Tag Archives: Content

Search Engine Copywriting Explained

Copywriting in the world of marketing has always been an expensive process and the main aim of the copy is to attract the reader attention and lure him into buying a product or using a particular service. Copywriting in the online world has pretty much the same meaning, but I believe it is slightly difficult, as here the main aim is to not only grab the readers attention but in order to make it more effective, it is also important to make the copy rank well in the search engines, so that the targeted audience actually get to read it.

Search engine copywriting refers to the process, where a copy is written in a way, where it not only reads well to the reader, but also repeats specific target “keywords?within the text, in order for that copy (webpage) to rank well in search engines for those keywords.

Copywriting experts believe it is ideal to have around 300 words on a page with one or two targeted search terms cleverly placed within the text a few times. Along with the text, it is also important to optimize other elements on the page such as the title text, headings, description and keyword tags, and alt text.

Advantages and Disadvantages of SEO Copywriting

Advantages
Long term Rankings: It is believed that this method helps in maintaining SEO rankings for much longer as compared to other optimization techniques, even when search engines change their algorithms. Although many search engine optimization experts believe that this is a myth.

Quality Content: It not only helps in the optimization process, but also helps to have quality and well written content on your website, which is likely to get you returned visitors or referrals.

Disadvantages
Works for Less Competitive Search Terms: It is believed that this technique works best for less competitive search terms. Competitive search terms refer to highly searched keywords such as sex, insurance, credit cards, cars, etc. Although this can aid the optimization process for highly competitive search terms too, but to be competitive other more robust optimization techniques will also be needed.

Does not work for all Sites: Many sites cannot accommodate enough text on them, for e.g. it can be difficult to optimize certain pages/sites which have too many graphics, flash, etc. and little space for content. Many webmasters are not willing to alter the text, as it may affect the aesthetic appeal of the site.

Expensive Process: Search engine copywriters are expensive people, and hence this whole process can be very expensive. They usually charge on per page basis, and the total expense largely depends on how many pages are to be optimized and the number of keywords being targeted. Another reason why it can be expensive is that you have to depend on the copywriter for all further changes to that page, and hence it can become a permanent expense. Making alterations to that page yourself, unless you know exactly what you are doing, can ruin the optimization of that particular page.

Creating Your SEO Plan

The SEO plan is the document that you’ll use to stay on track as you try to implement SEO strategies on your site.For many people, the thought of implementing SEO on a web site that includes dozens or even hundreds of pages is overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be, though.

Prioritizing pages

Look at SEO in small, bite-size pieces. For example, instead of looking at your site as a whole, look at each page on the site. Prioritize those pages, and then plan your SEO around each page’s priority. Taking a single page into consideration helps to eliminate the “everything has to happen right now” issue and makes it possible for you to create an SEO plan that will maximize your web site’s potential in the minimum amount of time.

Top priority pages should be the ones that your visitors will most naturally gravitate to, such as your home page, or pages that will generate the most in terms of traffic or revenue. When prioritizing pages, you’re also creating a road map for your marketing efforts. If three of the pages on your site are your top priority, those three will have the lion’s share of time, capital, and effort when it comes to SEO and marketing.

Site assessment

After you have prioritized your site, you should assess where you stand and where you need to be with your current SEO efforts. Again, assess each page individually, rather than the site as a whole. In SEO, individual pages are equally important (if not more so) than the entire site. All of your efforts are designed to rank one page above all others in search results. Which page is the most important should be determined by your business needs.

Your SEO assessment should be a document that outlines the current standing of the main SEO elements of each page. It should contain columns for the element of the site you’re assessing, the current status of that element, what needs to be improved in that element, and the deadline for improvement. It’s also helpful if you have a check box next to each item that can be marked when improvements are completed and a column for follow-up, because SEO is a never-ending process. The elements that should be considered during an assessment include:

  • Site/page tagging: The meta tags that are included in the coding of your web site are essential to having that site listed properly in a search engine. Tags to which you should pay specific attention are the title tags and description tags, because these are the most
    important to a search engine.
  • Page content: How fresh is your content? How relevant is it? How often is it updated? And how much content is there? Content is still important when it comes to search results. After all, most people are looking for a specific piece of content, whether it’s  information or a product. If your content is stale, search engines could eventually begin to ignore your site in favor of a site that has fresher content. There are exceptions to this generalization, however. And one exception is if your content is, by nature, very rich but not very dynamic. Because of the usefulness of the content, your site will probably continue to rank well. But it’s a difficult case to determine. In most cases, fresh content is better.
  • Site links: Site links are essential in SEO. Crawlers and spiders look for the links into and out of your site in order to traverse your site and collect data on each URL. However, they also look for those links to be in-context, meaning the link must come from or lead
    to a site that is relevant to the page that is being indexed. Broken links tend to be a large problem when it comes to search engine ranking, so be sure to check that links are still working during the assessment process.
  • Site map: Believe it or not, a site map will help your web site be more accurately linked. But this is not the ordinary site map that you include to help users quickly navigate through your site. This site map is an XML-based document, at the root of your HTML, that contains information (URL, last updated, relevance to surrounding pages, and so on) about each of the pages within a site. Using this XML site map will help to ensure that even the deep pages within your site are indexed by search engines. If you don’t have a site map, you should create one. If you do have one, make sure it’s accurate and up to date.

Finishing the plan

With the site assessment out of the way, you should have a good idea of what areas need work and what areas are in good shape. Don’t assume the areas that don’t currently need work will always be perfect, however. That’s not how it works. At the least, changes to the pages will require changes to the SEO efforts that you’re putting forth; at most they may require that you begin SEO efforts for that page all over again.

You can now take the time to put together all of the information that you’ve gathered into a cohe-sive picture of the SEO efforts you should be making. Your SEO plan is more than just a picture of what’s there and what’s not, however. This is the document that you use to tie everything together: current standing, marketing efforts, capital expenditures, time frames — all of it.

The document should look much like any other plan that you’ll create, for instance your business plan. In this plan, you should have an area for background information, marketing information, plans for growing the business, and plans for managing problems that may arise.

