Niche Marketing and SEO

By: Mel Joelle

One of the beauties of Internet marketing is that it has given niche businesses a reach into markets they would have been hard pressed to find before. It doesn’t matter how esoteric your product or service is — if you play your cards right, you can develop a Web presence that will pay off for you. Here are some pointers:

* Find your fine-tuned key phrases. This is an imperative. If you make your keyphrases too broad, you’re going to be up against some very heavy competition and your chances of ranking well are going to be torpedoed. Think about your product or service, and what phrases (not just keywords — most people search for 2 or 3 word phrases, not just single words) best fit your particular niche. The competition is going to be much less intense for these down-market keyphrases. What you want are keyphrases with a higher search volume and lower competition. Go back and review your business model, if need be.

* On-page keyword optimization. When writing the copy for each page, think about the keywords you want to emphasize, and aim for a density of 5% in the copy itself. But do not get so stuck on the number of times you need to use the keywords, focus more on the user experience. Anything more than that and you will run the risk of stilted, awkward, forced-sounding copy that comes off suspiciously like spam in the eyes of users.

* Off-page keyword optimization. Build quality links to other sites (remember that quality is more important than quantity). When building mutual links with other website owners, ask if you can make them keyword-targeted. If you’re blogging and adding your blog to online blog directories, put your keyword in the title if possible. Use key phrases as anchored text links in your articles, and deep-link them internally to different pages on your site.

* Keep your content fresh. Search engines love fresh content, and so do users. Don’t just come up with optimized content and let it go at that — go back and add new meat regularly. This is one of the most important factors.

* Keep ALT tags. If you hadn’t added ALT tags to images, this is the time to do it. Search engines like images, but they like images with ALT tags better. The same goes for Flash animation — if you include any Flash pages on your site, make sure that you include an HTML equivalent alongside them.

* Check out the competition. Do your own searches and see what results come up. Look at the competition’s sites to see how these elements are incorporated into their own work.

Remember that the days of onsite advertising in the form of banners or irritating pop-ups only are just about over. These days, the name of the game is payment for action (conversions, clicks) and not just exposure for its own sake. That action isn’t going to happen, though, if you can’t boost your traffic and conversions. There are distinct strategies that can help you with that, regardless of how tiny your micro-niche might be. There are even tools and resources that are a big help (such as Google AdWords Keyword Tool) in picking out the most relevant (but not overused) keywords for your particular niche.

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