Over the next few weeks I am going to do a series (Online Marketing Traction) of blog posts that will help you attract online customers for your local business.

This is not intended to be a complete discussion on SEO and traffic generation but a startup guide to help you get started with the basics of implementing a Lead Generation site for an offline business and start encouraging people to visit your website.

I will take you through the basics of installing a lead generation website and cover the critical elements of your setup.

Be sure to read the first in the series: Online Marketing Traction – 51 Ways to Identify Your Target Market.

Then I will go through a few basic marketing techniques to help you get started. This book is not aimed at the advanced Internet Marketer, but rather the start-up entrepreneur with limited cash flow and experience. It is designed to help you get up and running in a very short space of time without spending a lot of money or time on getting customers to visit your website.

Keywords are vital to your online success. Your goal is to organically (naturally) rank high in Google in and other search engines, so you need to implement certain SEO (search engine optimization) strategies and keywords will play an important role in those.

When you conduct keyword research, you’re doing it to learn how your prospective customer is utilizing search engines to find the information or products that they want. You then take the words (and phrases) and use them on your site, to ensure it’s relevant for your target audience.

In the old days, keywords could be stuffed and hidden all over a website to trick search engines into helping a site rank high. Now that they’ve caught on, you have to use them with a more white hat approach or risk getting de-indexed in Google and other search giants.

Where do your keywords generally need to be? Don’t discount Meta tags in your HTML code. These are still important, but they may not be the most important tactic to use anymore.

If you’re making a blog post on your blog, then the keyword should be in the URL, too. But you may have to check to ensure that your blog template is using this strategy. Under settings and then permalinks, you’ll be able to set your preferences.

For instance, many blogs default to give your post a number like this: http://www.yourblogname.com/?p=123.  You’ll need to choose custom structure and enter this code: /%postname%.html – this will make your blog post URL appear with the title of the post, where your keywords will be, like this: http://www.yourblogname.com/title-of-blog-post

Use keywords within all of your content, especially the first paragraph and preferably in the first sentence, so that the initial snippet Google shows has your keyword included (it will appear bold if the person searching uses this exact keyword in their search).

Experts disagree about what density you have in regards to keywords. Some say 2% and others go as high as 10%. What you really need to do is write both human visitors and search engine spiders alike. That means enough keywords so that the search bots see your content’s relevancy and not so many that it turns off your reader because it reads awkwardly.

Keywords are not a one size fits all. You have two very different types of keywords – broad and long tail – and they can both help your site achieve authority in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Broad keywords are very generic in nature. They tend to get more overall searches but it’s harder to rank high for those keywords due to the larger base of competitors. A good example of a broad keyword would be “dog.”

Long tail keywords are more focused and narrow. They have more words attached to them. Because fewer websites are trying to rank for those longer keyword phrases, you have an easier time ranking higher than your competition. A good example of a long tail keyword phrase would be “best dog training guide.”

For the very best results, you’ll want to use both types in your content creation. Sometimes you’ll be forced to use one over another, and sometimes you’ll choose to on purpose.

For example, when registering a domain or a web 2.0 property, you may not be able to find a URL available with a broad keyword. You may be forced to go down your keyword list and find the first available URL, which could be grouped in the long tail category.

In some instances, you’re going to want to shoot to the top of the SERP rankings, so you’ll go after a long tail keyword on purpose, whether it’s for a web 2.0 property or your own domain.

Here’s how many marketers think about the value of long tail keywords: while the long tail versions may get fewer searches individually, if you rank high for a large volume of long tail keyword phrases, you could effectively dominate in a niche where your competitor has only worked on ranking well for a couple of broad keyword phrases.

Consumers tend to type in long tail keyword phrases whenever they’re in a buying mood. Using our previous example, someone who wants to spend money on a dog training guide would go with the longer version.

A person who just types in dog could be looking for a pet, facts about a dog, pictures of dogs, or even using random slang to describe an unsavoury cad who mistreats his girlfriend. You just don’t know, so the volume of traffic may not even be from prospective buyers, making their visit virtually worthless.

You need to establish what keywords you are going to use to help rank your website.

You already know what business you are in now we just have to find out what keywords people are using to find businesses that solve their particular problem in your niche.

There are three tiers of keyword tools – free, affordable, and expensive. Which ones are worth your investment of both time and money (if applicable)? Well with free keyword tools, you’re going to run into some problems – primarily that they tend to be short-lived.

We will start with the most popular one first which is Google itself.

In order to use the Keyword Planner in Google you need to sign up for a Google Adwords account which you can do here:

http://www.google.com/adwords/start/

This tutorial here will show you how to use the Keyword Planner Tool:

https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2999770?hl=en

Once you have identified your main keywords and the number of people that are searching on those terms, put them into a spreadsheet. We will be using those keywords at a later stage to help you setup backlinks to your website for ranking purposes.

Keyword Spy is another great tool to use as well but I would recommend that you start with Google.

http://www.keywordspy.com/

Make a list of all the keywords that relate to your writing business or niche and save them in an excel spreadsheet so that you can come back to them later.

Next week we will look at selecting a domain name for your business.