Top 10 Reasons A Website Fails To Perform

You’ve taken the time to finally build a website, and now it is online. Months go by. Maybe you get a few visitors now and again. Maybe you land on the search engines. Mostly though, it just sits there. Is the website you paid for pulling its weight?

A website is a tool and can be of significant help to your business. It can cut a lot of time you put into giving information to customers. It can answer questions and perform tasks for you. Find out where websites fail to perform and how you can figure out where to make it better.

1. Undefined Website Objectives

Some sites try to do way too much at once, or worse, they have no definable purpose. Many provide no clear objective. A site can do more than look good and flashy and have your contact information.

Websites can be informational, storing content and articles based on a topic. Sites can run eCommerce solutions that help you with your sales process. It can also generate leads, asking customers to fill out forms with their information and interests. It can also be a hybrid site, with mixed purposes, like offering a free ebook or free access to information (informational) in return for contact information (lead generation).

Defining the purpose of your website gives a clear direction to your customers. Where should customers arrive when they find your website? Where do you want them to end up? Using a clear path and clear objectives, you can lead them through your site, your products, and your information, depending on how you need to sell your products. Not all products or services can be sold directly in an eCommerce situation. Maybe you prefer just getting to know your customer a bit more, and being able to forward marketing materials, so a lead generation type of site might be more suitable.

Assign a secondary objective. Maybe after visitors sign up for free access, or an ebook, they are encourage to ask more by contacting your sales reps, or perhaps they can make a direct purchase online. Use a clearly definable call to action. “Email for more information.” “Clíck here to sign up.” Tell visitors where to go.

2. Unidentified Target Audience

Demographics have been used in marketing for generations. Marketers use the information because it works. Knowing who your audience is defines the purpose to your website and calls out those who qualify and would be interested in your products. Marketing is the one area where discrimination is actually a good thing! You don’t want to waste the marketing dollars that draw people to your site who won’t need your products in the first place.

Get to know who your clients are. Are they male or female? How old? Where are they located? What do they do for a living? Habits, income levels, preferences, they can all be discovered with a quick email, phone call or have your current customers take surveys and help you figure out what your clients want.

3. Building for the Wrong Audience

Your site can have a purpose and a select audience, but if it doesn’t appeal to audiences, they tend to go elsewhere. Finding preferences is only the first step. Once you figure out what your demographic is, it is time to find out what appeals to them, and use that to your advantage. It could be something as simple as site colors and images, to where and how they prefer to use navigation systems and the type of content presented.

Maybe you need simple content, easy to read and understand for younger audiences. Perhaps you need something a bit more technical for professionals. You can even see if you need to add features for those who are visually impaired. Paying attention to your demographic and their preferences can mean building your website around their likes and getting more responses.

4. Oblivious to Web Traffic Sources

A link on a Harry Potter fan club forum to your website can bring in traffic, but does it really bring in the right customers? If you’re not directing traffic from sites relevant to yours or where a matching market exists, you might end up with empty hits to your website. It looks pretty on stat pages but it doesn’t really do anything.

Refocus your efforts on search engine optimization and focus on keywords that do fit, not just what might be popular. You can plan the sort of traffic you want and focus your outreach efforts on that. Planning your search engine campaigns can make them more effective, bringing the right customers to you. You don’t need 1,000 random visitors a day, when 100 qualified visitors will do.

5. Underestimating the Competition

Who says you can’t grab ideas from your competition? Find out what they are lacking and draw customers to your site by adding more features and information. Your target audience is searching the web for your product. Don’t let your competition become more appealing.

Understand your competition by observing their sites. Where are your competitors linking? Where aren’t they? What designs do they use on their site? Does your target audience like that type of design or do they want something better? Figure out how to improve your site and make it better than your competition.

6. Poor Site Communication and Inconsistency

If you’re building a website, is one page orange and another blue? Does one page have your logo and another doesn’t? People love consistency.

Does your content and images display the right message? Your website might have pretty pictures of your children, or a fun story about what happened to you last Christmas, but is it really what your customers want to know?

Skip the personal info, unless it’s relevant and your audience wants to hear about it. You also need to make sure you present your brand in its best light, and consistently give visitors the same presentation every time and on every page. Let your brand stand out.

7. Outdated and Antiquated Site Features

Out with the old. Check your site for old content and images and delete them. Remove old links that go nowhere too. Forget pop ups and old methods of keeping visitors around. Content is great, but if it’s so old that it’s irrelevant, you’ll lose respectability and your expert status.

Stick to new information. Don’t be afraid to get rid of old articles and delete old images. Do an update on your site features, like navigation systems and contact forms.

8. Poor Overall Site Performance

You’ve plastered all there is to know about you on a few pages. Is this the right way to do it? Maybe not. Yes, you’ve given them something to look at, but you have to remember, your time to impress people on the Internet is limited to just a few seconds. Long passages of text, lengthy forms, even poorly constructed or confusing navigation can slow people down, which leads to people leaving.

Making your website flow is all about making your site easy to read, easy to browse and easy to find what you’re looking for. Include a search function, highlight popular pages, and make it simple for people to give you their information. Start with short forms, only the essentials, and a few simple questions. You can get more info later.

9. Lack of Commitment

When was the last time you updated additional information to your website?

Remember those “Website Under Construction” images from the early years of the Internet? Over time, people have learned those images are pointless. Your website is ever evolving, ever needing updating. Your website is isn’t ever finished.

You must make a commitment to update information and to improve interest in your site from visitors. It could be as simple as updating a blog once or twice a week, or updating about sales and special events. Give visitors something to come back to, and let them turn into regular guests.

10. Not using an Experienced Web Firm

You do a good job with what you do, and a good business and website owner knows when to call for help. Maybe you’re okay with writing content, but you need help with creating navigation and setting up forms. It’s okay to ask someone else for help, either with a few pages, or for the entire site design, and leave it to a professional.

It also saves money and time getting someone else to do the complicated things for you. Are you spending weeks on figuring out a web page design set up when it takes a professional a few hours to produce? When you’re in business, you consult with professionals who will help you build a better website, develop methods of search engine marketing strategies, and find out how to appeal to your target audience. You save tíme, money, and plenty of headaches.

About The Author
Gary Klingsheim is the Vice President of Moonrise Design. Moonrise is a San Diego web design company specializing in flash web site design and . Visit us online today or call us at 415.887.9240 to discuss how we can help you make the most of your online presence.

Enhancing Web Effectiveness With Audio Sound Design

The average person is exposed to an assault of stimuli each and every moment of our waking day. Some of this stimulus catches our attention, but much is filtered out as extraneous, useless, or unimportant. This filtering is our way of handling the constant barrage of information we endure. As marketers it is our job to cut through all the meaningless, random white noise of life and penetrate the consciousness of our targeted audience with our marketing messages.

