by: Donovan Baldwin
The professionals can do a lot with their take on search engine optimization strategy, but I'm not writing to them. This is for the person with limited website design expertise and who does the website design and internet marketing for their own home based internet business. There are many other ways to optimize you website for success, but here are some simple, basic things to think about.
1. Determine your key words and phrases. This is going to require a little research, and will be driven to some extent by the subject matter of your website and the products and services offered by your home business. In order to stand out from the crowd, you might want to think more in terms of key phrases rather than key words. Ask yourself the question: What would I type in if I were searching for a website related to MY website or home business?
You are trying to stand out. The words are distributed through billions of sites. The phrases are much less widely distributed, and your chance of success as a big fish in small pond is much better than trying to make it as a small fish in a monstrously large pond. One free research and search engine optimization tool I have found is called Good Keywords, and may be downloaded from http://www.goodkeywords.com/products/gkw/ for free.
2. Pick a URL in line with your search engine optimization strategy. One of the simplest yet most effective techniques is to have your key phrase right in your domain name. This is especially effective with people if it is short, to the point, and easy to remember. At the very least, having a domain name that incorporates your key phrase elevates the potential position of your website in search engine results.
3. Draft a title tag that addresses your topic and includes your main key phrase. In many instances, the title is the first thing a web surfer will see, and you know the attention span of web surfers! The title tag should not only address the needs of the person, but needs to include the key phrase to optimize your website's position in search engine results.
The title is just like the headline of an advertisement or newspaper article. It has to say enough very quickly to hook the reader and create a desire to read more. At the same time, it cannot say too much for two reasons. If "too much" just means the number of words, then the effect will not be noticed as most browsers and many search engines will only show a certain number of characters anyway, and you may wind up with a title like this: "You should pay the exorbitant price I ask for my product because..."! On the other hand if "too much" means too much information, the person may figure out what you're going to tell them and move on without taking the time to see what you do have to say.
4. Construct your Meta tags with your search engine optimization strategy in mind. Particular attention should be paid to the "description" tag. A short time ago, only a few search engines paid any real attention to the keywords any more and find their keywords within the body of the website itself. I have been hearing for some time that NONE of the search engines pay any attention to them, and recently attended a workshop on search engine optimization where this was stated as a fact by the internet marketing professionals who presented the workshop. But you never know! As long as they are still part of the Meta tags, make sure you include them.
The description, on the other hand, particularly for some search engines, is the text presented in the search engine results. For this reason, if you think of the title tag as the headline for your "advertisement", you should consider the description to be the ad itself while still retaining enough mystery to lure the surfer to the site itself.
5. Within the first few sentences of your web page, reinforce the promise of value hinted at in the title and description, and make sure you use your key phrase. In fact, the key phrase, or phrases, should show up throughout the page, but the first few lines of text are very important. Not only will humans key onto the presence of the key phrases, but so will many search engines, and this can raise the search engine ranking of the site. After all, that's what search engine optimization is all about.
Be careful not to overdo the use of key phrases, however. Search engines are continually changing their algorithms, or programs by which they assess and rank web pages, so it is difficult to give an exact percentage of use that is best. Additionally, one search engine may give your website a good rank for the way you have used keywords, while another may give it "demerits" for the same usage. This leads us to item #6.
6. One phrase you hear over and over when search engine optimization comes up is, "content is king!" In other words, the quality and inherent value of your webpage's presentation is paramount. A neat, simple page, or website, with lots of relevant info may trump the most beautifully designed and presented sales pitch.
When I began marketing online in 2000, I knew nothing about search engine optimization strategy (if it even truly existed back then), and probably less about website design. I started with free websites because I didn't know how to purchase domain names and hosting, and because many free web hosting sites provided templates where I simply filled in the blanks.
After a period where I tried everything I could think of to get an internet business started, I finally simply tried to make sure that most websites I constructed were small, neat, simple and full of information. Many of those websites still exist today and many are still driving traffic and helping me make sales.
Copyright 2006 Donovan Baldwin