to track your progress right?

It makes sense, if you don’t know where you are on the search engines how do you know your efforts are paying off?

Quick Note: SEO isn’t an instant process, you might not see your efforts pay off right away, but if you commit to SEO, it will pay off.

The best way to do this is to actually search on the search engines, however if you are starting out you may be way back on the pages. it wouldn’t be worth the time to scroll through 10 pages of Google.

The following tools will help you figure out your SERP (search engine results placement):
Google Rankings
Market Leap
SEO Centro
Site Map Doc

If you are using Wordpress and you want to automate the tracking of your keywords and ranking, I highly recommend the Rank Tracker plugin by Paul Forcey. I use it on a lot of my blogs and I get an email whenever I get a search engine visitor who found my blog from a keyword search.

See a sample email that I get to my Gmail when I get a visitor to my site from a keyword search:

The Rank Tracker plugin admin window inside Wordpress:

Source: Google Piranha
Category: My articles | Added by: Marsipan (07.12.2012) W
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