Software Marketing Resource Articles: February 2005

You wrote the code, now how do you sell it?

Monday, February 28, 2005

All Companies Make Mistakes

Nearly every company, makes mistakes. In my opinion, once a mistake is discovered, it is how the company handles that mistake is more telling, than the mistake itself.

In this world there are big mistakes and there are little mistakes. Digital River recently collected information related to usage and installation of its SoftwarePassport application, without disclosing the tracking to it's customers. The actual tracking was done by including a UserAx.dll in the recent versions of SoftwarePassport and Armadillo.

Developers obviously have a number of concerns related to the new DLL. I'm hoping this article will separate fact from fiction, and get to the heart of the matter.

The concerns expressed by many of the developers were valid and not the result of paranoia. Many industry professionals initially felt that the developer fears were overblown and a result of the adware scandal that plauged the industry a few years ago. After witnessing the fall-out from the adware problems, when adware companies failed to disclose to developers they were tracking surfing habits of end-users, I think the alarm that was sounded in the industry regarding Digitial River's inclusion of the UserAx.dll was appropriate. Many developers bore the brunt of the adware scandal with tarnished reputations and their livelihood's significantly damaged. Realizing it is important to learn from history, Digital River appears to have taken developer concerns seriously.

I contacted Brant Pallazza, a VP within Digital River and requested an interview. Brant was able to coordinate answers to my questions from the Silicon Realms support staff. I felt it best to clarify some of the issues that have been raised. I also felt that it was important that developers understand the issue and that all views be represented. For simplification in the questions that I asked the Silicon Realms support staff, I referred to UserAx.ll as the "marketing module".

For clarity I've bolded the questions and italized the responses from Digital River. Brant started off by clarifying what the term "marketing" module that I used to describe UserAx.dll below.

To clarify, UserAx.dll is not actually a 'marketing module'. It was never intended to be used for any means of sales or marketing. It would be more appropriately labeled as a 'technical support component'. Given that many of Digital River's clients were having difficulty utilizing the functions within Software Passport, Digital River's intent was to use the Relevent Reach technology to help troubleshoot the problems clients were having during the download/installation process.

1.) In what versions of Armadillo and SoftwarePassport does the marketing module exist?

Only Armadillo v4.01 and v4.01a (SoftwarePassport v2.0.1 uses Armadillo v4.01a) still searches for the UserAx.DLL file, but will load it ONLY if it is found in the same directory as your protected program. However, even if it is found there, data will only be collected and sent to the Relevant Reach servers if the author has an account with Relevant Reach and the appropriate information on the user's machine. In Armadillo v4.00 beta-1 and v4.00 final (SoftwarePassport v2.0 uses Armadillo v4.00) you have the option to enable tracking of your protected program (if you have an account with Relevant Reach) by distributing the UserAx.DLL file with your program. If you do not use Relevant Reach, your protected programs will not be affected -- no data is collected. In the rare case that the UserAx.DLL is found on your machine without you explicitly installing it there, your program still won't phone home unless you have an account with Relevant Reach and the appropriate information on the user's machine. (This could occur because Armadillo v4.00 Beta-1 and v4.00 final simply used LoadLibrary to search for that DLL, meaning it will be found if it is anywhere in the path.) This issue was addressed in the v4.01/v4.01a release, which attempts to load it only from the directory where the protected program resides. Armadillo v3.78 or earlier, and SoftwarePassport v1.2.0 or earlier were not affected in any way, as they didn't include this integration at all.

2.) Was the inclusion of a marketing module in Armadillo or SoftwarePassport disclosed to software developers in a EULA or documentation?

No. We apologize that the installation of UserAx.dll was silent. That was a mistake and we apologize for not confirming it was there.

3.) Is any information related to a developer's installation and usage of SoftwarePassport or Armadillo passed to Digital River via Digital River's Relevant Reach account?

Yes, only in the versions mentioned earlier. SoftwarePassport information relating to the completed download, the installation start and complete, and the number of times the program started was collected anonymously. Information was collected about the SoftwarePassport usage only. Information regarding the usage of the Armadillo Classic interface was not collected.