Mere Subliminal Exposure

One of the weapons, tools if you prefer, professional media producers use to create an impression and influence behavior is something called mere subliminal exposure, the process of communication without explicit notice. It is a process and effect that everyone uses every day without ever thinking about it, and it is a necessity in order to deal with, and make sense of, our over-stimulated lives.

The look your spouse gives you at a dinner party, the tone of a simple comment, or the change in body language communicates a message that says, ‘stop what you’re doing before I get angry,’ or ‘let’s get the heck out of here before I die of boredom.’ But whatever the coded meaning, the communication is clear. We all have the ability to decode these kinds of minimal subliminal messages. In fact the inability of some to properly interpret these kinds of signals has lead to unfortunate consequences.

This process is not to be confused with the discredited work of James Vicary, who in 1957 faked the results of subliminal advertising in movie theaters. He claimed and later recanted that by flashing barely noticeable images of popcorn and soft drinks on the screen that it increased sales of the items by a significant amount. However, this abuse of the phenomenon does not negate the fact that people are sensitive to, learn from, and respond to a variety of subtle visual and auditory experiences that influence their behavior. The same can be said of other senses like smell and touch, but since our main concern is how to use this process on website presentations we will leave the more physical encounters to our offline marketing colleagues.

Audio Sound Design – The Art of Hidden Persuasion

The Signature Voice-over

One of the least used but most effective and economical marketing tools a website business has at its disposal is signature voice-over, or Sonic Personality. It establishes your identity and embeds your brand by giving your site a human voice.

It is the sound of the human voice that conveys all the subtlety and nuance of the message you have to deliver. Major advertisers use familiar sounding actors and actresses to deliver personality and impact. Even when an audience doesn’t recognize the voice being used, the positive attributes associated with that voice are transferred to the product or service being offered. It is not by random choice that Ford Motor Company chose Keifer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer sonic personae for the voice of their television spots or that Chili’s restaurants now employs John Corbett’s comfortable, friendly, ‘Sex and The City’ voice instead of the previously grating and irritable sound of comic Wanda Sikes.

Most website businesses cannot afford to hire Hollywood talent to pitch their products. What is important is that the voice you choose is a signature voice, a distinctive sound that delivers the script with character and style employing timber, cadence, and phrasing like only a professional voice actor can do. Of course, you must also give your voice talent the right words to say, which means you provide them with a professionally written script if you want to maximize the effectiveness of your signature voice-over.

When we think of voice-overs we usually think of commercial presentations, but here again most website businesses truly miss the boat when it comes to utilizing Sonic Personality. We all know that text on your website is important in order to attract search engine indexing, unfortunately from a marketing effectiveness point-of-view, text alone lacks impact.

People are impatient and generally do not want to read volumes of text information, and besides, most people find it difficult to read on a computer screen. Even if they do read your material, how much of it is retained, is it associated with your company, or does it just get confused with all the other stuff people see during their busy, business day?

As a solution why not turn all your website copy, including articles, into audio delivered by a professional signature voice, providing people the option of reading the text or sitting back and listening to your words of wisdom?

Of all the multimedia, marketing techniques available to you, a signature voice is the most economical option whether used as a stand-alone element or as part of a visual or video presentation.

Sound Cue Punctuation & Effects

Voice-over is not the only audio method available to the savvy website marketer. You wouldn’t write something without using punctuation: it’s what makes the words meaningful by providing the cadence necessary for maximizing the impact, but punctuation does not have to be limited to periods, exclamation marks and semicolons. Punctuation can be added in the form of sound cues and audio effects.

Professional audio engineers know what kind of sound to add to a presentation in order to draw people’s attention to certain key phrases, words, or points. In the same way a composer arranges the music score for a movie to enhance mood and build excitement, so too does the commercial audio producer turn a dry read into an authentic, memorable experience.

Sound punctuation and audio effects should not be taken lightly; audio sound design, when done properly, is one of the most complex and technical areas of multimedia, far more sophisticated than video and just as important if not more so. Where and how to use trumpet swells, rim shots, and volume variance is not just art, it’s science, and it has a profound psychological and emotional effect on the listener.

Custom Composed Music

If voice-over is the most under-utilized Web-marketing tool we have, then music is probably the most abused. No doubt music like sound design is an enormously powerful method of enhancing mood, and drawing attention to specific points and images. Unfortunately slapping on an over-used royalty-free sound loop that’s been used on everything from breakfast cereals to incontinence products is not the answer.

For music to be effective it should be unique enough to be associated with your company and arranged in such a way that it increases the presentation’s memorability and enhances its experience. In the silent movie era music was the only method of creating this kind of emotional impact, and despite today’s full range of visual presentation techniques and special effects, music scoring is still one of the most crucial elements of memorable movie-making.

When it comes to music, you are dealing with the full arsenal of psychological presentation techniques and failure to use it properly may be counter-productive.

Signature Sound Logos

One of the first things people do when they start a business is to have a logo designed. Even novice entrepreneurs recognize that a company needs some kind of visual identity, a short-form tag that conveys the brand image that can be recognized in an instant.

The advent of visual media like television and commercial TV spots did not obscure the importance of the radio-style jingle and what has become known as the sound logo or audio signature. The Maxwell House coffee percolator beat, Kellogs Rice Krispies’ ‘Snap, Crackle, Pop,’ and Tony The Tiger’s ‘Grrrrrrrrreat!’ are all classic examples of audio signature. Today we have the familiar sound of Intel’s sound logo, the powerful swell of the THX movie sound tag, and Vonage’s original goofy signature audio branding.

In today’s multimedia Web environment, your sound logo is every bit as important as your visual identity.

It’s Theater of the Mind

Radio has often been referred to as ‘theater of the mind’ because the combination of voice, sound cues, effects, music, and audio logos helped paint powerful and memorable mental images for the listener. For those old enough to remember radio dramas, the ringing of ‘Johnny Dollar’s’ telephone or the sound of ‘Inner Sanctum’s’ creaking door are forever permanently etched in the minds to anyone whoever heard them.

In a Web environment populated by millions of websites all competing for audience attention, failure to use every marketing tool at your disposal is simply foolish. If you want to be heard, it’s time to say what you have to say out-loud.

About The Author
Jerry Bader is Senior Partner at MRPwebmedia, a website design firm that specializes in Web-audio and Web-video. Visit www.mrpwebmedia.com/ads, www.136words.com and www.sonicpersonality.com. Contact at info@mrpwebmedia.com or telephone (905) 764-1246.