An SEO plan is very similar. You’ll have your current standings, the goals that you plan to hit, and the marketing efforts that you plan to make for each page (or for the site as a whole). You’ll even have the capital expenditures that you plan to encounter as you implement your SEO plan.

You’ll also want to include the strategies you plan to use. Those strategies can be efforts such as submitting your site or pages from your site to directories manually and planning the content you’ll use to draw search crawlers, or they can be keyword marketing plans or pay-per-click programs you plan to use. Also be sure to include a time line for the testing and implementation of those efforts as well as for regular follow-ups.

Follow-up

Follow-up is also an essential part of your SEO plan. Many people believe they can develop and implement an SEO plan and then just walk away from it. The truth is, however, that SEO is not just a one-time event. It’s an ongoing process that requires testing, monitoring, and often re-building. A good plan for conducting follow-ups is to plan for them quarterly. Some companies will choose to follow up and reassess their SEO bi-annually, but to be truly effective quarterly is much better. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that following up on your SEO efforts too soon is non-productive. In many cases, it takes at least three months to get a clear picture of how successful your efforts are.
Conducting an evaluation before that three-month mark could have you chasing after an elusive SEO goal that doesn’t really exist. Or worse, it could lead you away from a successful strategy.

Give your plan at least three months but no more than six between checkups. Once you create the habit of re-evaluating your SEO efforts on that time schedule, it will be much less time consuming than you assume.

The What, How, And Why Of Keyword Densities

Keyword density is an important concept for website owners to understand. Keyword density, in today’s Internet, is what will ultimately improve your search engine optimization (SEO) ranking. The importance of having a high SEO rating is absolutely critical if you wish to have high volumes of traffic to your website.

Let’s talk first about SEO and what it does. If you type a search into Google, yahoo, MSN, or any other major search engine there are likely to be thousands to hundreds of thousands of results come up on the search engine. So let us imagine that you sell ceramic dolls on your website. Now someone types “ceramic dolls” into a search engine, where in those thousands of website results does your website fall? Does your website rank on the first page? If you are like most websites, your ranking is probably somewhere in the depths of the results ranking well over number 1,000. Imagine a customer seeking what you sell, but not being able to find your business. Do you really think that someone is going to sift through the first 1,000 results to find yours?

Search engine optimization (SEO) simply means that you are going to employ methods that will move your website up in the search engines results for “ceramic dolls” or your own personal keywords. Research and common sense tells us that if a potential website visitor/customer does not find your website within the first 20 results, he or she will move on and try a new search or simply use one of the first 20 websites that he or she has found. This is where keyword density comes into play.

In years past I can remember finding web pages that had hundreds of words listed at the bottom of the page, this was a common practice. The reason for this was so that the search engines would place this website on the results page if a web surfer typed in any of those hundreds of words. Times have changed and so have search engines. Today the search engines are much more sophisticated in how they locate websites to list in their results.

Keyword articles (adhering to certain keyword densities) dramatically improve a websites SEO ranking. Going back to our ceramic dolls example, this site would want a keyword article written with the keywords “ceramic dolls” inside the article. This way when a web surfer types in “ceramic dolls,” the site will come up much higher in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERP’s).

The search engines use certain algorithms that “read” these keywords for the surfer. If you go and type in any phrase into a search engine you will notice that the results show those keywords highlighted in bold. They show you how the keywords are listed in those web pages. Placing articles on your website that contain the keywords your customers are looking for will help your search engine ranking for these specific keywords.

Now, you cannot simply type the “ceramic dolls” over and over again on the same web page. With the sophistication of today’s search engines, doing that would actually harm your search engine ranking. You need to provide articles that not only contain the keywords, but articles that also contain some relevant information as well.

There is great debate over what density to use in a keyword article. Suppose you want a 500-word article written on ceramic dolls. What percentage of the time (density) should the phrase “ceramic dolls” be used? Should it be in there 4% (20 times) of the time, 7%, or 12%? You must be careful because using the keywords too often hurts your rankings, while using too little doesn’t improve your ranking enough. So what is the answer? The answer is that only those that develop the algorithms for the search engine companies actually know………and they aren’t talking. Most people use anywhere from 3%- 15% keyword densities. Some people believe that having the keyword phrase in the title and as the first word of every paragraph helps. Some believe that using “dolls that are ceramic” 18 times and “ceramic dolls” 2 times in a 500-word article with 4% density will work.

Here is what everyone does know, if you are not utilizing keyword rich articles on your website (regardless of the density you choose) you will not be very highly ranked in any of the search engines. Keyword rich articles are one of the best ways to advertise your site. If you want more visitors to your website, who translate into more customers, you must utilize keyword articles to improve your search engine rankings so that people can find your website.

Understanding Why You Need SEO

Before you can understand the reasons for using SEO, it might be good to have a definition of what SEO — search engine optimization — is. It’s probably a safe assumption that if you’ve clicked on this link, you have some understanding of SEO, so I’ll keep it simple.

SEO is the science of customizing elements of your web site to achieve the best possible search engine ranking. That’s really all there is to search engine optimization. But as simple as it sounds, don’t let it fool you. Both internal and external elements of the site affect the way it’s ranked in any given search engine, so all of these elements should be taken into consideration. Good SEO can be very difficult to achieve, and great SEO seems pretty well impossible at times.

But why is search engine optimization so important? Think of it this way. If you’re standing in a crowd of a few thousand people and someone is looking for you, how will they find you? In a crowd that size, everyone blends together.

Now suppose there is some system that separates groups of people. Maybe if you’re a woman you’re wearing red and if you’re a man you’re wearing blue. Now anyone looking for you will have to look through only half of the people in the crowd.

You can further narrow the group of people to be searched by adding additional differentiation until you have a small enough group that a search query can be executed and the desired person can be easily found.

Your web site is much like that one person in the huge crowd. In the larger picture your site is nearly invisible, even to the search engines that send crawlers out to catalogue the Web. To get your site noticed, even by the crawlers, certain elements must stand out. And that’s why you need search engine optimization.