4.) If an application is wrapped with SoftwarePassport or Armadillo is any information related to the developer's end user's usage passed to Digital River?

No. The ONLY way information could have been collected from your protected applications is if you, the developer, chose to collect that information, set up your own account with Relevant Reach, and distributed the UserAx.DLL file with your protected program. Regardless, DR would not have access to the information.

5.) Can the information be passed to anyone other than Relevant Reach?


7.) The Relevant Reach website references a number of items that can be tracked. What specific information does the Digital River marketing module track?

We collected the following information, anonymously:

- Download start attempts
- Download completes
- Installation of SoftwarePassport starts
- Installation of SoftwarePassport completes
- The number of times SoftwarePassport was started

Again, for clarification, we did not collect any information that could in any way connect a user to the program.

Our data was aggregated to show trends, total numbers only for the purpose of troubleshooting SoftwarePassport.

8.) Some developers have expressed a concern that marketing module's DLL in question will eventually be tagged as spyware, whether or not it actually sends data. If that occurs then every Armadillo 4.x protected application will be marked as spyware. Is that correct?

No. Relevant Reach has expended time and energy to cooperate with, and ensure white listing of their program within the spyware definition market. In addition, as clarified in question 1 above, Armadillo v4.00 beta-1, v4.00 final, Armadillo v4.01 and v4.01a are the only versions that have integrations with UserAx.dll of any sort. Armadillo v4.05 beta-2 and Armadillo v4.05 final and future versions will never look for UserAx.dll no matter what. Customers with Relevant Reach accounts can contact us for a version of SoftwarePassport that includes the integration.

9.) What assurances can you provide developers that the new marketing module will not be tagged as spyware?

Relevant Reach is a component that collects anonymous data. How the publisher chooses to integrate this product, and how the publisher chooses to communicate this to the end user will determine whether or not third parties would consider the program spyware. For Digital River, it was clear that the usage of this technical support component without full disclosure to our customers was a mistake. This is the reason why we've completely removed the program going forward.

10.) Developers worry that it is possible for an existing Relevant Reach activated application to "enable" the marketing module that is on the same system in another application. Is it possible?

In other words an Armadillo or SoftwarePassport wrapped application includes a DLL in the directory of another program that appears to be protected with Armadillo or SoftwarePassport. Thus passing that applications information back to Relevant Reach. Is it possible for this to occur?

No, it is not possible. Again, only SoftwarePassport included the Relevant Reach component. The Armadillo Classic Interface did not include or capture any data. That being said, the developer (or software publisher) would need to have an active account with Relevant Reach in order for any data regarding their program to be collected. This would be a conscious decision and a full integration with the Relevant Reach library.

1.) Will a final version of Armadillo and SoftwarePassport be made available that does not include the marketing module, not just the option to turn it off? If so when?

Yes. As posted in the Silicon Realms public forum, Armadillo v4.05 Beta-2 is now available via the Silicon Realms website. This new beta version NEVER looks for the UserAx.dll, no matter what.

12.) What efforts will be made to contact existing Armadillo and SoftwarePassport customers to disclose the usage of tracking information available in SoftwarePassport and Armadillo?

An email will be sent to users who have purchased Armadillo and SoftwarePassport versions that integrated with Relevant Reach and the information contained from the website will be presented to them for review, along with links to download versions of Armadillo which do not include the Relevant Reach library.

13.) What assurances can be provided to developers that full disclosure will occur in the future?

Going forward, any inclusion of a library or component in which data can be collected will be completely optional. In fact, users will need to explicitly and consciously opt in to have this component included with their download. All information will be available to the end user to understand and accept/reject the inclusion of the library within the install of SoftwarePassport.

Commentary from SMR
Lets take a look at Digital River's response to their error. The initial response to concern expressed by developers was posted to: . The post was in response to posts in the Silicon Realm's forum, and a private forum frequented by developers. Because many of the developer's concerns were posted in a private forum, Digital River had to be very careful that their response was public, being a publically held company, any private responses had to be carefully worded, so that it could not be misconstrued as any insider information.

One of the paragraphs in the public post included in a statement that did nothing more than anger and frustrate developers.

