I've started finding some real SEO stuff (starting with keywords) and finding why search engines are losing traction - just as I thought, social bookmarks are taking over.
First the basics: Use and trust your own logs, realizing that they only tell you what happened, not what could have happened.
You server logs will tell you what keywords were used to find your site. And they will be pretty much what you expected. Afterall, that's what you used to build the site. What they don't show you is the near misses. In running forklists around a warehouse, you never worry about the times you nearly hit something - only the times you did. Sure, you learn from your errors on the near misses - in order to make sure the real hits don't happen.
In SEO, you work to find those near misses so you can learn from them.
Search engines only send you the traffic you ask for, as long as someone doesn't have a better and wider target for people to find. When you have a small target, it's easy to miss it - especially when someone has a bulls-eye painted on a football field right right next to that postcard in your hand you just inked.
But -- when you can find a spot where you are the only bullseye out there, the automatic range-finding of the search engines will seek you out.
The trick in keywords is to find what has targets connected to it and those which don't.
Small sites, even when optimized for search engines, are small targets to hit - when compared to big sites which are optimized. But very few sites are really optimized that way, big or small.
Telling you to find your natural keywords was just a start. Then you have to find the related keywords around those you are using. That's where I told you to go to Google's keyword external - this gives you an idea of what related words Google looks for and associates with that keyword.
Now the fun begins.
Keywords are each interesting because they all have some usage - every single word in the English language has a certain amount of usage in the search engines (as do other languages, but I search in English). When you add more words related to your central keyword, it attracts more traffic.
What search engines are looking for are higher percentages of words in the copy, the title, the headings and incoming links to that article or post. Means you start paying attention to what you are writing - what words you are using and their order in sentences. An optimized page has no more than 5 percent use of that keyword.
I just checked my storefront and found that I had a top subject having just .97 percent of the page - although I had probably 20 books for sale on that page with that keyword in the title. So I have a ways to go in optimizing my pages.
There's some help in this, though - in all those PLR packages I got, I found included a free program from iBizResearch, who offers their Massive Keyword List Builder which is a great intro-level tool to find almost everything I need right now.
I just got their mega offer, which includes their SERP program (got to love these abbreviations), which looks - per their video - pretty hot, althought the List Builder program has most of these. I'll let you know how it turns out.
That List Builder is really good at most of what I've been looking for (even when I didn't know what I was actually looking for. Gives me the keywords and also competition, so I can find the niches I've need to build sites for - without being an also-ran in the areas I'd like to be making my money in.
Well, I have to let you go - my downloads are finishing up and I have to unpack and install them...