By accident your site will surely land in a search engine. And it’s likely to rank within the first few thousand results. That’s just not good enough. Being ranked on the ninth or tenth page of search results is tantamount to being invisible. To be noticed, your site should be ranked much higher. Ideally you want your site to be displayed somewhere on the first three pages of results. Most people won’t look beyond the third page, if they get even that far. The fact is, it’s the sites that fall on the first page of results that get the most traffic, and traffic is translated into revenue, which is the ultimate goal of search engine optimization.

To achieve a high position in search results, your site must be more than simply recognizable by a search engine crawler. It must satisfy a set of criteria that not only gets the site catalogued, but can also get it catalogued above most (if not all) of the other sites that fall into that category or topic. Some of the criteria by which a search engine crawler determines the rank your site should have in a set of results include:

  • Anchor text
  • Site popularity
  • Link context
  • Topical links
  • Title tags
  • Keywords
  • Site language
  • Content
  • Site maturity

There are estimated to be at least several hundred other criteria that could also be examined before your site is ranked by a search engine. Some of the criteria listed also have multiple points of view. For example, when looking at link context, a crawler might take into consideration where the link is located on the page, what text surrounds it, and where it leads to or from.

These criteria are also different in importance. For some search engines, links are more important than site maturity, and for others, links have little importance. These weights and measures are constantly changing, so even trying to guess what is most important at any given time is a pointless exercise. Just as you figure it out, the criteria will shift or change completely.

By nature, many of the elements are likely to have some impact on your site ranking, even when you do nothing to improve them. However, without your attention, you’re leaving the search ranking of your site to chance. That’s like opening a business without putting out a sign. You’re sure to  get some traffic, but because people don’t know you’re there, it won’t be anything more than the curiosity of passersby.

The Ten Commandments of Search Engine Optimization

Most of the time when we pitch to a new client we are asked for SEO guarantees. “Your competition has guaranteed top results and submission to 100,000 Search Engines and Directories”. We go all out educating clients that Search Engine Optimization is all about smart work and not just adding random keywords and submitting to every directory possible. I’m writing this article to reach out to the SEO buyers and help them distinguish the crooks from the genuine SEO. I’ve compiled my Search marketing experience over the years in this article. I hope this helps you in selecting your Search Marketing initiative.

Commandment 1: There are no Rank Guarantees. (Period)

Search Engines alone control their indexing and ranking algorithm. Do not try to trick Search Engines. The only way to improve your Search Engine Ranks is by playing by the rules. And the rule is very simple: make it logical. Web content is primarily for the site visitor and not crawlers.

If your Search Engine Optimizer sold you magic “Top rank on google in 10 days flat”. Forget it. There are no short cuts. Top ranking in Search Engines Natural Results will take time. Hard work is imperative especially for the content on your website and the links to your site.

Commandment 2: Ranking is not the end, it’s the means.

Ask yourself what will Top Search Engine Ranks get you? Most businesses are interested in increasing sales on the website or in the least driving qualified traffic. Ranking for the right keywords (keywords used by your target audience) is important. There are SEOs who would try to show case results for keywords that occur only on your website. Beware such gimmicks.

Commandment 3: Know your competition.

“Rank” is relative position and more so in the Search Engine’s natural results. How well you do in the Search Engine Results is a function of how much hard work you have put over competition. Analyze competition’s keywords, links, keyword density and spread. But be sure to never copy your competition.

Commandment 4: Use Search Engine Friendly design.

A search and visitor friendly design is must for any successful website. Your website should be compelling enough for repeat visits by search engines and potential customers. Make sure you have Search Engine friendly urls and avoid those long URLs with query strings (http://mywebsite.com/index.php?PHPSESSID=5&a=z&f=g). You should also make sure that your web designer follows global coding standards like w3c (http://www.w3.org).

Commandment 5: Select Keywords that are worth.

You must research the keywords before targeting. There are tools that give you good idea of keyword’s search potential for example (http://www.wordtracker.com/, https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal ). It is important to know the number of searches for a keyword in the last month, last 6 months and last year. You should also find out the number of web pages that are targeting the keyword. It is advisable to start a campaign with keywords with moderate competition and high number of search.

Commandment 6: Write Great content.

Even if your website site is technically perfect for search engine robots, it won’t do you any good unless you also fill it with Great content. Great is contextual and has editorial value. Great content brings repeat visits and increases the chance of conversion. Great content is factual and appeals to the target audience. The web page should have desired action embedded in the content.
You must ensure that the content is fresh. Keep adding and editing the content regularly.

Commandment 7: Use good hyper linking strategy.

Hyperlinks make the content accessible and contextual. You must hyperlink in the right context within the website and to the other websites. Good links are appreciated by the Search Engines and by the visitors. No one likes to be taken to a mall selling “Macintosh” when shopping for “apples”.

Commandment 8: Write relevant and original Meta content.

Meta content is like business cards. Just as your business card tells who you are and what you do Meta content tells the Search Engines the relevance and context of a web page. Resist the temptation to include everything in the Meta content, but make it detailed. Confused? The idea is to include only what is relevant to the page in the Meta Content but include everything that is relevant.

Commandment 9: Acquire Relevant Links.

The Links you acquire are the roads to your web page for Search Engine Bots and visitors. Good links increase your webpage’s equity on the World Wide Web and bad link make a dent to the equity and credibility. Be selective in reciprocal linking. Both reciprocal and one way links work, if you are prudent in selecting the links. Submit your website to the relevant sections in relevant directories.

Commandment 10: Consult experts, if you need to.

If you have the competence there are two ways to learn. Learning from one’s own mistakes and learning form other’s experience. You could choose either. If you have the time and can wait for the online dollars do it yourself. If you want to get started now it may be useful to consult the experts.

7 Secrets To Top Search Engine Rankings For SEO Dummies

There’s hope for the ‘little guys’ in the  search engine ranking game, even if they  can’t tell the difference between the title  and keyword meta tag!  You can achieve high rankings for important  keywords simply by applying certain rules  that stand the test of time and even technology…and the number one rule is really to…

…Help the search engines provide relevant search results!

How do you do this? I’ll reveal the  ‘secrets’ soon.