"In the meantime, please be assured that Relevant Reach has met the criteria of SAFE certification process and standards and has been certified as non-spyware by Aluria Software, a recognized leader in the anti-spyware industry."

In my opinion the Aluria certification of Relevant Reach, is a bit of a red herring, because it clearly relates to the Relevant Reach website not their tracking application. Also many developers felt that paying for certification, created a illusion that was nothing more than a false sense of security. Aluria does not have any global influence with anti-spyware applications that would prevent the UserAx.dll from being marked spyware.

That being said, I think that even within the constraints of a large company Digital River has ultimately handled the situation professionally.

I think Brant Palazza, VP of Shareware Division accurately summarized the situation in his final comments:

At the end of the day, it was a poor decision to include the Relevant Reach code into SoftwarePassport especially without the express consent of the users. I hope that DR's quick reaction in releasing a "clean" version is a demonstration to all that the inclusion of the code was not done with any intention other than to improve the usability of Software Passport, as the attached responses indicate.

As an owner of a small business who has made mistake's I appreciate Brant's candor. Ultimately the developers who have voiced their concerns the loudest, represents a very small portion of Digital River's business, yet Digital River listened and quickly removed the offensive DLL. While I don't feel what Digital River did was right and their response a little slow for my taste, I understand how corporate beaurecacy works and realize their intent was not to harm developers but to collect information to increase their conversions. Something all developers try to do every day.
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Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Google Sandbox

Before we get too far into an explanation as to what Google's sandbox is, it must be noted that not everyone even agrees that the sandbox exists. The sandbox is actually nothing more than a theory developed to explain what many different SEO experts have witnessed with their listings. Whether or not the sandbox really exists is actually irrelevant when we know that the effects of the sandbox exist.

Google's sandbox is a relatively new filter that appeared to be put in place back in March of 2004. This happened after the widely publicized updates of Austin and Florida, and the implementation of what is known as the Austin update. If you are not sure what those are, there is no need to worry as those updates are now for the most part in the past. The sandbox filter seems to affect nearly all new websites placing them on an initial "probation" status. The effect of this is that new websites may get into Google's SERP's (search engine results pages) relatively quickly and may even perform well for a couple of weeks. When the filter is applied to the new website it is referred to as being put in the "sandbox". The new website will still show in the result pages, but it will not rank well regardless of how much original, well optimized content and regardless of how many quality inbound links the site may have. The filter restrains new websites from having immediate success in the search engine result pages.

The sandbox filter seems to affect almost all new websites, with very few exceptions. It is important to note that the filter is not a punishment for anything the webmaster did with their new website. The filter is merely an initiation period for new websites.

The sandbox filter also affects more competitive keyword driven sites more than sites that key in on less competitive keywords. If your website focuses on very competitive keywords, you are likely to remain in the sandbox for a longer period of time than if you focus on keywords that are relatively non-competitive keywords.

Why Does the Sandbox Exist?

There is a lot of debate as to whether the sandbox filter is a good thing for Google to implement or not. Obviously webmasters who are trying to get their sites well positioned in Google do not like the sandbox filter as it prevents them from receiving the huge levels of traffic that a top listing in Google can bring. The filter was not implemented at random, however, and there is some good reasoning for the filter existing.

As the SEO community figured out the basic elements of Google's ranking algorithm, inbound links, original content rich with keywords, and the proper use of anchor text, search engine spammers began to take advantage of these elements. Search engine spammers would setup websites that were in clear violation of Google's policies with the knowledge that eventually their website would be banned from the listings. This, however, did not matter. If a search engine spammer could get their website to rank well in Google for even one month, the profits they could make from that one month would justify the cost of building the site in the first place. All they needed to do in the future was to rebuild their spam websites with different domains and slightly different content. The idea for spammers was a simple one. Capitalize off of Google's traffic for as long as they can (before they get banned), then do it all over again with a new website. The method was extremely effective and easy to implement.

What made this all the more easy to accomplish was Google's extremely fast indexing. While other search engines would take several months to index a new website, Google could index a website in as little as one month (they are now indexing sites within a few days). Search engine spammers were living large off of Google's generosity.

