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Search Engine Ranking - The Tools of the Trade

By Sumantra Roy
Posted Sunday, September 19, 2004

Before you start optimizing your site for the search engines, you would need to arm yourself with some tools to help you. What follows is a brief review of four software programs that we find invaluable when we are optimizing our clients' sites.

The first and most important step in any search engine positioning campaign is identifying the keywords for which you should optimize your site. WordTracker's keyword research service is the only one on the Internet that will provide a comprehensive and powerful database of the most popular keywords in your industry. It has features that all other keyword research tools lack - for instance, it will help you identify related keywords that you would otherwise never have thought of, it differentiates between singular and plural keywords and tells you which version is more popular, it helps you identify popular mis-spelled keywords (which generally have very little competition) in your industry etc. It has a free trial version which will help you identify a few keywords. However, we recommend that you subscribe to its paid service as otherwise, you will not be able to discover quite a few keywords that can turn out to be extremely valuable to you. You can find more information on WordTracker at (

Link popularity has quickly become one of the most important factors that influence your rankings in the search engines. What is important is not only the number of sites linking to you, but the quality and relevancy of the sites that are linking to you. If you are trying to improve the link popularity of your site, until now, there has been no easy way of checking the quality and relevancy of sites that are linking to you or the quality and relevancy of sites that you are thinking of asking for links from. You could have done it manually, but it would take a tremendous amount of time. However, a new software product called Optilink automates this process to a large extent. In addition to doing an excellent job in helping you determine the quality of sites that already link to you or might link to you, it also does the following:

i) analyzes the link structures of your top ranking competitors and tells you why they rank well, so that you can emulate the same tactics that your top ranking competitors are using.

ii) allows you to do "what if" analysis - it tells you what sort of rankings you can expect if you adopt a particular linking strategy.

iii) monitor the sites that you have exchanged links with to ensure that they are still linking to you and are linking to you the way you want them to.

If you are thinking of improving the link popularity of your site, or are already doing so, we highly recommend that you obtain this product before you proceed. You can find more information on Optilink at (

An excellent way of improving the link popularity of your site is to exchange links with other sites that are related to yours. However, the main problem with this method is the sheer amount of time that is involved in identifying sites that you want to exchange links with. You may often find that the number of links that you manage to get is not worth the time that you spent in trying to get those links. Zeus will allow you to locate and exchange links with sites that are related to yours and manage those links on an ongoing basis in a fraction of the time it would take for you to do it manually.

You can download a free trial version of Zeus at ( While the program does take a while to get used to, the results that you can obtain with it are simply phenomenal. We highly recommend that you download the free trial version and try it out.

In fact, we recommend that you use both Optilink and Zeus as they are complementary to each other - while Zeus helps you quickly locate hundreds of potential link partners, Optilink tells you which of these sites are worth getting links from and which of these sites you should avoid.

Agent Web Ranking
Once you have optimized your site for the search engines, you will need to continuously check your site's rankings. We have found Agent Web Ranking to be the most reliable tool for telling us how our clients' sites rank in the search engines. Apart from the major U.S. based search engines, it also supports plenty of European search engines. One problem with most such position reporting software is the fact that the search engines constantly change the way they display their search results. This means that most position reporting software get outdated very quickly and it often takes an unacceptably long time for the company producing the software to prepare an update. However, Agent Web Ranking is the only program which has a guaranteed 72 hour turnaround time - i.e. if any search engine changes the way it is displaying results, it will have an update for that engine within 72 hours or less. You can find more information on Agent Web Ranking at (

About the Author
Article by Sumantra Roy. Sumantra is one of the most respected search engine positioning specialists on the Internet. To have Sumantra's company place your site at the top of the search engines, go to (
For more advice on how you can take your web site to the top of the search engines, subscribe to his FREE newsletter by going to (


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