How to Optimize for Google: Part 3 of 3

In Part 1 and Part 2 of How to Optimize for Google I discussed general website optimization, links, and Google webmaster tools. In Part 3 we will look at a number of other considerations which play a role in successful rankings in Google, and also touch on some tactics which are best avoided.

Completing Optimization: Other Considerations

Redirects
If you need to use redirects on your site, it is very important to use the correct one. If a page is moving to a new location, or being removed all together, it is very important to have this page redirected to either the new location or the next closest page using a Permanent 301 Redirect.

While rare, if a page is being moved to a new location for a short term, with the intent of it returning to the original location, then and only then, will you want to use a Temporary 302 redirect. For more information please see Redirects: Permanent 301 vs. Temporary 302 .

Non WWW Redirects
To help eliminate page rank split, and provide your site with a little extra value, implement a non-www redirect. What this redirect will do is change the URL to include the “www” whenever a URL is accessed that does not include it. This can help to consolidate links to the correct page and give your site some additional strength. For more help on Non WWW redirects please see: How to 301 Redirect Non-WWW to WWW URL’s

HTTP Headers
Check your page headers! If you have implemented any form of redirect on your site including mod rewrites, check your HTTP headers. You may be surprised at what you find. Some forms of redirects may use a 302 code where you really want a 301. By checking your headers you can ensure all is well, and troubleshoot problems. On our website we have added our own HTTP Header Checker for your convenience.

Home Page URL
Never have more than one URL for your home page. If your home page is available and displays on more than one URL, then utilize 301 redirects on all but the main URL you want to focus on – in most cases “http://www.domain.com/”. All your links pointing to the home page should direct to the exact same URL otherwise you will split the value of your home page into multiple duplicate URL’s.

Google sees “http://www.domain.com” and “http://www.domain.com/index.html” as different pages, but displaying the same content. This splits the overall value of your home page, and can decrease the chances of rankings. By keeping it consistent with a single URL, you remove this split and retain more of the strength.

In theory having your home page split like this could bring with it duplicate content penalties, however, I have yet to see this actually happen – that said, it is best to avoid the risk all together.

XML Sitemap
XML Sitemaps are great for ensuring that Google and the other engines are able to spider your entire site. While an XML sitemap will not directly impact your search rankings it can help as Google is more likely to see any SEO based changes more quickly, which in turn can have an impact.

Robots.txt
This is the first file all search engines look for every time they visit your site. While placing a blank robots.txt file in your root folder will not help with search rankings, it will help reduce 404 errors appearing in your log files.

It is also highly recommended that if your site utilizes an XML sitemap, to include a call to this sitemap within the Robots.txt file. Simply add the following line to ensure that the major engines (including Google) can find your sitemap:

Sitemap: http://www.domain.com/sitemap.xml

Potential Blockages
If you are finding that your site is simply not being indexed it is possible that you are blocking the spiders in one way or another.

Start with checking your main site navigation, if you are using Flash or some other fancy form of navigation that could be your problem right there. Next check your HTTP headers to ensure that your home page is returning a 2xx code which indicates that the clients’ request was successfully received. Finally take a look at your Google Webmaster Tools for any noted errors. If you are blocking Google, chances are you will be able to uncover the issue with these steps.

Duplicate Content
Duplicate content can be quite damaging to your rankings. Ensure that all content on your site is unique. Never steal or “borrow” content from another site, and never cut and paste large portions of text from one page of your site to the next. By keeping all pages of your site entirely original you stand the best chances of getting a thumbs up from Google.

Fresh Content / Regular Updates
Update your content. In highly competitive markets, sites with old static content can often slip away. Keep your content fresh and updated to keep bringing Google back to your site. If they find new pages and updated pages with every visit, they will come back more often.

Site Age
The age of your site can also have an effect on search engine rankings. While there is little you can do (short of keeping the same domain) to help on this matter, remember that the longer your site is online, the better its chances for success. It pays to select the perfect domain right from the start and not to change domains mid-stream. Older sites that stand the test of time add a level of authority in Google’s eyes. New sites seldom see rankings for competitive terms in their first year.

Note: Site Age is determined not by the date the domain was originally registered by rather by the date Google first discovered content on your site.

Load Time
Load time can have an impact in your Google AdWords Quality Score but it is unknown for sure if it can also impact your organic search rankings. It is best to keep your load time to as little as possible. If it is not already a part of the Google Algorithm, it likely will be soon. Besides, it is also best in order to give your site visitors the best experience possible.

Server Up Time
This can be a rather significant issue. If you find that your web hosting company has a history of down time, change hosts. If Google comes to visit your site once and it is down, not to worry, they will come back, but if Google visits your site often only to find that it is unavailable, you can find yourself with drastically depleted rankings.

Google Local
If you have a traditional brick and mortar store, consider submitting to Google Local . While this will not directly impact your regular organic rankings, you may find your site ranking above the organic results with a “local business results” map listing. This tends to be most common when your business is near the geographic center of a city, and when the search phrase uses a geographic modifier.

W3C Compliant Code
There is much speculation as to if W3C compliant code can have a positive impact on search rankings, and the majority believe “maybe” with some saying “yes”. Regardless, it is definitely a good idea to have your site be W3C Compliant if at all possible. Not only may it help you in terms of search rankings, but having compliant code can decrease load times, and help to ensure cross-browser compatibility, all of which are good things. If at all possible, it is recommended that sites be made to be compliant.

Many experts who took part in the SEOMoz “Google Search Engine Ranking Factors” lean towards it not being a big contributor, however, it may be an issue if Google has difficulties indexing a page properly.

A code validation service is available at validator.w3.org .

About The Author
Scott Van Achte is the Senior SEO at StepForth Web Marketing Inc., based in Victoria, BC, Canada and founded in 1997. You can read more of Scott’s articles and those of the StepForth team at news.stepforth.com or contact us at StepForth.com, Tel – 250-385-1190, TollFree – 877-385-5526, Fax – 250-385-1198

How to Optimize for Google: Part 2 of 3

Optimizing for top Google rankings includes a number of factors. In Part 1 of 3 we discussed onsite optimization. In Part 2 we will touch on incoming links as well as using Google Webmaster Tools.

LINKS
Links are very important in today’s Google rankings, but just how many links you need will depend on both the competitiveness of your target phrases, and the quality of the incoming links themselves.

Essentially the number one rule of links is to keep it relevant! Topical relevance is very important in order for inbound links to give your site the most value. If the page that links to you is relevant that is good, if the entire site linking to you is relevant, that is better.

First to get an idea of how many links you may need, take a look at the top 10 ranking sites in Google and record how many links Yahoo is noting for each site. (This is because Google does not display anywhere near all the links they have noted). The average of this count is often a good indication of how many links your site may need.