To solve this problem, Google determined that it would compromise. They would still index websites quickly, attempting to get as much new, fresh content out to the general public as possible, but they would not trust new websites implicitly as they had in the past. All new websites that were launched would be put on probation. As time passed, and as the sites continued to pass any spam filters they ran, the website will not be held back from performing well in the rankings. Eventually, after quite a bit of time had passed, a site would be allowed to "leave" the sandbox and join the rest of the established websites.

How Does This Affect My Website?

If you have a new website, there is a good chance that you will be placed in the sandbox. This should be expected, but it should not change the way you build your website or market it. You should use the sandbox filter to your advantage.

Google still ranks websites in much the same way that they had in the past. Websites are judged on the quality of their inbound links and the quality of their content. Google will continue to change how they evaluate inbound links and content, but the basic elements of their rankings will remain the same.

While your website is in the sandbox, you should use this time to build your traffic using regular traffic building methods such as writing articles, building a strong community of visitors, and partnering with websites that offer some synergy to your visitors. During your time on probation, you have an excellent opportunity to build all the elements that cause websites to perform well in the search engines. When you finally do leave the sandbox, your website should be very well positioned within Google.

Is My Website in the Sandbox?

When webmasters learn about the sandbox filter, their first question is always whether or not their website has been placed in it. Determining whether or not you are in the sandbox is a relatively easy task to do. First, being placed in the sandbox is different than having your website banned.

If you do a search for your domain in Google and they return zero results for your website (and you had been previously listed in Google), there is a chance that you have been banned. One of the best ways to determine if you have been banned is to look at your log files to see if Google is visiting your website. Banned websites typically do not see Google visit their websites, regardless of who is linking to them.

If you have not been banned, but do not rank well with Google, you should look at the quality of your content and the quality of your inbound links. You should also see if you rank well for non- competitive keywords. Remember how the filter affects competitive keywords more than less competitive keywords? Well, you can use this to determine if you have been sandboxed. Finally, if you rank well in all the other major search engines, but do not show up at all in Google's rankings, you have probably been sandboxed.

Is There A Way to Get Out of the Sandbox?

The quick answer to this is yes, there is a way out of the sandbox, but you will not like the answer. The answer is to simply wait. The sandbox filter is not a permanent filter and is only intended to reduce search engine spam. It is not intended to hold people back from succeeding. So eventually, if you continue to build your site as it should be built, you will leave the sandbox and join the other established websites.

Again, if your website has been placed in the sandbox you should use this time to your advantage. It is a great opportunity to build your traffic sources outside of the search engines. If you have a website that does well in the search engines, you may be tempted to ignore other proven methods of traffic building such as building a community, or building strong inbound links through partnerships. However, if you establish traffic sources outside of search engines, when you finally leave the sandbox, you will see a welcome increase in your traffic levels.


Google has been going to great lengths to cut out on search engine spam. Some have faulted them on the lengths that they are going to claiming that it is effecting legitimate sites as well as the spam websites. While this is probably the case, as an owner of a website you need to place yourself in the position of Google and ask yourself what they are really looking for in a website. Google is looking for websites that offer quality content. Google still relies on the natural voting system that was first used to establish pagerank. They may change the way that they qualify content or inbound links, but the basic elements of a quality website will always remain the same.

No website owner in their right mind will "like" Google's sandbox. However, a smart website owner will use the sandbox as an opportunity to build a website that Google simply cannot refuse.
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Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Webmaster RSS Tools & Resources

Considering the ever-increasing support for RSS in online communities, we have compiled a list of resources and products that will benefit webmasters, web surfers and publishers in their quest to understand the power of RSS. RSS has rapidly become an alternative communication venue. In order to understand the full benefits, consider utilizing some of the following tools and resources.

1.) RSS Tools - RSS feeds bring automatically updated information straight to your desktop. You can monitor or promote news, job listings, personals, and classifieds using RSS. The following tools assist webmasters in using RSS to maximize their time.