While I’m far from being an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) expert and am just sharing experiences here, I’ve achieved some phenomenal results by following these basic rules and without resorting to ‘tricks’. Importantly, these are rankings that last.

I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t learn about SEO or use genuine software that helps, in fact you should.

To learn about SEO, some sites you can check out:

http://www.selfpromotion.com : shows you how to construct your webpages and submit them to hundreds of search engines and directories absolutely FREE.

http://www.searchenginewatch.com :  everything you need to know related to search engines.

Recall the number one rule? It’s to help the search engines provide relevant search results.

Now I honestly believe there are only two MAIN things which support this rule and in the process, reward your website with the high rankings you desire.

These two things are Keyword Rich Content and Targeted Back Links which we’ll talk about later…

Here then are 7 powerful secrets you can use to model your website after to explode your high search engine rankings!

Step 1: Determine Highly Searched Keywords

Determine highly searched and targeted keywords/keyword phrases related to your site and put them into a list. Here’re the tools to use:

https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com/

Step 2: Register Keyword Rich Domain Names

While there’ve been contrasting arguments about whether having keywords in your domain helps, I strongly feel it does. The same goes for dashes between words in the domain.

Use this to source for domain name ideas:

http://www.theserving.com

Step 3: Use Your Targeted Keywords In Your Copy

Use the list of keywords in step 1 within your website copy, especially in the title, headline and first paragraph. The important thing is to make them flow smoothly within the context of the copy so prospects will not find it weird.

Step 4: Insert Keyword Rich Relevant Content

Next, build up your site’s content with relevant topics containing your keywords. Don’t worry, here are some ways to get instant content:

– Posting suitable articles that contain your keywords. These can either be your own or from article directories like
http://www.ezinearticle.com
http://www.goarticles.com or
http://webpronews.com

– Posting newsletter issues in an archive online if you write any

– Do reviews and commentaries on related products and services in your market as content

Step 5: Aggressively Acquire Targeted Back Links

This is the second most important (some say it’s the first) factor to note after targeted and relevant content.

Get as many good quality incoming links from other sites as you can, believe me, this will really make a huge difference to your rankings. These links should come from sites in your market and preferably those with high PageRanks of 5 and above.

An excellent resource to check PageRank can also be found at http://rankwhere.com.

Alternatively, you can download Alexa toolbar from http://www.alexa.com as it also shows Alexa traffic ranking for any site. This is very useful for seeking high traffic link partners.

Step 6: Hand Submit Your Site To The Top Directories and Search Engines

There’s no point in using those ‘submit to millions’ services as only a few search engines really matter.

Using those services may actually cause your site to be penalized by these major engines.

In fact if you’ve done enough important reciprocal linkings, you don’t even need to submit your sites as spiders which crawl your link partner sites (already indexed) will pick up your link easily.

However, if you must submit, do it by hand  at these directories and search engines here:

Ask Jeeves: http://www.ineedhits.com/paid-inclusion/ask-jeeves-search-engine.aspx
Open Directory: http://www.dmoz.org/add.html
Google: http://www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl
All The Web:
http://www.alltheweb.com/help/webmaster/submit_site

Step 7: Tune Your Site For Maximum Optimization

The final step would be to constantly monitor and analyze your website traffic against rankings. This is so you can review and tweak for further improvement in your rankings.

I hope this article will prove highly useful to you. Do not be scare away by SEO, it’s simple once you follow the above
system. While these steps are not everything you can do, it’ll be enough to get your site ranked very well for the targeted keywords you chose.

Again, remember the number one rule of  giving relevant content and establishing good back links. Help the search engines provide relevant results for their customers and your rankings will automatically skyrocket to the top!

Search Engine Optimization Tips

Welcome to the second part of our series of articles on search engine optimization. In the previous article we discussed keywords, domain names, content and keyword density issues. This article moves past that to the nitty gritty of improving your web pages and website for better search engine rankings.

Page Title
It’s truly amazing how many people don’t realize how critical the TITLE tag can be to the success or failure of your website. Your TITLE tag needs to have your most important keyword for that page included in it. This is for the benefit of the search engines.

From a visitors point of view it also needs to entice them to click on your title tag when they see it in the search engine results. If your page is about PDA Accessories don’t just use that phrase in the TITLE tag.

Dress it up a bit. For example “PDA Accessories For The Busy Geek” or “Need Accessories for Your PDA? Come right in!” Those examples took me 10 seconds to come up with. You can do far better with a little more time and effort.

META Keyword Tag
Anybody still using the Meta Keyword tag as their sole search engine optimization method please leave the room. Go on get out and don’t come back.

The Meta Keyword tag is all but dead to the search engines. When building your pages it’s still worth including but simply put in the top 3 or 4 keywords that are relevant to your business and leave it at that. Do not spend hours coming up with hundreds of keywords to stuff into the Meta Keyword tag. It’s a total waste of time and anybody who tells you different has no idea what they’re talking about.


META Description Tag

This still has some limited value for your SEO work. When Google or other search engines display search results they display the contents of the TITLE tag and your Meta Description tag (if present) or a random selection of text from the page. Your Meta Description tag will take priority if present.

The Meta Description tag is still worth using. Your most important keyword should be in there and again you need to work this keyword into an eye catching phrase or sentence. Don’t just copy and paste the main keyword in there.

If the Meta Description tag is used well, in conjunction with the TITLE tag, then it can make your displayed search result more inviting to the potential visitor. Again don’t spend more than a few minutes on your Meta Description tag but do make sure that you include it on each page. One final note – make the Meta Description for each page different; don’t just recycle the same one over and over.

RSS
Stands for Really Simple Syndication and is probably something you’ve heard a lot about over the last few months. RSS allows you to display the news items and/or content from other sites on your website as part of a “news feed”. This adds a huge amount of value to your site from a vistors point of view – they don’t need to leave your site to get the latest news on a given topic. The other benefit is that search engines love seeing fresh content on websites.

At the moment there’s a huge upsurge in the use of RSS for search engine optimization. The question is does it work? Yes it does. Using RSS can most definitely encourage the search engines to come back to visit your site more often. How does it work? Well again that goes beyond the scope of this article so please refer to our site for more information.