There are many different ways to get links to your site including the age old reciprocal link trade, directory links, article based links, and links from press releases.

Reciprocal Links
Reciprocal linking has seen its value drop considerably over the past few years, however, if the site you are trading with is relevant you can still receive value from these links.

Paid Links
Google frowns on paid links, however that is not to say that they don’t work. Often you can find highly reputable and relevant websites which are offering paid advertising spots. If these links are coded to link directly to your website without passing through any tracking redirects, you will in many cases see value in the form of both direct traffic and increased link densities and rankings.

Articles
Writing and distributing industry specific articles is a great way to help boost both your link counts and site traffic; for examples of such content see StepForth’s SEO Blog News articles. Consider writing articles on a regular basis and submitting them to some of the more popular services such as EzineArticles. Be sure to include a link to your site from somewhere within the article, or at the very least within your bio. Try to use a target phrase as part of the anchor text for additional value.

Press Releases
If something of importance has happened to your company such as a new product launch, or other notable achievement – essentially anything news worthy, put out a press release. Submit this press release through services such as PRWeb or PRNewsWire. Again, be sure to include a target phrase as part of the anchor text.

There are also a number of places you can get links that have basically turned south, and are not generally recommended. These include signatures in form posts, guest books, and other typically free links.

Forum Posts
Forum posts can help to marginally raise your link counts; however, with this one you must be careful. Only add a link to your site in your signature if both the forum allows it, and you are a respected member of the forum. If you are a solid contributor and your posts have depth and meaning, and the forum is highly relevant to your site, then having a link in your signature may give your site some juice. Posting wildly to random forums will in most cases get yourself banned, and will be both a waste of time and potentially make you and your site look bad.

Guest Books
In nearly all cases, do not post your link to guest books. If you happen to stumble upon a guestbook that is highly relevant to your site, the other comments are relevant to your site, and you have something useful (and again relevant) to say, then perhaps consider it, but typically focusing on links from guest books is considered SPAM and is best avoided all together.

Blog Comments
Having a link from your blog comments is not necessarily a bad thing. If you find a relevant blog post of use, and have something relevant and constructive to say, don’t be afraid to enter your link into the “URL” field of the form, but don’t try stuffing links into the comment itself.

Link Farms & Bad Neighborhoods
These are sites that allow you to simply post your link no stríngs attached. They are mostly long scrolling pages with countless links. Stay away from them. If you see one, run in the other direction. These links are bad, will not help with your rankings, and in some cases can actually damage your rankings.

Stay away from sites that cross link with obvious spammers. These networks of SPAM sites are not ones you would want your site associated with, and if you achieve links from enough of these sites it can adversely impact your rankings. Even more important, NEVER link to any of these sites – as that will certainly tie in your connection to them and give Google reason to discount your rankings.

DMOZ, Yahoo and Other Directories
Directory based links can be of significant help, especially if they are from highly reputable directories, the two biggest being DMOZ.org and the Yahoo Directory.

Getting a site into DMOZ is like Gold. Google loves links from DMOZ and your site will reap the benefits. The big catch however is actually getting your site into the directory in the first place. Find the perfect category for your site and check to see if it has an editor. If you see a link “Volunteer to edit this category” try and find another relevant location. Pages without active editors take much longer to get listed into. Once you find the perfect directory submit your site every 4-6 months until listed. If you are lucky you will get in eventually.

Yahoo Directory is seen as an authority in the eyes of Google, and getting your site in will help your link reputation. This link does come at a price of $299 per year, but will play a role in helping your website achieve top rankings.

There are a number of other valuable directories out there that can help you with your search rankings. Before submittíng to any directory the key is a combination of relevance and authority. If the directory is relevant and active, it may be worth considering.

GOOGLE WEBMASTER TOOLS
Google Webmaster Tools can be very useful for your optimization efforts. It may not directly help you obtain higher rankings, but can help you trouble shoot if you are experiencing problems. It will also allow you to remove URL’s that you don’t want indexed and set various preferences such as your domain, crawl rate, and geographic target.

XML Sitemaps
This is the most common reason people use Google Webmaster Tools – the submission of their XML sitemap. While you can use your robots.txt to have Google find your XML sitemap, by submitting it directly to Google you can check up on the spidering status.

Error checking
Webmaster Tools is also quite useful for checking on various error URL’s that Google may know about. Under the Diagnostics > Web Crawl you can view any errors that Google has to report on your site. By cleaning up any errors you can help boost your chances of rankings.

Links
>From inside Google Webmaster Tools you can get a much clearer look at what sites Google is noting as having links to you, and give you a better indication of the need, if any, to raise your link counts.

WWW Preference
Be sure to select your domain preference under Tools > Set Preferred Domain. In nearly all cases you will want to select the version including the “www” .

SUMMARY
Inbound links play a significant role in successful Google rankings. By focusing on relevant links, as well as by diversifying where you get those links from, you can build a solid foundation for your search rankings today and into the future.

Stay tuned for Part 3 (of 3) where I will discuss other considerations including redirects, HTTP headers, and a number of other factors which play a role in successfully conquering Google.

About The Author
Scott Van Achte is the Senior SEO at StepForth Web Marketing Inc., based in Victoria, BC, Canada and founded in 1997. You can read more of Scott’s articles and those of the StepForth team at news.stepforth.com or contact us at StepForth.com, Tel – 250-385-1190, TollFree – 877-385-5526, Fax – 250-385-1198

Keyword And Meta Description Tags

Keyword and description meta tags optimization tutorial for better search engine rankings. Have you ever wondered why some web pages get higher search engine rankings than others? Of course you have, if you are a web developer. You may have read or heard of a hundred ways to improve your page ranking and tried them all. Only to see dismal results and wonder what the heck went wrong.

Been there and done that. So I thought I would let you in on the secrets I use to get my pages to rank high in the search engines. Once you read these tricks you might think that is so obvious I should have thought of it.

Here are the 10 rules I use to search engine optimize a page for keywords and description meta tags.

1. First let’s assume that you already know what the page is about and have already created it. This is not a tutorial on how to write web pages. Rather guidelines for search engine optimization using your meta keywords and description tags.

Depending on the type of page you are creating determines how many keywords you should use. For instance a sales letter is typically 2000 or more words. In that type of page you need to describe all the advantages of your product and why it is the right solution. You will want to get testimonials and place them in appropiate places. You may even want to tell a story relating to how well the product has performed. Don’t over do the page or you will lose your prospect to boredom.

The product page (different from the sales letter) should be between 500 and 750 words. All you are trying to do here is sell a product. Visitors that make it to these pages probably already know what they are looking for and are only looking for specific information. Your job is to convince them that your product is the right one. Beyond that and there is more opportunity for your visitors to disagree with your pitch and move on.