RSS Readers - RSS readers are designed as tools to view RSS feeds, making it easier for users to view and manage the content of a feed. Feed readers make it easy to mark feeds as read or flag items that are important. The following are some of our favorite RSS readers:

FeedDemon - FeedDemon is a client that can retrieve and organize RSS feeds from the Internet. It comes pre-configured with several news feeds, and you can easily add your own by adding the URL for an RSS feed of your choice. FeedDemon offers an attractive and easy-to-use interface with integrated web browsing.

FeedScout - Feed Scout is a RSS/ATOM/RDF reader that can be used directly from Internet Explorer. Feed Scout enables you to view RSS/ATOM feeds from different sites directly in Internet Explorer. You can even set your Home Page to show your favorite feeds.

2.) RSS Creation Tools - As RSS feeds have increased in popularity and breadth publishers and webmasters have struggled to find a solution to create RSS feeds. The following tools will assist webmasters in creating RSS feeds:

FeedForAll - Desktop software used to create, edit, manage and publish RSS feeds. New RSS feeds can be quickly and easily created with FeedForAll. Advanced features enable you to create professional-looking RSS feeds quickly. Existing RSS feeds can be repaired and enhanced with FeedForAll. RSS feeds generated by other means can be automatically repaired, so that they conform to the RSS 2.0 specification. Existing feeds can be enhanced to contain advanced feed properties, and give them a more professional look.

3.) RSS Articles and Tutorials - Articles and tutorials based on RSS and designed to demystify Really Simple Syndication for users and publishers. RSS Specifications - RSS Specifications contains a collection of articles related to RSS and news feeds that assist both publishers and users in deciphering Really Simple Syndication.

RSS Specifications - RSS Specifications contains a collection of articles related to RSS and news feeds that assist both publishers and users in deciphering really simple syndication.

Make RSS Feeds - Step by step instructional tutorial detailing how to manually create an RSS feed.

4.) Ebay Monitoring Using RSS - Monitor online auctions for specific items of interest. As eBay has grown it has become difficult to discern and locate specific auction items. By using RSS tools users can easily recieve instant notification when a specific item is being auctioned.

Free Bidding Tools - FMonitor online auctions for specific items of interest. As eBay has grown it has become difficult to discern and locate specific auction items. By using RSS tools users can easily receive instant notification when a specific item is being auctioned.

5.) Web Monitoring - Monitor the Internet for specific news items or blog topics of interest. A number of free online RSS tools make web monitoring very easy.

PubSub - Monitor the Internet for specific news items or blog topics of interest. A number of free online RSS tools make web monitoring very easy. PubSub - Every day, PubSub's matching engine performs billions of matches of new items against user subscriptions. The instant a match is made, PubSub alerts the user via RSS. PubSub monitors more than 6.5 million blogs, as well as 50,000 USENET newsgroups, all SEC/EDGAR filings, press releases from major wire services, and FAA airport delay alerts.

Google News Monitoring Using RSS - This free online tool turns a Google news search into an RSS feed.

6.) Other RSS Tools - Alternative tools for creative webmasters.

RSS2Wap - The RSS2Wap site is meant for online conversions of RSS feeds into WML for access on WAP devices (RSS2WML, RSS WAP or RSS-to-WAP). It's free and you can make a link on your web site.

7.) RSS Graphic Tool - Websites that have RSS feeds available use colorful graphics as flags to indicate to web surfers that RSS feeds are available for specific content.

RSS Graphic Tool - Websites that have RSS feeds available use colorful graphics as flags to indicate to web surfers that RSS feeds are available for specific content. RSS Graphic Tool - Customize RSS buttons. If you have limited time and lack artistic abilities, use this free online RSS graphic tool to create an RSS button. The button's color and text can be customized to suit the look and feel of your website.

8.) Displaying RSS - Many webmasters display the contents of RSS feeds on their web pages as a fresh source of content and information that changes on a regular basis.

Java Options - Using Java to display RSS feeds is a very easy way to provide dynamic content with very little effort. Unfortunately, when you use Java to display RSS feeds, search engines do not see the feed's content, so the content is not spidered and ultimately will not help with search engine optimization.

Quick RSS Feeds - Free online tool that allows you to simply enter the URL of the RSS feed, define the number of items you would like displayed, and the Java script will be automatically generated.