Blogs
Also called Web Logs are basically online diaries. For a long time these were used solely by… well…. geeks to record their thoughts and as a way of sharing information on Star Trek. Seriously though initially blogs were never seen as anything more than a curiousity.

Recently with the increased visibility of RSS blogs have also seen their profile rise. Why? Well because many RSS feeds feature blog content. Which means what exactly? It means your blog could be included on and linked to from thousands of websites all over the world. Are you seeing the possiblities? There are some other nuances to consider but to mention them here would give the game away completely and certain ebook authors would put a price on my head for giving away their secrets.

SEO Advertisting & Pay Per Click PPC

Advertising can be an easy way to break into the internet but there are many downsides to it. Unless you are running a community based site, have a site offering very unique content, a valuable service or product the traffic usually only comes as long as your paying for it. Of course ad campaigns can also be very expensive to run and maintain so you need to be sure your squeezing everything you can out of it. You should only proceed with a ad campaign if you are positive your site is the best it can be, otherwise you may just be pouring money away. There are thousands of companies on the internet who offer to provide you with ad campaigns, many of which never deliver, do not let any of these points put you off advertising.

If you want quality traffic with affordable prices you are recommended to stick with the major search engines and their partners. Google Adwords, Overture and MSN are all well respected companies which will deliver you the best traffic. All of the fore mentioned websites use pay per click systems which can be perfect as they drive traffic with keywords you specify directly at your site, these advertisers are all interlinked with the main search engines so you should expect to get the most widespread sections of the population from them. Because they have the traffic numbers to support ad campaigns there can sometimes be bidding wars on popular keywords, I advise you to stay away from popular keywords and do your research. Overture provides a free Keyword Selector Tool which can help you find out how much traffic similar keywords receive each month, these are usually a lot cheaper and still provide the same high quality traffic.

As I mentioned before advertising wont necessarily mean a good flow of traffic after you stop paying, other routes of advertising can mean you get listed in a search engines immediately for a set fee. Yahoo offers the ability to pay for a index within their search engine or directory, although your site still needs to abide by the same rules as other sites it gives you the opportunity to get indexed immediately within the search engine, a more subtle way of advertising power. Alternatively you can find quality sites that are related to yours on Sitepoint.com and WebHostingTalk.com who may be willing to put a one way link up for a nominal fee.

You may find websites on the internet offering “banner exchanges”, “free traffic” and other such promises, I wouldn’t look at them twice unless you want to lose out. The traffic they send you is of the worst quality, many of these websites operate bots, own networks of link farms and even pay people to visit your site. This of course means that no one being referred from these sites are actually interested in your content or services, in worst case scenarios you may even end up being banned from search engines due to these malicious sites. Even if they are reputable companies it is hard to judge whether they will work for you, many of the smaller search engine companies simply do not get the traffic to give you value for money.

SEO Success: Step One is Good Web Design

Creating a well-designed website is the first step in your internet marketing strategy. Once the website has been created and optimized, there are further techniques to employ that will drive traffic to your website for successful, long-term results. You wouldn’t consider opening a retail store in a major shopping mall without signage and you shouldn’t consider having a nice looking website designed without expanding your web presence in order to be found on the internet. But unless the website is designed correctly to begin with, follow-on SEO efforts will have limited results at best. The following strategy overview is designed to bring about productive SEO results:

– Create an attractive website that is complementary to your company image and provides your targeted audience with information about you, your company and your products and/or services.

– Design a website that has a call-to-action in the form of a purchase or providing you a contact, subscription or other commitment from your visitor.

– Create a successful marketing arm for your overall business promotion and marketing campaign to promote your business, products and/or services with the many follow-on strategies that drive traffic to your website.

– Become competitive in your industry and marketplace by meeting or exceeding the industry marketing standards and attracting a qualified audience for your products and/or services based on a strong reputation.

– Generate and maintain or grow internet traffic to your website resulting in a conversion of traffic into sales of your products and/or services by evolving as your market demands.

This search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is composed of several processes in three stages: 1) Good web design, 2) Attracting attention from search engines and directories, and 3) Creating long-term popularity on the internet. However, it all starts with good web design. Website design is the foundation and beginning of a successful internet marketing strategy. It is true that there are websites on the internet that are unattractive but somehow seem to work. If there are aspects of these websites that work, imagine how well they could do if they simply followed basic design implementation tactics that resulted in a good image as well as simply pushed information out to the viewer.

These basics are essential for Tier 1 success:

– Good web design will complement and enhance the company image and offline marketing campaign products creating a corporate branding if done well.

– Easy, logical navigation that leads the viewer deeper and deeper into the web of information provided by the website will keep the visitor on your site longer and give you more time to sell your products or services.

– Attractive but quick-loading graphics that are pleasing to the eye and meaningful to the website will guide the viewer along the route you decide is important for explaining what you offer.

Keyword usage that is search engine-friendly depends on how the keywords are utilized, the placement of the keywords, the frequency of the most important keywords and their relevance to the website.

– Website coding that is lean, clean and without errors will keep the search engines happy and your viewer seeing exactly what you intended to offer.

– Relevance of content to the theme of the site is essential. Be concise, to the point and focus on your goals. If you have multiple themes and offerings, consider multiple websites to address the different markets, then tie each website back to the others by linking.

– Changing content that changes frequently and stays fresh keeps your viewer returning and prevents the search engines from treating your website as if it were stale news. A stale site will be ranked lower by the search engines.

Content is king — it’s all about content, content, content. But how that content is presented is what makes the difference.

