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Wondering how to drive interested customers to that newly created website? Want the secret to success? Build an Internet business with SEO.

SEO (search engine optimization) is the process used by a website owner to increase the amount and quality of visitors to his or her website through organic (unpaid) search methods within the search engines. As with any business, it pays to spend some time researching before launching any advertising or marketing campaign. This is perhaps more true when building a business online. The World Wide Web is a highly competitive marketplace and continues its bountiful expansion on a daily basis.

How to Build an Internet Business With SEO

When marketing a business online the goal is to drive an abundance of qualified traffic to the business website. Qualified traffic consists of visitors who come to the website based on the keywords or keyword phrase they typed into the search box. They arrive at the website already primed – they are targeted traffic with specific needs. It is therefore crucial that a business owner know for what his or her potential customers are searching.

An undeniable aspect of effective SEO is winning over the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing (formerly MSN), with most of the focus on Google since they currently hold nearly 86% of the search engine market. How does one go about winning the confidence of the search engines, especially a giant like Google?

Looking at Google as an example; one of the keys to achieving first page search results status is with a page ranking. For Google, the more relevant the content of the site is to the search terms used, the higher up the website is likely to land on the search results page. After the website has been submitted to Google, search engine “spiders” will crawl the site for indexing purposes. Once the website has been indexed Google will assign a page rank for the site. This can take up to several months to be completed.

The page rank assigned by Google is based on primarily three criteria:

Design and Content of the Website – useful, information-rich, and describes the content of the site clearly and accurately; text links and site maps; the use of keywords and keyword phrases throughout the website – particularly in the title and description of the page (Google loves this); no broken links and accurate HTML.

Technical Guidelines Followed – the use of a text browser such as Lynx to look at the site; allow search bots to crawl the site without impediment; test the site for correct appearance in different browsers.
Quality – make the website pages valuable to the user (Google’s number one concern); no “black hat” methods for SEO; no irrelevant keywords; avoid duplicate content on multiple pages.

These are a handful of things Google will use to assign a page rank to a website. See Google’s Webmaster Tools for more detailed information.

Another way to boost a website’s image and importance in the eyes of the search engines, especially Google, is the use of “backlinks.” These are simply links to the website that are placed on other websites, blogs, forums, and social networking sites that will take the user back to the website to which the links belong. Every time a user clicks on one of these backlinks, it is like getting a “vote” for that website to which the link is directed.

Keyword Research Training

One of the secrets to highly successful SEO is keyword research. Unfortunately a lot of online business coaches may prompt their clients to hunt down hundreds of keywords for their website, but few will give them any true keyword research training.

Keyword research is not just about the keywords, it’s about getting into the prospect’s head. It is all about finding what it is that users are searching for and how that relates to a business owner’s website and the products or services offered.

Wondering how to get inside a potential customer’s head? Once again, the Internet itself provides the solution; blogs, discussion forums, social media networks – visit them and find out what people are feeling, thinking, and buying. Listen to their experiences and learn. This is also an excellent way to size up the competition.

Using a keyword research tool such as Nichebot Classic or WordTracker, is a tremendous time saver. These tools also offer other helpful information such as alternative keyword suggestions. It is beneficial to find the right correlation between the number of monthly searches a keyword phrase gets and how much competition exists already for that keyword; this information is provided by online research tools.

SEO and Keyword Research – A Winning Combination

Online business owners who take the time to learn how to implement effective SEO and perform thorough keyword research, will be a step ahead of the competition. The combination of these two powerful tools will hasten the success of any Internet marketing campaign.