Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Make the Most of What You Already Have!

We talked about using keywords to optimize your site. Before you go through all that trouble, you should start by looking at your existing content. Can you improve it in any way that will increase search engine traffic? Organizing your web content is the best place to start. You want to be sure that you've used your keywords in the right places.

Start by reviewing your current content and making sure there's some sort of structure. Decide what keywords you want to use and make adjustments so that keywords and related words are put into your content.

Each page on your website has a purpose. What is it? Once you define the purpose of each page, you can then move on to optimizing the page with your chosen keywords.

Next, you'll use keywords in this fashion - broad to specific filter. Chocolate is a broad filter. Truffles is a narrower filter. French truffles is an even narrower filter. You want to make your home page "findable" by people doing a broad search. After that, searchers can narrow down to specific pages, then specific products on your site.

The Home page is the most important page when it comes to an internet search. It tells people who you are and what you do. Home pages get the largest number of 'hits' from searchers, so you want to be sure that you have used your keywords well here. You should find the 3 most important keywords for your homepage and use those. The homepage should have internal keyword-rich links to category pages that are designed for people doing more specific research. Category pages should relate to a single topic. For instance, my fictional website sells chocolate. A category page could be dedicated to truffles and I would use the keywords "chocolate", "truffles" and "gourmet" to drive traffic to that page.

The category pages will then link to specific product pages. The truffles page will then go to French Truffles product to order. Product pages should be optimized for 2 keywords. This will narrow the search terms, as I mentioned above.

I took the next bit from; it's not the ONLY way to optimize your content, but it's one way to start.

Next let's look at optimizing specific pages. Here are the steps to follow:

(i) Decide on the specific subject you're going to write about and the reason why you're going to write it (for example, 'to help people understand' or 'to close a sale'.)

(ii) Pick a primary and a secondary keyword phrase around which you'll optimize your content. For the home page and for category pages, you can add a third phrase.

(iii) Write the title meta tag including at least your primary keyword phrase. Also include your second and third phrases if possible. However, limit the title to around 70 characters so you might just have to use two out of your three chosen phrases.

(iv) Write the description meta tag including all three of the keyword phrases. This should be meaningful and written in good English with a limit of around 200 characters. The description can often double as the summary or first paragraph of your copy.

(v) Now work out the structure of your copy, write keyword rich subheadings that help you organize your material.

(vi) Now write the copy itself. Don't worry too much about keyword density – if you've followed these steps your page will be well optimized. It is much better at this stage to write persuasively for people, not search engines.

Optimizing your existing content is the first step in getting a real business return from your investment in keyword research. Many people stop here and don't realize how profitable using keywords in other ways can be. With this section you've done the basics. In the next class we'll look at the less common uses of keyword research that can give you a real competitive advantage.

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