An SEO Glossary – Common SEO Terms Defined

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become an essential weapon in the arsenal of every online business. Unfortunately, for most business owners and marketing managers (and even many webmasters), it’s also somewhat of an enigma. This is partly due to the fact that it’s such a new and rapidly changing field, and partly due to the fact that SEO practitioners tend to speak in a language all of their own which, without translation, is virtually impenetrable to the layperson. This glossary seeks to remedy that situation, explaining specialist SEO terms in plain English…

AdWords

See ‘Sponsored Links’.

algorithm

A complex mathematical formula used by search engines to assess the relevance and importance of websites and rank them accordingly in their search results. These algorithms are kept tightly under wraps as they are the key to the objectivity of search engines (i.e. the algorithm ensures relevant results, and relevant results bring more users, which in turn brings more advertising revenue).

article PR

The submitting of free reprint articles to many article submission sites and article distribution lists in order to increase your website’s search engine ranking and Google PageRank. (In this sense, the “PR” stands for PageRank.) Like traditional public relations, article PR also conveys a sense of authority because your articles are widely published. And because you’re proving your expertise and freely dispensing knowledge, your readers will trust you and will be more likely to remain loyal to you. (In this sense, the “PR” stands for Public Relations.)

article distribution lists

User groups (e.g. Yahoo, MSN, Google, Smartgroups, and Topica groups) which accept email submissions of articles in text format, and then distribute these articles via email to all of the members of the group. See also ‘article PR’.

article submission sites

Websites which act as repositories of free reprint articles. Authors visit these sites to submit their articles free of charge, and webmasters visit to find articles to use on their websites free of charge. Article submission sites generate revenue by selling advertising space on their websites. See also ‘article PR’.

backlink

A text link to your website from another website. See also ‘link’.

copy

The words used on your website.

copywriter

A professional writer who specializes in the writing of advertising copy (compelling, engaging words promoting a particular product or service). See also ‘SEO copywriter’ and ‘web copywriter’.

crawl

Google finds pages on the World Wide Web and records their details in its index by sending out ‘spiders’ or ‘robots’. These spiders make their way from page to page and site to site by following text links. To a spider, a text link is like a door.

domain name

The virtual address of your website (normally in the form www.yourbusinessname.com). This is what people will type when they want to visit your site. It is also what you will use as the address in any text links back to your site.

ezine

An electronic magazine. Most publishers of ezines are desperate for content and gladly publish well written, helpful articles and give you full credit as author, including a link to your website.

Flash

A technology used to create animated web pages (and page elements).

free reprint article

An article written by you and made freely available to other webmasters to publish on their websites. See also ‘article PR’.

Google

The search engine with the greatest coverage of the World Wide Web, and which is responsible for most search engine-referred traffic. Of approximately 11.5 billion pages on the World Wide Web, it is estimated that Google has indexed around 8.8 billion. This is one reason why it takes so long to increase your ranking!

Google AdWords


See ‘Sponsored Links’.

Google PageRank

How Google scores a website’s importance. It gives all sites a mark out of 10. By downloading the Google Toolbar (from http://toolbar.google.com), you can view the PR of any site you visit.

Google Toolbar

A free tool you can download. It becomes part of your browser toolbar. It’s most useful features are it’s PageRank display (which allows you to view the PR of any site you visit) and it’s AutoFill function (when you’re filling out an online form, you can click AutoFill, and it enters all the standard information automatically, including Name, Address, Zip code/Postcode, Phone Number, Email Address, Business Name, Credit Card Number (password protected), etc.) Once you’ve downloaded and installed the toolbar, you may need to set up how you’d like it to look and work by clicking Options (setup is very easy). NOTE: Google does record some information (mostly regarding sites visited).

HTML

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is the coding language used to create much of the information on the World Wide Web. Web browsers read the HTML code and display the page that code describes.

Internet

An interconnected network of computers around the world.

JavaScript

A programming language used to create dynamic website pages (e.g. interactivity).

keyword

A word which your customers search for and which you use frequently on your site in order to be relevant to those searches. This use known as targeting a keyword. Most websites actually target ‘keyword phrases’ because single keywords are too generic and it is very difficult to rank highly for them.

keyword density

A measure of the frequency of your keyword in relation to the total wordcount of the page. So if your page has 200 words, and your keyword phrase appears 10 times, its density is 5%.

keyword phrase

A phrase which your customers search for and which you use frequently on your site in order to be relevant to those searches.

link

A word or image on a web page which the reader can click to visit another page. There are normally visual cues to indicate to the reader that the word or image is a link.

link path

Using text links to connect a series of page (i.e. page 1 connects to page 2, page 2 connects to page 3, page 3 connects to page 4, and so on). Search engine ‘spiders’ and ‘robots’ use text links to jump from page to page as they gather information about it, so it’s a good idea to allow them traverse your entire site via text links. (See ‘Link paths’ on p.21. for further information.)

link partner

A webmaster who is willing to put a link to your website on their website. Quite often link partners engage in reciprocal linking.

link popularity

The number of links to your website. Link popularity is the single most important factor in a high search engine ranking. Webmasters use a number of methods to increase their site’s link popularity including article PR, link exchange (link partners / reciprocal linking), link buying, and link directories.

link text

The part of a text link that is visible to the reader. When generating links to your own site, they are most effective (in terms of ranking) if they include your keyword.

meta tag

A short note within the header of the HTML of your web page which describes some aspect of that page. These meta tags are read by the search engines and used to help assess the relevance of a site to a particular search.

natural search results

The ‘real’ search results. The results that most users are looking for and which take up most of the window. For most searches, the search engine displays a long list of links to sites with content which is related to the word you searched for. These results are ranked according to how relevant and important they are.

organic search results

See ‘natural search results’.

PPC (Pay-Per-Click advertising)

See ‘Sponsored Links’.

PageRank

See ‘Google PageRank’.

rank

Your position in the search results that display when someone searches for a particular word at a search engine.

reciprocal link

A mutual agreement between two webmasters to exchange links (i.e. they both add a link to the other’s website on their own website). Most search engines (certainly Google) are sophisticated enough to detect reciprocal linking and they don’t view it very favorably because it is clearly a manufactured method of generating links. Websites with reciprocal links risk being penalized.

robot

See ‘Spider’.

robots.txt file

A file which is used to inform the search engine spider which pages on a site should not be indexed. This file sits in your site’s root directory on the web server. (Alternatively, you can do a similar thing by placing tags in the header section of your HTML for search engine robots/spiders to read. See ‘Optimizing your web ’ on p.22. for more information.)