The article page should be at least 1000 words and not more than 5000 words. Okay some might say that 5000 is too long and others have said that isn’t 1000 words aren’t enough words to describe what they have to say. Too long – some say that 500 words is good for an article page. So lets look at this: a person who can read 10 words a second will be through your page in 50 seconds. Not enough time for them to soak up your message. A person reading 3 words a second will take about 2-1/2 minutes. Plenty of time for your message to sink in.

The average reader can read somewhere around 6 words per second. Which would take them 83 seconds to read your 500 word article. Barely enough time to get your visitors comfortable. At 1000 words the avearge reader will read your page in roughly 3 minutes. At 6 words a second your reader needs around 3 minutes to read a 1000 word article. This plenty of time for the reader to make a decision to click on your most wanted response.

At over 2000 words the average reader will need 5-1/2 minutes to get through it. This is stretching the limit of time most visitors will spend reading one web page. At 5000 words the average reader takes over 13 minutes to read your page. This is well past the amount of time a visitor will need to decide to click on your most wanted response. If your article is really good most people will read all the way through it. If not they are off to the next website in a flash. If you have more than 2000 words you may want to consider breaking the article into 2 pages.

Okay, back to rule #1 use the right amount of words for a particular type of page. Not too many and not too few.

2. Primary meta keyword (the first one) must be an exact match with the file name of your page. This lets the search engines match up your keyword with your page and give your page higher relevancy. Here is an example from: Ocular Defense Formula (Pr2 and #2 in Google). The first keyword for this page is “Ocular Defense Formula.” This seemingly obsure product gets 33,000+ search engine results in Google alone. So it is not that obscure after all. And makes for a good example.

3. Use only 5 keywords in your meta keywords tag. More than that and the search engines might think you are keyword spamming and won’t list your page. The search engines rank your keywords in the order that they appear. This makes the first one the primary keyword and the second one a secondary keyword and so on. You should line your keywords up in the order of relevance to the page. Here is the meta keyword tag I used in this example.

“Ocular Defense Formula, Lutein, Bilberry, eye health, vision”

4. Use all of your keywords in your meta description, with the primary keyword as close to the front as possible. Definitely within the first 5 words of your description. The search engines don’t read your description verbatim, but can find and match them with your keyword list. So try to use them all but don’t repeat them if at all possible. Again if your meta description repeats your keywords too often the search engines might think you are keyword spamming and not list your page, so don’t do it.

5. Meta description should be between 100 and 200 characters. It is important to get a solid description of your page. Less that 100 characters and the search engine may not find it relevant enough to list. More than 200 characters and the search engines may truncate it. Which looks unprofessional on your part. Truncated meta descriptions may leave searchers with the impression that your content will be too wordy and full of you know what. Too short a description and your visitors may think there is not enough information on your page and move on to the next result. So try to get your description just right, not too long and not too short. Here is the meta description for ODF.

“Ocular Defense Formula with Lutein, Bilberry and herbs to support eye health and protect your vision from aging and oxidation. Learn how to improve your visual acuity.”

6. Line up your meta keywords up too resemble a sentence. Although search engines don’t read your keywords as a sentence verbatim, it should reflect well what your page is all about. See the meta keyword tag above.

7. Proof read your content twice. You should always proof read your work before you post for a lot of good reasons like spelling, grammar, placement and paragraph distribution. Once your page looks great proof read it again with your focus on keyword placement and repitition. You want your keywords placed in your content sparingly. What? you say. Again over use of your keywords might result in the search engines thinking you are keyword spamming. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t have too few. My rule of thumb is 3 uses of a keyword for every 300 words. This lets the search engines know that there is a lot of supporting content for the keyword.

As you are proof reading you may discover that you have a much better keyword for your meta tag than what you originally thought. For instance in ODF I discovered that I had left out the keyword “vision”. After proof reading my page I added that keyword to my list and used it a couple more times in the page.

8. Put your meta description all on one line in your html code. This will ensure that the search engines reads it all. I have noticed that some search engine results leave off the second line of a description. That may leave out some of your meta keywords if that happens.

9. Never use more than 3 words for your primary keyword (and file name). People rarely search for a keyword phrase over 3 words long. Too many words in a keyword phrase and the search engines may not find enough relevancy to list your page in the results. Two words in a keyword phrase (and file name) is ideal. For Ocular Defense Formula, I thought 2 words weren’t enough to describe the page. “Ocular Defense” would have been too vague and misleading. I could have named the page something else and optimized for those keywords, but, ODF is a product page and optimizing for something like “Eye Health” would have been misleading and probably not get listed high in the search engines.

10. Use your primary keyword in the first and last paragraph of your page. The search engines will give more relevancy to your page if they find your keywords at the beginning and the end of your page. Also your primary keyword should appear in the first 90 characters of your content.

Bonus tip – Use your primary keyword as a text link in your page only once. Not twice but definitely once. If you don’t want your visitors to leave your page make that link an “add to favorites” bookmark. On a product page this works great because you don’t want to give your visitors the opportunity to go else where.

In summary use these tips to increase your search engine rankings. Optimizing your keyword and descriptions should improve the relevancy of your page and boost your search engine rankings. Notice how I used my primary keyword and description meta tags in this last paragraph.

——————————————————————————–

About the Author: Tim Koen – web developer, http://www.best-website-tools.com. Tool Time blog. All the best website tools, tips and techniques to grow your online business.

Maximize Traffic With 10 SEO Power Tips

How do you know what type of content is really going to attract the right searchers?

In this article I wanted to cover a few very basic tips that you can keep in mind when building high-performance strategies. Remember that good search engine marketing is not about trying to manipulate or “fool the search engines.” Good SEO skills are more about creating genuine relevancy for well-written content that deserves to be found because it is truly the most relevant and useful to your audience of readers.

What students quickly discover in the 5-Day classes is that the optimization skills are not nearly as hard as many people make them out to be (even for the most competitive phrases,) once you’ve been trained and understand the full scope of influences that are at work. The biggest advantage that we have had is all about the “accuracy of information.”

1. Write content that your audience is already looking for within the last 90 days.

True keyword research is not about ‘guessing at keywords’ but its all about researching actual data. How are your SEO research skills using Wordtracker or Keyword Discovery? At the SEO Workshops we teach much more than the traditional “keyword research” methods. We help students learn “Keyword Forensics” and how to quickly tap into the hidden niche trends that 99% of most Webmasters never even notice.

