If you make a product good enough, even though you live in the depths of the forest, the public will make a path to your door, says the philosopher. But if you want the public in sufficient numbers, you better construct a highway.William Randolph Hearst (American Publisher, Editor and Politician, 1863-1951)
How true! – Regardless if we’re talking about your offline brick-and-mortar facility or your online facility… your website. You simply need to create that highway leading to your door.
One of the great things about the Internet and having an online presence in the form of a website is that it provides us an excellent means to not only build one highway, but an unlimited number of highways – much of which can be done for little or no cost other than little bit of sweat equity. Is it the be-all end-all? Absolutely not! However, in my opinion it provides one of the best bangs-for-the-buck for small businesses to build those much-needed highways.
The main idea here is to make it real easy for the people you want to find you, to find you. On the Internet, it just so happens that search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and MSN Search facilitate that process and ultimately make the Internet more usable. Now search engines work off the premise of bringing their users the most relevant content for whatever they are searching for. So while it’s great for you to put up a website and provide relevant content, it’s just not enough. You have to help the search engines understand just how relevant your content really is. You can begin that process by carefully planning out and implementing the following 7 keys to making your website search engine friendly.
Before we get started though, it’s important for you to know what keywords people are typing in to these search engines when searching for what you offer. One great way to do that is to use a Keyword Selector Tool such as the one provided by Yahoo in their ‘Resource Center’ to pinpoint your keywords of choice – So basically if you’re selling widgets and the word ‘widgets’ is commonly searched for (as confirmed by the keyword selector tool), then ‘widgets’ might be a good choice for your keyword.
Once you’ve properly targeted your keywords, which might be different for each page of your website, at a minimum, leverage them in the following manner to create relevancy for your keywords in the eyes of the search engines.
Use a keyword-rich domain name for the address of your website.
For example I provide marketing coaching and consulting services with a major emphasis on online marketing, therefore I use the keyword phrase ‘online marketing’ in my domain name – hence my URL is www.OnlineMarketingMuscle.com.
Use a keyword-rich ‘Title’ tag in the HTML code of your website.
Suffice it to say that a well thought out title tag will have a major impact on determining your websites relevance to the search engines and should be very carefully crafted.
Use a keyword-rich Meta ‘description’ tag in the HTML code of your website.
This Meta tag should be used to provide a more detailed description of what your visitors should expect from stopping by your website.
Use carefully selected keywords in the Meta ‘keywords’ tag in the HTML code of your website.
This is simply a tag that tells the search engines what keywords they can expect to see throughout your website.
Make sure that you use your keywords throughout the content of your website.
In the search engine optimization world, we call this your ‘keyword density‘. As defined in the popular online encyclopedia called wikipedia, keyword density is the percentage of words on a web page that match a specified set of keywords. Failure to do this throws up a flag that your site may not be about what you say it is – and search engines don’t typically like that.
Use keyword-rich ‘Anchor Text’ for internal and external links on your website.
Anchor text as defined in wikipedia is the text a user clicks when clicking a link on a web page – So instead of using less meaningful or even meaningless text as the label for your hyperlinks, use keyword-rich ones.
Use keyword-rich Heading Tags (sometimes referred to as H tags) throughout the content of your website.
Simply put… text within the heading tags are typically seen as more important than other text on the page – and keywords used here will appear to be more relevant to the search engines.
So in closing, please note that my intention here was not to technically educate you or anyone else on how to implement these keys – only to bring your awareness to them. If you do not know how to implement them on your website, may I suggest that you schedule some time with either your webmaster or a search engine marketing consultant to discuss doing so as soon as possible.
Additionally I’d like to leave you with a little bit of a heads-up here. The rules of the search engine marketing game literally change every day – yes I did say every day. This is done to keep the playing field fair for all by making it more difficult for people to craftily slant the odds in their favor. However for the most part the 7 keys that I’ve shared here seemed to have stood the test of time so far and if implemented properly can only help you.
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