Sandbox

Many SEO experts believe that Google ‘sandboxes’ new websites. Whenever it detects a new website, it withholds its rightful ranking for a period while it determines whether your site is a genuine, credible, long term site. It does this to discourage the creation of SPAM websites (sites which serve no useful purpose other than to boost the ranking of some other site). Likewise, if Google detects a sudden increase (i.e. many hundreds or thousands) in the number of links back to your site, it may sandbox them for a period (or in fact penalize you by lowering your ranking or blacklisting your site altogether).

SEO

Search Engine Optimization. The art of making your website relevant and important so that it ranks high in the search results for a particular word.

SEO copywriter

A ‘copywriter’ who is not only proficient at web copy, but also experienced in writing copy which is optimized for search engines (and will therefore help you achieve a better search engine ranking for your website).

search engine

A search engine is an online tool which allows you to search for websites which contain a particular word or phrase. The most well known search engines are Google, Yahoo, and MSN.

site map

A single page which contains a list of text links to every page in the site (and every page contains a text link back to the site map). Think of your site map as being at the center of a spider-web.

SPAM

Generally refers to unwanted and unrequested email sent en-masse to private email addresses. Also used to refer to websites which appear high in search results without having any useful content. The creators of these sites set them up simply to cash in on their high ranking by selling advertising space, links to other sites, or by linking to other sites of their own and thereby increasing the ranking of those sites. The search engines are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and already have very efficient ways to detect SPAM websites and penalize them.

spider

Google finds pages on the World Wide Web and records their details in its index by sending out ‘spiders’ or ‘robots’. These spiders make their way from page to page and site to site by following text links.

Sponsored Links

Paid advertising which displays next to the natural search results. Customers can click on the ad to visit the advertiser’s website. This is how the search engines make their money. Advertisers set their ads up to display whenever someone searches for a word which is related to their product or service. These ads look similar to the natural search results, but are normally labeled “Sponsored Links”, and normally take up a smaller portion of the window. These ads work on a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) basis (i.e. the advertiser only pays when someone clicks on their ad).

submit

You can submit your domain name to the search engines so that their ‘spiders’ or ‘robots’ will crawl your site. You can also submit articles to ‘article submission sites’ in order to have them published on the Internet.

text link

A word on a web page which the reader can click to visit another page. Text links are normally blue and underlined. Text links are what ‘spiders’ or ‘robots’ use to jump from page to page and website to website.

URL

Uniform Resource Locator. The address of a particular page published on the Internet. Normally in the form http://www.yourbusinessname.com/AWebPage.htm.

web copy

See ‘copy’.

web copywriter

A ‘copywriter’ who understands the unique requirements of writing for an online medium.

webmaster

A person responsible for the management of a particular website.

wordcount

The number of words on a particular web page.

World Wide Web (WWW)

The vast array of documents published on the Internet. It is estimated that the World Wide Web now consists of approximately 11.5 billion pages.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become an essential weapon in the arsenal of every online business. Unfortunately, for most business owners and marketing managers (and even many webmasters), it’s also somewhat of an enigma. This is partly due to the fact that it’s such a new and rapidly changing field, and partly due to the fact that SEO practitioners tend to speak in a language all of their own which, without translation, is virtually impenetrable to the layperson. This glossary seeks to remedy that situation, explaining specialist SEO terms in plain English…

AdWords

See ‘Sponsored Links’.

algorithm

A complex mathematical formula used by search engines to assess the relevance and importance of websites and rank them accordingly in their search results. These algorithms are kept tightly under wraps as they are the key to the objectivity of search engines (i.e. the algorithm ensures relevant results, and relevant results bring more users, which in turn brings more advertising revenue).

article PR

The submitting of free reprint articles to many article submission sites and article distribution lists in order to increase your website’s search engine ranking and Google PageRank. (In this sense, the “PR” stands for PageRank.) Like traditional public relations, article PR also conveys a sense of authority because your articles are widely published. And because you’re proving your expertise and freely dispensing knowledge, your readers will trust you and will be more likely to remain loyal to you. (In this sense, the “PR” stands for Public Relations.)

article distribution lists

User groups (e.g. Yahoo, MSN, Google, Smartgroups, and Topica groups) which accept email submissions of articles in text format, and then distribute these articles via email to all of the members of the group. See also ‘article PR’.

article submission sites

Websites which act as repositories of free reprint articles. Authors visit these sites to submit their articles free of charge, and webmasters visit to find articles to use on their websites free of charge. Article submission sites generate revenue by selling advertising space on their websites. See also ‘article PR’.

backlink

A text link to your website from another website. See also ‘link’.

copy

The words used on your website.

copywriter

A professional writer who specializes in the writing of advertising copy (compelling, engaging words promoting a particular product or service). See also ‘SEO copywriter’ and ‘web copywriter’.

crawl

Google finds pages on the World Wide Web and records their details in its index by sending out ‘spiders’ or ‘robots’. These spiders make their way from page to page and site to site by following text links. To a spider, a text link is like a door.

domain name

The virtual address of your website (normally in the form www.yourbusinessname.com). This is what people will type when they want to visit your site. It is also what you will use as the address in any text links back to your site.

ezine

An electronic magazine. Most publishers of ezines are desperate for content and gladly publish well written, helpful articles and give you full credit as author, including a link to your website.

Flash

A technology used to create animated web pages (and page elements).

free reprint article

An article written by you and made freely available to other webmasters to publish on their websites. See also ‘article PR’.

Google

The search engine with the greatest coverage of the World Wide Web, and which is responsible for most search engine-referred traffic. Of approximately 11.5 billion pages on the World Wide Web, it is estimated that Google has indexed around 8.8 billion. This is one reason why it takes so long to increase your ranking!

Google AdWords

See ‘Sponsored Links’.

Google PageRank

How Google scores a website’s importance. It gives all sites a mark out of 10. By downloading the Google Toolbar (from http://toolbar.google.com), you can view the PR of any site you visit.

