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Thursday, 16 January 2014 14:15

The Down Low on SEO

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seoWe all want to be number one in the search engine rankings and it is in your reach with a little hard work. The first step to the top is to realize that search engines love words!

Many designers and novice web masters make this fatal mistake right from the get go and think that they need all the bells and whistles to sell their product or service. And yes, a good design and layout do help in gaining a sale but if nobody can find your website what's the point?

To be honest fancy graphics and the latest and greatest trends in web design don't mean a thing to a search engine bot and optimization is all in the writing and were you place that writing.

To optimize a website, the first thing you should do is examine the HTML meta tags. Specifically the title meta tag, description meta tag, and keywords meta tag. You will notice a lack of graphics and an abundance of words. Those words should be your number one priority and it does require research, lots of research. While your at it take a look at all the words under that fancy header you spent hours designing and you will find more words, but these words are slightly different than the words found in the meta tags. These words are written for both the search engine and human eyes.

When you start to understand that in order to optimize your website, you need to take the time to develop a good set of keywords and keyword phrases that will be sprinkled amongst all that eye candy that represents your website visually.

Those words must be relevant and should clearly state what it is you are selling and where you are selling it. A general marketing rule is as follows:

  • A Well Written Product Description
  • A Good Explanation of Product Benefits
  • The Region you do Business In

What is not needed is a long explanation of what your product is all about, how it came to be and where it is expected to go. Your potential customer is most likely intelligent enough to realize that what your selling is what they need. So for example it really is unnecessary to explain that a pair of jogging shoes was special designed for a jogger. This would be obvious and redundant so keep it short, sweet and clear.

You could purchase the latest and greatest SEO software that will generate your keywords for you but in my experience nothing works better than some old fashioned leg work. The best way to do that is to take a good look at what your top ranking competitors are doing. Examine there keywords and consumer message, it is ok to do that you know because I guarantee they are doing the same thing and they are raking in the dough because of it.

Go to Google and think of the words a paying customer would type into the search bar to find your product or services, remember that most of these searches end up getting narrowed down to local geographic areas and this should be emphasized in your keywords and keyword phrases.

Once you have a good collection of words, use them to your advantage and be consistent and clear when writing a page of copy strategically placing those keywords and phrases into that copy. It is also important that you don't bury that copy you spent hours working on under a bunch of code in your page. A search engine bot will only dig so deep into your pages to find the heart of your website. So keep the words as close to the top of your page as possible and place a couple near the end as well.

Don't try to cheat by stuffing your page with keywords just because you can, and never try to hide them by making your text the same color as your background or with some trick you may have read about in a forum or something. This type of practice has a name called Black hat SEO, and can easily be detected by most of the major search engines. It will end up getting you labeled as a spammer or even worse getting you banned from the index. So keep it clean and it will pay off.

I have had several clients come to me with their sites and ask why they don't rank at all. After changing the pages around by adding some carefully thought out and placed words there sites shot right up in the rankings after just a few short weeks.


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