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Sidedoors Buying Keywords And Promo Silliness

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peter van dijck

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User since: 22 Oct 1999

Articles written: 23

I'm sure you know your site promotion basics, here I'll

talk about a few things many sitebuilders don't

consider. I'll review the basics of

promotion at the bottom of the article.

I learned a lot while doing research for a site that's geared

towards people wanting to learn English, so I'll use that

as an example here.

Exchanging links

After searching the search

engines for your target keywords and finding sites that

can link to you this way, try this: find out who links to

your competitors or similar sites (you can do this in

many search engines, like AltaVista, with


then put up a link to those pages, and only then ask

them all for a link back. Obviously, to get links you'll

need content (usually anyway).

Depending on the kind of site you have, exchanging links should account

for at

least 50% of your promotion efforts.

Finding good keyphrases has


cool service
: you can see how often certain keywords are

used. And it also suggests related keywords. has a cool service (if you join them)

that'll automate this process.

With my English learning site, this gave me a surprise. It

turned out I needed to target the keywords "prepare

toefl" (which stands for Test Of Eenglish as a Foreign Language")

and "English grammar game" more, instead of just

"learning English", which got only a few hits, but

basically is the same as "preparing toefl".

So there you go, a bit of research can definitely be worth it.

It may even show you that you shouldn't focus too much on

searchengines for your

particular site.

There's another trick that some people may consider a

bit dirty (but hey, in love and on the net...): target the

brand names of the competition (I'm NOT talking hijacking domain


So when people look

directly for the competition, they'll have an option to go

to you as well.

For example: write a review about your products

compared to your competitors'

products. Give it a good title, like "New article: comparison between


and yyy". Many people will go to a "review of xxx" site

before they go to the site themselves.

And: if at all possible for the indexes (like YAHOO), get a

site title that starts with an A or a number. They list the

results alphabetically.

Where to put keyphrases

Apart from putting your

keyphrases in your metatags and body, don't forget to

put them in your title! All your important keywords

should be in your page title!

Some people advise putting keywords in your URL as well. This doesn't


The searchengines just treat the keyword as a keyword in the body of the


More promotion again. Yes, they're a

small searchengine, but they can help you a great deal.

They offer you to buy keywords (for as little as .01$).

So if someone searches for that keyword, you get on

page 1, and only pay for clickthroughs. This is very

cheap traffic, and if you use focused keywords (instead

of general ones), quality traffic as well. (sorry to keep mentioning them) has

some very good articles and tools for this by the way.


Sidedoors are pieces of content that are

related to your site. So for our English site I could write

an article comparing online English learning services,

highlighting our site which obviously is the best. Imagine

someone searching for a service like this seeing this

comparative article in their searchengine page. Do you

think they'll go for it?

Sidedoors can be anything that's useful to people who

are in your target audience, it doesn't have to deal

directly with your site.

Many promotion people will tell you to build 100s of sidedoors that target

certain keywords that all link to your main site. They mean sidedoors


useful content. This is spamming, and will get you banned from the


Your front window

Traditional stores dress up

their front window, because they know it's what gets

passers by interested in their shop. Your front window

is NOT your homepage. It's your title+description

meta+the first lines of your page+your URL. But mainly

your title. That's what people see in the searchengines.

That's where they decide to enter or not. Think about it.

Craft your title carefully.

Finally, I promised I would, so here they are:

The basics

  1. Search engines are not the Only Way. For

    most sites, it seems more traffic comes from well

    exchanged links than from search engines. So make

    sure to spend some time exchanging links.

  2. Keyphrases are more important than keywords. So

    'webdesign Vermont' will get you better traffic than

    'webdesign', since that one has thousands if not millions

    of competitors going for it.

  3. Metatags: use your keyword and description metatag

    wisely, and don't abuse!

  4. Content rules the waves!

    And will more so in the

    future. Get yourself some writers (real ones). Get

    yourself an editor. It'll be one of the best investments

    on the site you can make, (apart from that automatic

    burrito heating machine you've been dying to get your

    hands on).

    Jacob Nielsen recently released a new book that basically says: focus on

    quality content.

    I couldn't agree more.

    It's often better to do rewrites of your content than redesign your


Peter Van Dijck is an Information Architect with an interest in localization, accessibility, content management systems and metadata.
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