FeedRoll -A free service for syndicating popular RSS and ATOM news feeds on your website or blog. Select a feed, customize the design, then copy and paste the code provided onto your page.

RSS to Javascript - was designed to easily convert any valid RSS, RDF or ATOM feed into easy-to-implement Javascript. No XML or programming experience is necessary.

PHP Options - The benefit to using a PHP script to display RSS on a website is that the content dynamically updates but search engines see the content as static.

FeedForAll's rss2html.php - If you are technically savvy and wish to host the script yourself, check out FeedForAll, as they have a free PHP script available that will display RSS feeds on a website.

FeedRoll Pro - A fee-based professional service that tracks statistical information for publishers displaying feeds. FeedRoll Pro incorporates a number of display options for publishers wishing to syndicate their content, giving users the choice of PHP or Javascript.

RSS2HTML - Display RSS feeds by selecting layouts and color schemes on this free resource.

9.) RSS Blogs
Stay informed about the latest RSS industry news by monitoring RSS blogs. Daily posts bring readers current news, industry announcements and general RSS information.

RSS Specifications - Everything you need to know about RSS. The RSS Specifications blog contains daily posts and RSS tidbits.

KbCafe - Daily posts and editorials related to RSS and new RSS products that have emerged.

10.) Publishing List / RSS Newsgroups
New RSS-Publishing List for publishers. The list is focused on marketing/publishing/operational issues rather than hardcore technical details of RSS, meaning that coding issues and disputes over the merits of RSS vs. Atom are not the focus. If you wish to participate in the list and receive e-mails of posts, simply subscribe by sending and e-mail to: rsspublishing-subscribe[at]

RSS Syndication - Collection of RSS related news feeds displayed in an easy-to-read format.

11.) RSS Related Forums - Forums can be a useful for anyone doing business online, both in terms of reading the content and actively participating in the discussions. If you want to learn more about RSS consider participating in the following online RSS communities:

2RSS - RSS forum for feed and related RSS discussions.

FeedForAll Forum - RSS forum for RSS and feed creation-related discussions.

German RSS Forum - German RSS forum for feed discussions.

12.) Locate RSS Feeds

RSS Locator - Directory and search engine for RSS content including weblogs, newsfeeds, forum feeds and related content feeds. Locate topic-specific RSS feeds for syndication. RSS Locator displays feed content in an HTML format so users can preview the feed’s content.

Syndic8 - RSS and Atom news feeds on a wide variety of topics. Designed with a directory structure and search functionality. Syndic8 also tracks statistical information related to RSS feeds.

RSS Discovery - The websites you already read may have an RSS feed. Use the BlogStreet's RSS Discovery tool and enter in a website. If there is a feed available BlogStreet will provide the URL.

12.) Submit RSS Feeds - As more and more people get involved with the Internet and as more Web sites, blogs, news services and other online resources continue to grow in number and variety, it becomes increasingly important to maintain high visibility and exposure for the content being generated by closely following the major distribution media. As a rapidly increasing number of content sources, new and old, migrate or add RSS as a key distribution channel, and as more people utilize RSS newsreaders and aggregators to keep themselves informed, the ability to maintain high exposure and visibility is gradually shifted from complete attention to major search engines and content optimization techniques to an increasing awareness of RSS feed directories and search tools.

RSS Submit - Save time and automate RSS submissions with RSS Submit from K-Soft.

RSS Specifications - Submit RSS files to the large list of RSS directories and expedite your RSS content syndication.

RSS Submission Service - A fee-based blog submission service that will submit your blog or RSS feed to more than 70 blog directories. Submissions are done manually, and this service is primarily designed for blog feeds.

RSS Top 55 - Top websites for RSS submissions. Premium service is available for a nominal fee that will prioritize the RSS site submissions in the order of importance.

Using RSS tools, publishers and webmasters can increase productivity and efficiency. RSS monitoring can often automate many of the procedures that are time-consuming and monotonous, freeing up time.
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Determining Keywords

Determining keywords is a critical step in web design. If your website and meta tags do not contain related keywords, web surfers will be unable to find your website when they conduct searches.