Google Toolbar

A free tool you can download. It becomes part of your browser toolbar. It’s most useful features are it’s PageRank display (which allows you to view the PR of any site you visit) and it’s AutoFill function (when you’re filling out an online form, you can click AutoFill, and it enters all the standard information automatically, including Name, Address, Zip code/Postcode, Phone Number, Email Address, Business Name, Credit Card Number (password protected), etc.) Once you’ve downloaded and installed the toolbar, you may need to set up how you’d like it to look and work by clicking Options (setup is very easy). NOTE: Google does record some information (mostly regarding sites visited).

HTML

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is the coding language used to create much of the information on the World Wide Web. Web browsers read the HTML code and display the page that code describes.

Internet

An interconnected network of computers around the world.

JavaScript

A programming language used to create dynamic website pages (e.g. interactivity).

keyword

A word which your customers search for and which you use frequently on your site in order to be relevant to those searches. This use known as targeting a keyword. Most websites actually target ‘keyword phrases’ because single keywords are too generic and it is very difficult to rank highly for them.

keyword density

A measure of the frequency of your keyword in relation to the total wordcount of the page. So if your page has 200 words, and your keyword phrase appears 10 times, its density is 5%.

keyword phrase

A phrase which your customers search for and which you use frequently on your site in order to be relevant to those searches.

link

A word or image on a web page which the reader can click to visit another page. There are normally visual cues to indicate to the reader that the word or image is a link.

link path

Using text links to connect a series of page (i.e. page 1 connects to page 2, page 2 connects to page 3, page 3 connects to page 4, and so on). Search engine ‘spiders’ and ‘robots’ use text links to jump from page to page as they gather information about it, so it’s a good idea to allow them traverse your entire site via text links. (See ‘Link paths’ on p.21. for further information.)

link partner

A webmaster who is willing to put a link to your website on their website. Quite often link partners engage in reciprocal linking.

link popularity

The number of links to your website. Link popularity is the single most important factor in a high search engine ranking. Webmasters use a number of methods to increase their site’s link popularity including article PR, link exchange (link partners / reciprocal linking), link buying, and link directories.

link text

The part of a text link that is visible to the reader. When generating links to your own site, they are most effective (in terms of ranking) if they include your keyword.

meta tag

A short note within the header of the HTML of your web page which describes some aspect of that page. These meta tags are read by the search engines and used to help assess the relevance of a site to a particular search.

natural search results

The ‘real’ search results. The results that most users are looking for and which take up most of the window. For most searches, the search engine displays a long list of links to sites with content which is related to the word you searched for. These results are ranked according to how relevant and important they are.

organic search results

See ‘natural search results’.

PPC (Pay-Per-Click advertising)

See ‘Sponsored Links’.

PageRank

See ‘Google PageRank’.

rank

Your position in the search results that display when someone searches for a particular word at a search engine.

reciprocal link

A mutual agreement between two webmasters to exchange links (i.e. they both add a link to the other’s website on their own website). Most search engines (certainly Google) are sophisticated enough to detect reciprocal linking and they don’t view it very favorably because it is clearly a manufactured method of generating links. Websites with reciprocal links risk being penalized.

robot

See ‘Spider’.

robots.txt file

A file which is used to inform the search engine spider which pages on a site should not be indexed. This file sits in your site’s root directory on the web server. (Alternatively, you can do a similar thing by placing tags in the header section of your HTML for search engine robots/spiders to read. See ‘Optimizing your web ’ on p.22. for more information.)

Sandbox

Many SEO experts believe that Google ‘sandboxes’ new websites. Whenever it detects a new website, it withholds its rightful ranking for a period while it determines whether your site is a genuine, credible, long term site. It does this to discourage the creation of SPAM websites (sites which serve no useful purpose other than to boost the ranking of some other site). Likewise, if Google detects a sudden increase (i.e. many hundreds or thousands) in the number of links back to your site, it may sandbox them for a period (or in fact penalize you by lowering your ranking or blacklisting your site altogether).

SEO

Search Engine Optimization. The art of making your website relevant and important so that it ranks high in the search results for a particular word.

SEO copywriter

A ‘copywriter’ who is not only proficient at web copy, but also experienced in writing copy which is optimized for search engines (and will therefore help you achieve a better search engine ranking for your website).

search engine

A search engine is an online tool which allows you to search for websites which contain a particular word or phrase. The most well known search engines are Google, Yahoo, and MSN.

site map

A single page which contains a list of text links to every page in the site (and every page contains a text link back to the site map). Think of your site map as being at the center of a spider-web.

SPAM

Generally refers to unwanted and unrequested email sent en-masse to private email addresses. Also used to refer to websites which appear high in search results without having any useful content. The creators of these sites set them up simply to cash in on their high ranking by selling advertising space, links to other sites, or by linking to other sites of their own and thereby increasing the ranking of those sites. The search engines are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and already have very efficient ways to detect SPAM websites and penalize them.

spider

Google finds pages on the World Wide Web and records their details in its index by sending out ‘spiders’ or ‘robots’. These spiders make their way from page to page and site to site by following text links.

Sponsored Links

Paid advertising which displays next to the natural search results. Customers can click on the ad to visit the advertiser’s website. This is how the search engines make their money. Advertisers set their ads up to display whenever someone searches for a word which is related to their product or service. These ads look similar to the natural search results, but are normally labeled “Sponsored Links”, and normally take up a smaller portion of the window. These ads work on a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) basis (i.e. the advertiser only pays when someone clicks on their ad).

submit

You can submit your domain name to the search engines so that their ‘spiders’ or ‘robots’ will crawl your site. You can also submit articles to ‘article submission sites’ in order to have them published on the Internet.

text link

A word on a web page which the reader can click to visit another page. Text links are normally blue and underlined. Text links are what ‘spiders’ or ‘robots’ use to jump from page to page and website to website.

URL

Uniform Resource Locator. The address of a particular page published on the Internet. Normally in the form http://www.yourbusinessname.com/AWebPage.htm.

web copy

See ‘copy’.

web copywriter

A ‘copywriter’ who understands the unique requirements of writing for an online medium.

webmaster

A person responsible for the management of a particular website.

wordcount

The number of words on a particular web page.

World Wide Web (WWW)

The vast array of documents published on the Internet. It is estimated that the World Wide Web now consists of approximately 11.5 billion pages.