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Increase website traffic by following a few simple suggestions.

Search engines have dramatically changed the way they rank websites, causing webmasters to re-think the way they approach marketing websites. In the late 90's, page rank was determined by webpage coding, and it was easy to fool the search engines. This is no longer the case.

It is important to target the right keywords in order to generate website traffic. 'Keywords' refers to a phrase or word that can be typed into a search engine to find your product. Most of the search engines look at page content and analyze it for keywords. Meta-tags have very little weight, but page title and description have an increased importance. Be sure to insert your keywords.

Here are the most common searches (in order of importance) this week:

Eminem, Christmas, Usher, Britney Spears, Green Day, Nelly, Destiny’s Child, Lindsay Lohan, Ciara, Snoop Dogg, PlayStation 2, Jessica Simpson, Mario, Simple Plan, JoJo, Tupac Shakur, Blink 182, Kelly Clarkson

You can update this list regularly: http://buzz.yahoo.com/weekly/

Many people go to the search engine Google and bid on these keywords. Google uses an auction format, allowing you to place a bid. You will see these results in the 'Sponsored Links' on the right side of the search page. Top results can range from as little as 20 cents per visitor, depending on the competition for your keyword.

The key to good search engine placement is content. The more information you offer on your subject, the more likely your webpage will achieve a high ranking. Many search engines, such as Google, examine the content of a page to see if it is really related to the targeted keywords. They also measure word count. If you are writing an article to attract the search engines, try to have a word count of 550 to 1,000.

Search engines will crawl a site map. Place a site map on your website and link to it from your front page with a simple text hyperlink (as opposed to a graphic image). Then, use hyperlinks to link from your site map to the rest of the pages on your website. This will allow the search engines to index your entire website.

Search engines have a hard time indexing websites that are in frames or that have a Flash introduction. Keep your front page simple with content that is relevant. This will give you a better chance of rising in the rankings.

In pursuing profitability, we expect most search engines to move to a 'Pay for Placement' model. Until then, by simply implementing these website marketing ideas, you can generate more traffic for your websites.

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Radha Khalsa