2. Does your Web copy speak to the reader or does it speak about yourself?

Remember that your Web site should be focused on your audience first and appeal specifically to a niche interest. When writing your Web copy, you need to dialog in an appropriate tone and format for the right audience. Some of the most interesting content will have more appeal if it speaks to your audience in terms of “you.” You can, you might, you will, yours, your and you’re INSTEAD of we, ours, we’re, we will, we can, etc.

3. Focus on writing for the human audience first and search engines second.

While search engine optimization is important to your visibility, try writing your content first. Most people don’t write their best when trying to optimize and create content at the same time. Focus on creating highly useful content that is extremely focused on one topic per page. Once you have completed your writing so that you are pleased with it, then go in to do a mild re-write for the search engines.

4. Tips for triggering idea generation and giving your strategies a unique twist.

While many people seem to spend time exploring their competitor’s Web sites, we encourage you to lead the way with new ideas. Try not to be obsessed with what the competition is doing, but be creative and start your own new trends. Spend just a little more time working on your projects this week than you did last week. Setting yourself apart from the competition is easier than you might think and gives you a huge advantage over others.

5. Creating your content so that it “speaks” to a specific audience of visitors.

Think of how your Web copy reads and ensure the dialog flows smoothly. Read your work out loud and see if you can improve the tone of your message with natural expression. Keep your specific audience in mind. How you write for senior citizen (in tone and in format) may differ considerably from writing for an audience of for example “new parents.” Always ask yourself “what is important to these readers?” Rely on researching accurate data to eliminate guess work.

6. Remember strong calls to action.

Without a firm call to action, don’t expect the reader to naturally guess at what you want them to do next. Plain ordinary dialog that asks the reader to take the next action will usually work best. Dialog that is written for voice (similar to the way a broadcaster writes to project their personality.)

7. Build your search engine optimization skills in the beginning with the “stress free” approach.

If you are new to SEO, you may want to focus on the long tailed niche phrases since most searchers are doing fairly descriptive and intelligent searches these days. Ideally you want to attract those who already know what they are looking for and just need to find your pages more easily. With practice and the right training you can go after highly competitive phrases too but you’ll find that the best conversions nearly always come from the niches. Also remember that it is the basic SEO skills that carry you through and must come before any of the advanced strategies. The result will be stable top rankings that stand the test of time with minimal fuss.

8. Give your readers a non-threatening reason to respond right now.

What is the objective for your page and does your Web copy work effectively at fulfilling that objective? It may not always be about trying to sell a product or a service. It should not be about fulfilling your needs first but it should be about meeting the needs of why that searcher first conducted a search. Meet their needs and deliver up something that satisfies their search first and then give the visitor a non-threatening reason why they might respond to you. Do you want their e-mail address? Or do you just want them to pick up the phone and call? Never lose sight of the fact that the Web is a marvelous two way interactive experience, if you want it to be. Make your Web site a vehicle for relationship building and remember that many readers may actually have the desire to interact and participate through Blogs or other “User Generated activity.” Give your visitors something that involves their participation.

9. Remember that your readers always want to feel like they are in control of their Web experience.

People often use the Web for researching topics of interest or doing preliminary price comparisons or for looking up information. While most people explore the Web for their own purposes, the more that you put them in control of their experience the better. If appropriate, you may want to consider adding additional tools or functionality to your Web site in order to enhance its usability for your specific audience.

10. Did you know that if you write your content so that it naturally “reads very well.”

You will naturally gain some bonus for having created content of quality. By this, I mean content…that reads well to a human being. Don’t stuff keywords all over the place. Instead, use moderation in everything you do. One of the things you need to understand is that “theme based” search engines like Google, are actually using a measure of artificial intelligence (AI) to measure how well your article “reads” based on all of the overall context of your body text (other than the keywords) based on data that a search engine has gathered concerning a specific topic. This is great news for writers because if you are making a transition to writing for the web, you’ll find some search engines are literally rewarding pages that are “well written.”

About the Author: John Alexander has taught live SEO Workshops since 2002 at http://www.SearchEngineWorkshops.com as well as Online Webinars at the SEO Workshop Resource Center at http://www.SEW-WRC.com.

Google’s Latest Targer – You

Since not every single one gets clicked on, Google’s ads might be considered less than perfect. A new patent application would make behavioral targeting a central part of improving them.

Patent news is, of course, somewhat noncommittal by nature. We’ve all heard about patent trolls – people (or companies) who try to own every obvious detail or outlandish possibility purely for the sake of profit. And even though Google doesn’t fall into this category, it (along with most other businesses) doesn’t make use of every patent for which it applies.

Still, some interesting ideas are on display among the 11,000 or so words in the application (filed last week by Googler Krishna Bharat), and for a path through the scientist-speak, we can turn to Barry Schwartz.

Schwartz, after giving a hat tip to Bill Slawski, summarizes, “Based on a user’s behavior, Google may adapt the AdSense ads in one or more of these methods: Change the number of ads to show …. Change the type of ads displayed …. change the style of the ad displayed including the age of that content, and the type of content (e.g., text, graphics, video, audio, mixed media, etc.) …. Previous queries may be used to better associated geographic information to the ad …. Or more information.”

Hopefully this doesn’t mean people who try to ignore advertisements will be buried under a sea of them, and the same group probably wouldn’t appreciate ads that make sounds. Also, even as NBC’s “30 Rock” explained the uncanny valley’s relation to humanlike entities, Google might not want to get too eerily insightful about what ads it shows users.

Still, Schwartz later continues, “Google may also use behavioral targeting to change factors for advertisers including: Ad price information …. Ad performance information …. Targeting criteria match information, and …. Advertiser quality information.” So it seems that the search giant is trying to think through all the ways in which this sort of stuff can be useful.

A timeframe for any changes remains completely unknown, of course; there hasn’t been so much as an applicable peep from either the Google Public Policy Blog or the company’s mainstream Press Center. It’s entirely possible that the proposed changes will be discarded as new ideas come up or old ones fail to work out as planned.

Meanwhile, it’ll be worth watching Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, Ask, and every other search company to see if they pursue similar paths. Patent applications sometimes spill the beans, so to speak, and set off a race even as businesses try to stay in the clear legally.

About the Author:
Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.

Everyone Is All A-Twitter About Twitter

I personally have been Tweeting for a few months. But I use the phrase “tweeting for a few months” loosely. I haven’t been all that consistent with it, and I definitely didn’t have a strategy. I just thought it was kind of cool.

Recently I’ve started paying more attention to it for a few reasons; my mother-in-law was at a librarian conference recently and attended a session on Twitter. I got into a conversation with her about it, and then the next day I saw John Reese’s email about Twitter. It seems like there is a lot of twittering about Twitter going on. What is Twitter?

