When you are adding words to your website, whether in a blog post, an article, your home page, product descriptions etc, you are creating “content”. You will often hear me talk about “keyword rich content” – what I mean is, use the keywords you want to get listed in the search engines for as many times as appropriate – but don’t use them so much that your readers will be irritated.
If you use this as a guide you will insure long term success. Here are some basics about letting the search engines know what keywords are important on the particular article (product description, blog post etc):
Use Title Tags and Alt Tags on your images and links – include your keywords (if it makes sense) but don’t use the same title and alt tags over and over again on the same page. (I’ll talk more about title and alt tags in a future post)
As the search engine computers get programmed for more and more accurate analysis of the millions of pages they are indexing and listing, it will become more and more important to “do the right thing” on your website and not just use your keywords a gazillion times.
Inbound links from relative, authoritative (meaning the search engines see those sites as consistently offering valued information) are becoming critical. The way to get these inbound links is to provide content on your website that makes people that have relevant (complimentary) websites (blogs, review sites etc) want to link to you.
Another way to get these quality inbound links is to provide the tools for people to share them on “authoritative” websites. My earlier post about the Facebook “like” button is one way to do this, but there are others I will discuss in future posts.
This is an old saying but still a true statement. When considering where to go with your website development plan it’s a critical consideration. It’s easy to get sucked into the “glamour” of a beautiful website – but will it keep your potential customer’s interest? One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is to spend money “foolishly” on their first website. I’ve been in this business for more than 10 years now – I’ve seen a lot of really ugly websites – but in all honesty some of the ugliest websites are getting the BEST results! Why? because they carry the CONTENT that the site visitor is seeking and it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. Content aside though, you want your first time visitors to feel good about taking time to look around. I encourage my clients to consider these 3 points:
1. Content will bring them in.
2. Design will get them to stop for a minute
3. Usability will encourage them to hang around and learn why they should choose YOUR company to meet their needs.
Even I forget the importance of easy navigation some times. If, like me, a person spends much time browsing the web getting around websites becomes second nature but if your target market might (and most do) include people that view the web as a tool and not a passtime, beware – if you make it hard to get around the most beautiful graphics in the world will not keep them there.
To make a good first impression – combine the best of the best:
Make sure your site provides enough information to make them glad they clicked the link to get there.
Make sure your design – color and graphics theme – is appealing to your target market – if you have a broad range of demographics it’s always better to go for “understated elegance” than totally now graphics – it’s just like a job interview – better to have your outfit unnoticed than noticed for all the wrong reasons!
Make it easy to do more than walk in the front door. Don’t try to break out of the box – people are used to some basic navigation tools – if you don’t provide them they might find someone that will. Think about it – no matter how GREAT a restaurant might be – if it’s hard to get there you won’t go nearly as often as you would if it were just around the corner and had plenty of free parking.
You get emails about it, you read about it on chat boards and forums, you know it’s what makes your site “successful” but what does it really mean?
Search Engine Optimization is the art of taking your site’s content and making sure it mathematically reflects the value it offers to your target market.
You have a website, you want your website to be seen by as many people as possible. In order for your site to be found when someone searches for what you are promoting on your website the search engines (computers) have to believe that your site has the best answers to their request. Search engines are run by computers, therefore, they make determinations on black and white statistics. They don’t care how pretty your site is, they don’t even like “high tech”. What they care about is the math – what percentage of your site matches the search criteria and how many honestly related sites link back to you? This is often referred to as “keyword relevance”.
In summary, when writing content for your website think about your potential customers and how they might search for you if they didn’t know you existed. What problems do you solve and how would someone with those problems try to find you? Once you know this, you are ready to optimize your site. Remember, it’s not about keyword spamming – it’s about honestly providing the information that people that come to your site are hoping to find.
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