The formula is a little tricky - you will need to locate terms that are popular and relevant to your site. These terms may or may not be terms that *you* feel are relevant terms. The optimal terms in a site should be terms that a potential customer would use when searching for a website with your content. In order to achieve success your website should be optimized with terms and phrases that are descriptive, related to your content, and which receive a significant amount of searches. The caveat, of course, is that you want to find terms and phrases where there is little competition, so you quickly achieve high ranking in the important search engines.

relevant + popular with searchers but not with competitors = success

Markets saturated with other sites competing for search terms make it difficult to find quality keywords. Sometimes it is better to optimize for a less popular term, one that is more targeted at your visitor, as it will likely have a higher conversion rate than a less specific popular term. The first step to determining keywords is brainstorming a list of logical terms and phrases that relate to your product or offerings. This should be done by a number of individuals; sometimes people have very different ideas for search terms and by identifying a variety of people and their search terms you may tap words that hadn't occurred to you. There are a number of free and low-cost tools available online and for download that will allow you to expand and research terms that have been brainstormed. The results typically vary with the tools but overall the tools will assist you in determining where to focus your keyword efforts. The tools will often assist with pay-per-click engines, creating expanded, related keywords or phrases that can be bid on.

In addition to examining log files to see what terms customers are using to find a website, visit competitors’ web sites and examine their meta tags for additional terms, use a thesaurus to find related terms, include misspellings of keywords in your meta tag keywords, and optimize for various forms of nouns and verbs, including tenses and plurals.

Keyword Tools -

KeywordTumbler - KeywordTumbler takes existing keyword phrases and generates multiple variations, reordering the words. This allows you to build a large keyword list in seconds.

TheDowser - Overture Keyword Tool, Google Keyword Sandbox, Keyword Harvester, Google AdWords report analyzer, Google AdWords optimization tool, log file analyzer, conversion tracking and optimization tool.

WordTracker - Wordtracker helps you choose the right internet marketing keywords that will help your search engine placement and ranking. Use Wordtracker for keyword research. Web marketing is all about search engine ranking, and that starts with the proper internet marketing keywords. Get a free keyword report and web site promotion information!

Keyword Suggestion Tools - A handy little tool will show you the results of your query from both Wordtracker and Overture for determining which phrases are searched most often. Enter a search phrase below to see how often it's searched for, as well as get suggestions for alternate (but similar) keywords.

Keyword Ranking Tool - This utility can be used to check search engines for keyword ranking and track search engine ranking for your various keywords over time, which, as you probably know, is critical when doing search engine optimization.

Overture Keyword Tool - After entering a keyword or phrase, Overture provides a list of related phrases that have been searched on. The tool provides a count that indicates the number of times the phrase has been searched on.

Topword Tool - Topword Tool is a free online tool that analyzes a complete web page and counts keyword occurrences, as well as keyword phrases (number in brackets), equal to or above that set in the Minimum Occurrences setting. It supplies a list of keywords and keyword phrases which are most likely to achieve the highest rankings on a major search engine. The tool will also analyze your meta description/keyword and title tags and then, through color coding, inform you of words/phrases which should be included. The main use for this tool is checking your optimization and tweaking existing web sites to rank well.

Google Suggestion - The Google Suggestion is a new online tool for webmasters. As you type into the search box, Google Suggest guesses what you're typing and offers suggestions in real time. This is similar to Google's "Did you mean?" feature that offers alternative spellings for your query after you search, except that it works in real time. For example, if you type "bass", Google Suggest might offer a list of refinements that include "bass fishing" or "bass guitar". Similarly, if you type in only part of a word, like "progr," Google Suggest might offer you refinements like "programming", "programming languages", "progesterone", or "progressive". You can choose one by scrolling up or down the list with the arrow keys or mouse. The tool provides a number that indicates the number of searches a specific word or phrase has had.

Keyword statistics give webmasters a way to tap into what is on the minds of Internet consumers. When you can match your marketing efforts to the various ways people locate their items of interest on the net, potential customers will be streamed to your site like ants to a picnic.

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