According to the Twitter FAQ, “Twitter is for staying in touch and keeping up with friends no matter where you are or what you’re doing.”

Wikipedia says, “Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send updates via SMS, instant messaging, email, to the Twitter website, or any one of the multitude of Twitter applications now available”.

Basically Twitter asks the question, “What are you doing?” and allows you to send a short update (your tweets are limited to 140 characters) to your followers (family, friends, colleagues, customers, potential customers etc).

Twitter allows you to send and receive updates (also called tweets) via your browser, email, instant messaging clients and SMS (using your cell phone). No matter where you are, you can tweet!

I haven’t been following Twitter since day 1, so I’m not going to comment on it’s evolution but I will speculate that as its popularity grows, as more and more marketers use it, 2 things are inevitable:

1. Rules on Twitter etiquette will continue to evolve as we learn what we like and dislike about it, and as we respond to the inevitable abuse of Twitter (don’t mean to sound negative but it happens with each exciting new opportuníty – people end up abusing it).

2. More and more companies will jump on board and try to get in on the conversation.
Start Twittering (or is it Tweeting?)

Remember, when you first join Twitter, it can feel like a lonely place. When you aren’t following anyone and no one is following you, you may find yourself asking “what is the point?” I’ve heard so many people say they just don’t get it. In fact, I’ve said that myself.

The key is to find the Tweets you want to follow so you can keep your finger on the pulse of your niche. The next key is to start building your followers. More on that in a minute.

How can Twitter help your business?

The more contact you have with a potential customer, the more likely you are to get their business. You can stay “top of mind” through Twitter. Let them know what’s new in your industry, in your company etc. You become a source of quick news flashes for them.

Here are just a few of the benefits of Twitter:

It reminds people that you exist.
It shows people you have something to say.
It shows them that you are human.
It allows you to mention new offers, sales and breaking news immediately.
It allows you to form a more casual relationship.
You can use Twitter to promote your social bookmarking submissions.
You can ask for referrals, suggestions, feedback and help, and people will respond.

Twitter is also fun and is contributing to the new language we are constantly developing. For example “Twitterference” – the intrusion of twitter updates on your phone making it hard to have a conversation on your phone.

Finding Followers:

Start by reaching out to your friends, family, mailing líst etc. You can also add your Twitter link to your email signature line; add links to your website and Blog. Mention your Twitter account in your newsletter.

Twitter Rules

One cardinal rule (that is in your best interest to follow): if you use Twitter as a pure sales tool, you will lose followers quickly. As with all forms of social media, it is about creating a conversation and sharing news – it’s not all about you shoving your sales message down their throats.

Tweets are limited to 140 characters. This is to allow them to be easily sent over mobile SMS systems.

You aren’t able to embed HTML with the exception of hyperlinks. (But they are no-follow links, so they won’t help you in your SEO quest for backlinks)

Bonus: Twitter automatically uses the TinyURL service to shorten links.

Don’t tweet too much, or too little. There is no magic number and it varies according to your audience. Some people say don’t update more than once per hour. Others say not more than once or twice a day. I tend to be in the once or twice a day camp. If there is breaking news and some days you just have to update more often then it’s OK. If your tweets are valuable information, people will be more tolerant of frequent updates.

On the other hand if you are too quiet, people have nothing to follow so make sure you find that balance and tweet just enough to keep people informed but not annoyed.

Don’t forget that your profile shows a history of all your tweets, so if a new person comes along and sees that you don’t have many tweets they may decide you aren’t worthy of following. Also if your past tweets aren’t informative or interesting, you lose some potential followers.

You’ll find that sometimes you get involved in personal conversation with someone. Try to avoid doing too much of this. Not everyone will be interested in your personal communications. If you do need to do this, put the @ symbol in front of somebody’s name – this indicates that this message is for them.

One thing to keep in mind about personal conversation tweets – some people who are following you may not be following the person you are talking to. This means they get only one half of the conversation. One suggestion is to word your tweet so that spectators have an idea of what you are talking about. That way, they can feel more included in the conversation.

Trust and Twitter

With so much hype in marketing, people are really looking for a company that can trust. You can build trust with prospects by allowing them to get to know you, and by providing them with information. Twitter allows you to do just that.

A great tip: look at your Tweet history – is the information valuable, does it build trust? Would you want to follow yourself?

Get tweeting!

It may take some trial and error, and you probably want to check out what others are tweeting about to get a feel for the style. But don’t spend too long lurking – check it out and then jump on in.

About The Author
Jennifer Horowitz is the Director of Marketing and co-owner of EcomBuffet.com . Since 1998, her expertise in marketing online and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has helped clients improve revenue and achieve their business goals. Jennifer has written a downloadable book on Search Engine Optimization and has been published in many SEO and marketing publications. Jennifer can be reached at Jennifer@ecombuffet.com.

SEO Software Bargains and Where to Find Them

Using the right SEO software is one of the most important things you can do for your website’s success but finding it is not always easy. The products you hear the most about are often just the most advertised and not necessarily the best, or at least not the best to fit your particular needs.

For the most part, just about any product can help you in some way unless it’s a real piece of junk. So if you already have one and are not getting the results you want, try to spend a little more time with it and make it pay off. But if you are looking, read on. This article focuses on three that have helped thousands get the ranking they need. Even if one is not right for you, you can see what the top rated tools do.

But before we dive into the tools, let’s look at why we need them. In short; using SEO software is like buying time and expertise. A good product will save you a great deal of time and deliver the results of a search engine optimization expert. If you have a lot of free time to learn and perform manual SEO, you can save a hundred or so bucks and do it all without a tool. If you’d like to see faster results and focus your time in other areas, it’s probably worth the money to buy a good product. Of course with so many claiming to be the best, the hardest part is finding the one that will work for you.

Over the past nine years, as an SEO consultant, I’ve used over a dozen well known, and not so well known SEO tools. The results have varied from “Wow!” to “What a waste!” We’ll focus on the “Wows!” three types, one of which is likely to do what you need; 1.) Jumpstart (for maximum return with minimum cost), 2.) Site Owner’s Best Friend (to tackle major SEO tasks and more), and 3.) SEO Pro Pick (what SEO professionals use to get the best possible results in the least possible time.)

So here they are, arranged by cost starting with the least expensive…

1.) SEO Equalizer ($77)

Those new to SEO, looking for a jumpstart with SEO software have found a winner with SEO Equalizer. It became popular as an SEO spy tool and soon caught on as a great link building program and keyword analyzer. It provides an easy ‘in’ for anyone wanting to take control of their Web placement destiny. It’s great for anyone who wants to minimize spending, boost ranking and does not mind waiting a little longer to see great results (as compared to the Pro Pick, SEO Elite below.)

