My how times have changed! It used to be that keyword research was 'Ground Zero', the foundation for all Internet marketing. We even used to say – and mean it! – that "our keyword research is the 'fuel' that powers our success."
That was because the Internet, and all user behavior revolved around words and phrases. It's how we navigated, using words and phrases to search, how Google and other search engines organized, categorized, and ranked everything, and how everything was linked together.
But much has changed.
The Internet has evolved from a task-oriented network linked by words to a social web connected through words, pictures, and relationships.
Even more significantly, keyword focus and optimization is increasingly used by Google as a negative ranking signal. It can hurt your rankings, or worse.
On top of that, Google no longer provides all the keyword information that we've grown accustomed to, making it significantly harder to do some things we used to take for granted, like seeing all of the keywords that drove traffic to our site.
Setting Up Your Promotions
Once you have your content and your site starts to take shape, you’ll need to set up your promotions – how you promote, and what a visitor has to do in order to purchase what you promote.
What you do will depend in part on your website’s “Reason For Being”.
If you are specifically reviewing the products you are promoting, it becomes a simple matter of including your affiliate link in your reviews.
For everything else, you’ll want to decide whether to include links within your content, have separate ads, or both.
Whether you’re using an affiliate network or direct merchant program, you’ll get your links and ‘creatives’ – images/ads – from them.
As a general rule-of-thumb, graphic ads should be placed in your sidebars, and text links within your content.