If you're new to marketing, there are a ton of useful resources on the Internet to help you get your job done. There are so many, in fact, that it's hard to know which ones you should use. You can't go wrong with Google, however, so here are some resources from the world's biggest search engine.
I got these from Kevin Gibbons over at Search Engine Watch. Follow the link when you're ready to check out more resources, as he lists more than a score of them. Right now, let's focus on just a few, and explain what they can do for you.
We'll start with Google AdWords (http://adwords.google.com/). If you want to run an online marketing campaign, you'll want to go here. Gibbons notes that “No matter what size your budget, a new marketer can score some easy wins advertising around Google's search results and across relevant websites.” As you'd expect for something from Google, it's easy to use. As you might not expect, you can actually reach a human if you run into problems.
Let's stick with AdWords for a moment. The service offers a free keyword research tool. While it's really intended for AdWords users, SEOs have long known that it can help you discover which keywords you should be shooting for on your website, by giving you some indication of how many searchers are using them over time. It also gives you a list of related keywords.
If we're getting into analysis, we can't overlook Google Analytics (http://www.google.com/analytics/). This service lets you see how much traffic you're getting to your website, where it's coming from, what it's doing, where it's going, and so on. You can use this information to improve your site and figure out which of your marketing efforts are really paying off. If you want to know where you should invest your marketing money – and which efforts aren't providing a good ROI – you need to use this service.
Moving back to keyword research now, you should also use Google Trends (http://www.google.com/trends). This fun service lets you compare search terms against each other and track their popularity over time. You can spot immediately whether certain keywords are only popular at certain times of the year or in certain parts of the country. You can find out which of two or more terms is used more frequently in queries (such as “laptop” vs. “notebook”), and whether one term is more popular in certain geographical than another for the same product (“soda” vs. “pop” being only one of many examples).
Finally, if you're not signed up with Google Webmaster Tools (http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/), you almost can't call yourself an online marketer. It's not just one tool, it's a whole suite that gives you tons of information on how your website is performing. You'll see detailed reports on the visibility of your pages within Google's search results, and how visitors get to your pages.
These five tools should provide you with enough information to help you see how your site is performing, and figure out how to improve its standing in Google. Good luck!
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