Here’s what it does best:

A.) Finds your most competitive keywords and phrases.
B.) Locates and analyses competitor sites.
C.) Builds and helps maintain link partnerships.

Quick to learn and easy to use, SEO Equalizer is also one of the best bargains at $77 for a full license.

2.) Traffic Travis ($99)

This is a one of those hidden gems you dream about finding. A great app that not a lot of people know about (probably because the name is not very descriptive.) With a price tag of about $100, Traffic Travis is powerful enough for professionals and easy to use for a website owner, new to search engine optimization, who just wants results with very little learning curve.

Traffic Travis is like the “Swiss Army Knife” of SEO software and has become known as the “Site Owner’s Best Friend.” Here’s some of what it does…

A.) Finds, sorts and organizes your most important keywords. B.) Shows your site’s (and competitors’) rankings on major search engines. C.) Completes full SEO page analysis for any Website, so you can see what the top ranked pages are doing right for ‘on page optimization’ and how you can do even better.
D.) Helps build and manage backlinks (very important for Google.)
E.) Manages your Google AdWords campaign if you do PPC.
F.) And even builds online survey pages to quickly collect visitor feedback once they find your site.

It’s tough to do an “apples to apples” comparison of this one with either of the others. It wears a lot of hats that Website owners can benefit from. Like SEO Equalizer it has shown me slightly slower results than SEO Elite, but is a great value.

3.) SEO Elite ($167)

My first “Wow!” happened in 2005 with SEO Elite. This app was the first truly affordable piece of SEO software I came across that did all it promised. At $167 it’s about half the price of similar products but packs a lot more punch. It has three things that impress me almost as much as the results it gets…

1.) No annual feës (unlike some that charge $100 a year in “subscription” fees.)
2.) Free upgrades for life (I’m already on my third version and it just keeps getting better!)
3.) No Questíons Asked, 8 Week Guarantee or full rëfund.

That’s why I bought it. This is why I kept it…

Google results after the first four weeks:

# 1 Spots = 7

# 2 Spots = 11

# 3 Spots = 16

Links = 409 high quality inbound links obtained (extremely important to rank well on Google)

That was all in the first month and for just one site. In the three years since then I have received hundreds of additional top rankings spanning multiple sites.

Here are some of the things SEO Elite does very well…

A.) Let’s you check your site’s ranking for unlimited keywords on the major search engines.

B.) Tracks any changes in rank and notifies you.

C.) Finds the best possible link partners for your site, based on Google’s standards.

D.) Shows which partners are still linking back to you.

E.) Performs backlink searches on all major search engines.

F.) Analyzes and compares special search commands on Google.

G.) Finds exactly which websites your competitors are advertising on.

H.) Helps you eliminate any penalized websites you link to.

If you need great SEO software, can invest $167 and don’t mind spending a few hours mastering a new tool, SEO Elite is worth looking at. It’s the most widely used professional SEO software package for a reason.

Getting the right SEO software can be the best buying decision you ever make for your website. Enjoy!

About The Author
Scott Jason has been an SEO professional since 1999 and has had the opportunity to see the release of new SEO software products first hand, often as a Beta tester. The founder of , Scott also servers as the software reviewer on several popular blogs, including SEOpartner.

Want Free Search Engine Traffic? Choose the Correct Keywords!

If content is king, make your keywords your servants! It’s pretty simple; good keywords bring lots of traffic, bad ones don’t. If you want that free search engine traffic, the first thing you need to do is to find out what exactly it is that people are searching for in the area that you are interested in. Then you pick key words that relate to your topic of interest, and that people are really searching for. You can have the best content in the world, but if you optimize for the wrong keywords you still won’t get that sought after traffic.

For example, let’s assume I am going to build a site about water heaters, and I want people to come to my site. I need to find out what kind of information about water heaters that people are looking for so I can build pages optimized for the keywords that people are really using.

The first thing I do is go to a keyword tool to do my keyword research. There are a number of keyword tools online, my favorite is Wordtracker. Others include KeywordDiscovery, and the Google AdWords suggestion tool There is simply no substitute for doing your keyword research. With these tools you can put in a seed word or phrase, and the tools will provide you with lists of related keywords and keyword phrases that are searched for, and how many times per month they are searched for. Using these tools there are ways to estimate the size of the market for products and services, ways to optimize you web pages, find new niche markets, and much more.

With Wordtracker I find quickly that many more people search for “tankless water heater” than search for water heater…which surprises me. Nearly as many people search for “hot water heater” as search for “water heater”. Wordtracker also informs me that there are far fewer websites trying to be ranked high for “hot water heater” than for “water heater”. Ah-Ha! I’ll be sure to optimize a few pages for “hot water heater”. In fact, I find that the terms “tankless water heater”, “tankless hot water heater”, “tankless water heaters”, “electric tankless water heaters”, and “tankless heaters” all have more people searching for them than “water heater”.

Single word keywords are very difficult to get high rankings for, so it’s wise to shoot for longer keyword phrases. Three and four word phrases are what I use most often.

After finding out what information people are looking for, and what keywords they are using to find that information, you can build the appropriate pages and optimize them for those keywords that have significant traffic searching for them.

Now that we have our keyword list and we are ready to build our pages, where do we put the keywords?

The first and probably one of the most important places to have your keywords are in the title tag. This is one of the tags in the head section of the html code of your web page and lists the title that is displayed in the web browser. Internet Explorer displays this tag in the top bar of the browser window. It’s very important that you always write for humans. The search engines are getting smarter and smarter, and they are looking for sites optimized for humans, not search engines.

Get some of your keywords into the keyword meta tag, not crucial but it won’t hurt.

Make sure you have some keywords in your Alt tags for your images…don’t overdo it though. Write it for humans, but try to work a few keywords in if you can. Alt tags are displayed as a popup when you pass your mouse over an image.

The Description Meta Tag is still a valuable place to use your keywords. Many search engines will look at the description Meta tag for keywords to compare against your body copy. Yahoo uses your description tag as the description of your site in their listings. Consider the description tag just like it is named, a concise description of your site. Keep under 50 words.

Your body copy is obviously a very important place for placement of your keywords. Remember, write for humans. If your keywords don’t appear in your body copy, you won’t place high in the search engine results for those keywords. Work your keyword into the text appropriately. Select one or two keywords and make the page specifically about those keywords.

Use your keywords appropriately for humans on your site where you can. This will increase your search engine effectiveness.

——————————————————————————–

About the Author: William Lund has been a webmaster since 1998. His website provides free information about website design, development, promotion, and monetization. For more about keywords and other website topics visit: Lund One Web Marketing and More. Mr. Lund Also has a blog: Pondering Everything.