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.
As always, although I love making money doing what I love, I want to always hold true to my core values. I started this business with the goal of empowering other small businesses by helping them navigate the (sometimes overwhelming) information highway and find their place on the World Wide Web. Yes, I sell the services to do this for you – but I try very hard not to offer a service without reminding you that you can do what I do for yourself if you are willing to. So I generally don’t announce a new product or service without first putting together a “how to do this for yourself list”. So, here is my answer to the latest trend in search engine marketing (we have branded this Search Engine Dominance):
Too tired or too busy actually running your business to do all of this – no problem, we can do it for you :-). Learn how Coburn Enterprises helps customers win the Search Engine Dominance challenge!.
One of my clients called today because his “boss” just got back from a Search Engine Marketing seminar and this prompted a lot of questions – of course – I LOVE these phone calls because part of my goal with my business is to empower each client (all small business owners, most like me struggling to make a living doing something they love). We did a quick review of his website and I gave him some instant homework that, if he does it will make an immediate impact on his “search rankings” – basically I walked him through the points I list on my Search Engine Dominance article on my website.
But what prompted me to write this post was his question – “are there any books you can recommend to help me understand this?”. My answer was, yes there are thousands. Then I followed up with an email stating the following:
As you read the books and articles or even websites you will find on this subject, keep in mind that 9 out of 10 sites that are telling you how important Search Engine Marketing and Social Media have become are really “selling” their services. I guess in a way I am too but I have a different take on the whole thing – my perspective is that the only thing a site owner can be 100% sure of is that the search ranking criteria WILL CHANGE – so the “quick fix” that works today may not work in 6 months or a year – therefore, the most important thing any website owner can do is make sure their site says what it does and does what it says.
Today it’s “social media” – the concept of using online communities to hype your website, filling your profile and fan pages with “key word links” and tons of borderline useless content and links back to your website. But bottom the reality if you tell the search engines your site is about Purple Widgets and you put enough key words in your page titles etc to come up number one for Purple Widgets but then Purple Widget shoppers get to your site and find out you really offer only Green Widgets – you’re going to lose in the long run.
Moral to the story – do the right thing, provide the information that people that you want to be your customers are looking for, edit that content to include the phrases, page titles and key word links (to pages within your site as well as quality complimentary sites) that they will search for and you will have success.
A hundred years ago, when I first decided to make my “profession” sales, I took a Dale Carnegie class. One of the things I carry with me to this day is that statement. The point the instructor was making was – don’t go into the sales presentation so excited to tell the customer all the reasons YOU think your product is great. Instead, give them just enough information to make them beg you to make the sale.
Years later, I applied this same principle in resume writing and job search coaching. I helped my clients sort out their skills and capabilities and decide which ones would make it so the person reading the resume couldn’t stand it – they just HAD to meet you! I would remind them that the resume was not supposed to get you the job – it was supposed to get you the interview. The ones that “got” this did extremely well.
I have found this theory applies to websites too. The goal with (most) websites is not to close the sale. The goal is to encourage the visitor to want to do business with you. Of course, if your intent is to sell products on line you might think this isn’t really the case… but it still is – they may come to your site looking for one thing but why not make them interested in learning about the rest of what you have to offer?
Don’t try to be all things to all people on your home page. Instead, provide “grabbers” and insights that will interest the variety of customers you may have and make it easy for them to drill down into the meat of what they are looking for – on ecommerce sites this is pretty easy – you can use product categories as a navigation system – but that idea can cross over to any website. In fact, this is one of the reasons blogs are so popular – it’s easy for the blogger to create navigation tools for their visitors. For example, the title of this post is Don’t spill all of your jellie beans in the lobby – but I gave it tags like “Getting people to your website is only the first step”, “How do customers find my product or service”, “Design Vs. Function” etc etc. This is becaues different people look for answers in different ways.
What do we need to tell our customers right way?
How do we support our the claims we make about the products or services we deliver?
Create a call to action….