ABCs of Search Engine Optimization and Web Site Marketing
The goal is to increase visits to a web site and page views. Read how to get a web site ranked higher on Google and Yahoo and how to get more visits not just from search sites but also from other web sites.
Add new content: Add relevant content that visitors are interested in. The frequency should be as often as possible, monthly at a minimum but daily for huge results.
Blogs: Start a blog (but only if you can post at least weekly and have something educational to talk about). Whether you have a blog or not, post comments on other people’s blogs that are related to your product or service. But make sure they are educational and express an opinion. The comment should add something to the discussion, a positive connection with a genuine reason for someone to click on the link to your Web site.
Content: The internet is where people look for information on how to solve a problem or learn something. Make sure your site does this.
Discussion groups and bulletin boards: Posting on discussion groups with your URL to help answer a question (NO SELLING) will create back links to your site.
E-mail marketing: Send out a regular monthly email. If you have enough to send weekly then consider using a blog. Emails work best if the recipients have signed up for the email. Renting lists can be hit or miss and response often doesn’t justify the cost.
Focus: Geographic or demographic focus uses keywords, content density or landing pages to capture visitors searching for a business in a specific location. Example: PR firm Oakland will put us higher on the search engine than just PR firm because there is so much competition nationally.
Graphics: It is better to have headers and headlines wherever possible as html text. The keywords within the <H1> or <H2> tags counts for more than other text. You can add alt tags to graphics but they aren’t useful for search optimization. They are useful if site page loads slowly or for ADA site readers.
HTML site map: Sign up and use Google webmaster to create and submit site maps. The webmaster tool also checks site links to make sure they are valid.
Intrasite links: Use keywords for the text of a link (the part of the link that visitors see). For example instead of “click here” say “read the legal document management case study.” Links get ranked higher than regular text.
Jeopardy: Optimizing a web site is similar to the game of Jeopardy. You have to ask yourself what questions people will ask for which your company is the answer. Your content should answer those questions but also contain the keyword. Make sure to describe your offerings using terms your audience uses.
Keywords are still important. How to decide what keywords to focus on? Use the questions developed with the Jeopardy game and check some of the online resources such as Wordtracker (http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com/). It will be almost impossible to compete with other marketers for the most popular keywords unless you have a professional working on your site daily. However it is recommended that your copy include these most popular keywords but also add 'qualifiers' such as geographic location or industry sector. Example: Chocolate California or Corporate Chocolates. Limit keywords to 3-7 (average 5) per page. Make sure the top priority keyword is in the text 3 times and others are in the text 1 -2 times.
Landing pages are pages on your site that are optimized for specific audiences. For example, a high-end mattress company that mostly sells to consumers would have a special (landing) page for interior designers that has different keywords than the rest of the site.
Media room: Most businesses have regular news or information for the media. Having a Media Room provides a venue to include this timely information and link to it on your site.
Niche markets: When developing keywords, including niche market can help differentiate your site. For example: Dive Travel would include niche markets such as Learn to Dive Travel Pacific.
Outsource: When should you hire someone to assist with optimizing your site. If you don’t have time to spend 3-4 hours per month minimum or if you feel your skills are better used in another area of your business or if you need help with ideas on how to improve optimization.
Press release: Sending out releases over the wire services and posting releases for the media help add links to your site because other sites pick them up. Additionally, they provide content to keep your site fresh.
Q&A: Add a Frequently Asked Questions page, even if you don’t like them; Search engines do.
Ranking: Avoid linking from a site below yours. To check a page rank for a site on Google you can use a free online resource:
Sites which have high rankings include: Forbes.com 7 (out of a possible 10), Prnewswire.com 8/10, biz.yahoo.com 6/10 and CNBC.com 7/10.
Social media outreach: Using sites such as facebook, linkedin, myspace and twitter can increase the number of links to your site. Pages on social networking sites are highly indexed.
Titles: The source code on a web page between the tags <TITLE> and </TITLE> forms the link in search results. Search engines frown upon packing dozens of keywords into the title tag. Best practice is to use a concise, readable description of the page using a keyword phrase. Should be varied from page to page on the site. Example: “Oakland, California Public Relations Firm Real Estate and Tourism.”
Url or domain name: When selecting your URL – http://wwwDomainName.com, try to include a keyword in the name. For example: www.agencyPublicRelations.com
Video: Google gives bonus points for video, but use it sparingly on your site. Most visitors won’t watch unless there is a compelling reason. Something fun, interesting, insightful, visual, educational. Video can help ranking and drive traffic to your web site if you post on social media sites and provide entertainment to the visitor. If the videos are good, their links will be forwarded to others, driving more traffic to your site.
White paper: One way to get more keyword density is to write a white paper and post it. Also, visitors love the free information. You could possibly get them to sign up and give you their email in exchange for the white paper. But remember, it must be informational and not sell.
(e)Xternal link building: Also known as Back Linking – These are links on other web sites to your site. Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But Google looks at considerably more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; for example, it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. So make sure you are posting on a well-ranked Blog or a reputable and relevant outside site. Examples: Placemaking Group listed on the PRSA web site of top 100 agencies.
Why isn’t my site showing up when I search Google: There are many potential reasons but one likely reason is that it can take up to 6 months sometimes for search optimization activities to filter through Google. Also, some keywords are very competitive and you might be more successful attracting visitors by using other marketing tools or focusing on special niche markets to drive traffic to your site.
Zero flash pages: Search engines need to find html text to determine if the site is of interest to searchers.