Build A Website that Sells Part 2 – Simple Search Engine Optimization

Welcome to tutorial 2 of the Build a Website that Sells Series. It was hard to decide over whether to write about content for search engines or choosing affliates programs first. Eventually, I came to a conclusion that content is king!

No one on the internet can search for information at a site which consists only of graphics, pictures or flash animation. They search for information at a site filled with text content. Search engines welcome websites with content and not websites that splatter only banner ads on the page. It’s what fuels the internet and it will stay that way for as long as it exists.

Anyway, now that you have chosen a theme for your website, it’s time to start writing some content around “Keywords”.

Keywords:
Keywords or keyphrases are phrases or words that surfers type on search engines to find a website that has the information they want. For example: If I want to look for gardening tools, I type “gardening tools” to search for related websites. In this case, the keyword is “gardening tools”.

By using keyword tools, you’ll know what people search for the most. Using back the example earlier – the gardening site, mightygreenthumbs.com (I know peanuts about gardening, mind you), let’s say I want to write an article about “fertilizers”. So I use one of the following FREE keyword suggestion tools:

Overture’s Keyword Selector Tool
Digital Point Solution’s Free Keyword Suggestion Tool

I see that the word “fertilizers” is searched 26589 times and “organic fertilizer” is searched 5766 times in the month of February 2006. Supposing I have a very extensive knowledge of cheap and organic fertilizer I use everyday for my gardens, I click on the “organic fertilizer” to see more narrow searches on this area and from there I can see what people are generally interested in when it comes to organic fertilizers. The entire list helps me to brainstorm what contents I can write about fertilizers.

I may want to write a general piece on “Organic Fertilizer: An Introduction” and slowly branch out to narrow topics such as “The Advantages and Disadvantages of Organic Fertilizers”, “How to Make an Organic Fertilizer”, “Organic Fertilizers in Canada”, etc.

The Technicals

If you want to target the keyword “Organic Lawn Fertilizer”, a general rule of thumb to rank well on search engines using on-page factors relates to:

1) Filename
2) Title
3) Body text and headers
4) Meta tags and other tags

To ease your pain, you may want to consider E-commerce packages like Site Build-It!, it takes care of all these easily by checking your page and advising you how to optimize your page better for search engines. Anyway, on with the technicals:

1) Keyword in Filename
e.g. organiclawnfertilizer.html, organic-lawn-fertilizer.html, lawn-organic-fertilizer.html, etc
If you want to separate filenames, it is advised to use hyphens. However, too many hyphens create a spammy look. Google is quite strict about it. So a filename like: keyword1-keyword2-keyword3-spam-spam-spam is not advisable.

For bloggers, the blog providers automatically change your filename according to your blog title. All will go well if you follow all steps in this tutorial.

2) Keyword in title and meta tags

< HEAD>
< TITLE>Organic Lawn Fertilizer: The Awful Truth< /TITLE>
< META name="description" content="Everything you wanted to know about Organic Law Fertilizer">
< META name="keywords" content="organic lawn fertilizer, organic fertilizer, lawn fertilizer">
< /HEAD>

If you are creating your own website, you can add the < title>< /title> tag inside your < head>< /head> tag, like above. Although some internet marketing gurus argue it’s best to put ONLY the keyword in the title, you shouldn’t forget the fact that you are also targetting your site to visitors and not only the search engines. “Organic Lawn Fertilizers” may not be enticing enough to get clicks to your website, but maybe “Organic Lawn Fertilizers: The Awful Truth” will. It’s also important to put the keyword as the first few words in your title. For bloggers, your page title is equivalent to your blog title.

Meta tags isn’t as important as it was years ago. We use two common type of meta tags, meta keywords and meta description. If you refer to the code above, do you see META name=”description”? That’s the meta description tag and and META name=”keywords” is the meta keywords tag.

There’s very little use for meta keywords, but it does help a little bit in guiding what the search engine should expect from your website. The meta description is displayed on the search results and gives your visitors a glimpse of what your page is about, like this at Google:

googlesematches

Meta tags used to be extremely useful and it was fairly easy to rank on the top 2 pages if you used keywords in the meta tags, it’s not the case now because the major search engines like google, yahoo and msn doesn’t support it. ONLY A FEW search engines support it, and these are very minor ones which probably won’t bring you much traffic. The fact that it was so easy to rank top 10 by using meta tags years ago is the reason why no importance is placed on them anymore. The major search engines want targetted search results for their users, not spammy keyword sites that are filled with uncomprehensible text to the human eyes.

3) Body Header
Put a H1 header (e.g. use < H1>< /H1> tags) that is the same as the title before you start your articles, you can also put taglines with keywords after it. For e.g.,

< H1>Organic Lawn Fertilizer: The Awful Truth< /H1>
< H2>Just because it’s organic, doesn’t mean it’s good. Organic Lawn Fertilizers can be detrimental to your plant’s health.< /H2>

4) Body text
Have your keywords appear throughout your article or content 5-20% of the time.

4) Image Alt Tag
You can also use keywords when describing your images. These are alt description in your image tag, e.g.
< img src="picoffert.jpg" alt="organic lawn fertilizer">
The alt tag describes what the picture is about when you mouseover the picture, it also shows the alt words when the picture doesn’t load.

Other factors to consider

1) Get good sites to link to you
If you have google toolbar, you’ll be able to check sites that google gives importance to. It’s called Google Page Rank. The google toolbar comes with FireFox browser, but you can also download one for internet explorer. If you don’t have FireFox, download it because it’s the best browser in the world.

googlepr

2) Add more content to your site regularly
Google likes websites that updates regularly, so do visitors 🙂

Other search engine optimization resources that help you to build website that sells:

Google Ranking Factors Checklist
Webmaster World Forums
Search Engine Watch

This is end of “Build a Website that Sells” Part 2. Now, let’s go make some money with “Build a Website that Sells Part 3 – Show Me the Money”

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