Posts Tagged ‘SEO’

10 Ideas For Website Content

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009 by

Let me give you ten fresh ideas for website content. We’ve talked about the importance of writing good, unique content for maximum search engine visibility. You need a strategy to build content for SEO. Plus, good content will improve your conversion rates. If you can grasp those ideas, you’re halfway there.

But some people get stuck at this point. You may look at your website and ask, “What else would I add? It seems like I’ve said everything that needs to be said.” Let me offer you some website content ideas.

  1. Expert reviews. You’re an expert on whatever your website is about. If you sell products, write some reviews about products you carry or on other products in your industry. Be careful, though–if someone gives you a product to review, you must write a disclaimer on your website.
  2. Social commentary. Is there anything going in current events that is relevant to your industry? Write some content about it. Write from your own unique angle.
  3. Event announcements. Tell about upcoming events in your company or industry. Keep in mind that people don’t just want to hear about you. Show them how the announcement is relevant to them or will benefit them.
  4. New products. Tell the world about your great new invention. Again, be sure to focus on how your product will help people. The goal is to talk about benefits, not features. There’s a place to talk about your services, but you need to make the explicit connection between your company and people’s needs.
  5. Solutions to problems. Are you trying to stop world hunger? Write about how you plan to do this. Do you sell a low-heat hairdryer? Write about how your product eliminates the problems high-heat hairdryers cause. Start with a problem people (or the world) have. Write about the solution.
  6. How-to articles. This is similar to #5. People are trying to do things. Give them a step-by-step guide. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found helpful information on a website like http://www.ehow.com. You can provide the same information for your niche. (You do have a niche you’re targeting, don’t you?)
  7. Start a blog. Be sure to keep it focused. Otherwise, this blogging poster will characterize you.
  8. History. Write about your company’s history. This helps people get to know you better. People like to do business with people, not cold companies. You could also write about the history of your industry or geographic location.
  9. Install a forum. This is particularly helpful if you want to increase your site visitors’ involvement on your site. It also provides a good way to help others.
  10. Create an expert Q&A section of your site. Answer real questions people have. It will help them, and you’ll increase your credibility.

As always, head on over to Robin Nobles’ Idea Motivator for more insights. Between her site and some of my ideas for website content, you should be well on your way to expanding your website. So, what are you waiting for?

Online Conversion Rates and SEO

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009 by

Or, Why SEO Is Not Enough

SEO, or search engine optimization, has been somewhat of a craze for awhile now. I believe this is an important part of developing an effective website. If no one can find your website, you will never sell, distribute information, or adequately promote your cause online. But you also need to focus on your online conversion rates.

SEO is not enough. Why not? It is only a means to an end, not an end in itself. Merely driving more relevant traffic to your website is insufficient to meet your site’s goals. It helps. It helps quite a bit. But having a lot of people visit your website is probably not why you developed a web presence. You probably want to tell the world about something. You may want to sell a product. You may want to persuade people.

SEO sets the stage for meeting these goals. But SEO success is never a good measure for how well you are meeting your website goals.

So what is needed? You need to be able to measure the actual online conversion rates of your website. Conversion rate is basically a measure of how well you meet your goals. It could be the percentage of people who buy your product, the percentage of people who sign up for your newsletter, or how long people stay on a page to read an article. If you can measure these things and take steps to improve them, you will be in a much better place than if you focus all your efforts on SEO.

Are you seeking to provide your site visitors with a positive experience? Are you helping them find what they need? Does your site have broken links? Is your web copy easy to understand? Are you giving your site visitors what they came to your site to find? (Do you even know why people are visiting your site?) Is your site’s design complementary to your site goals, or does the design undermine these goals? Start working on some of these things, and you’re bound to see your online conversion rates improve.

HTML Title Tags and SEO

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009 by

There are indicators on your page that a search engine looks for when it determines relevancy. The HTML title tag is one of these. If you look at your web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.), the text you see at the top of the window is the title tag text. If you’re looking at your HTML code, the title tag is up near the top in the “head” area.

The search engines heavily weight your title tag when they determines relevancy. The theory is that if your webpage is about three-pronged widgets, you’ll probably include “three-pronged widgets” in your title tag. Think of the title tag as something like the title of a paper you write for school. If you’re writing a paper on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, you wouldn’t write “America’s Greatest Hot Dog Eating Contest” as the title, would you? No. Why not? That’s not what your paper is about. Likewise, good title tags will accurately describe the web page.

The title tag is also what people see in the search engine results. A good title tag improves what’s called the click-through rate (CTR). CTR is the percentage of people who click on your link after they see it. Which page would you most likely click on: “Index of Three-Pronged Widgets” or “Three-Pronged Widgets Directory: Find Your Widgets Fast!”? Probably the second one. It is more compelling. It holds out a benefit to the searcher.

Did you notice that I put the words “Three-Pronged Widgets” first in the HTML title tag? It’s best to put your keywords right at the front. This is because search engines give more weight to words in the beginning of the title tag than words in the middle or end. The result? More traffic to your website!

One more thing. Come up with some unique content for each title. You don’t want a lot of duplicates on your website.

Want more information on writing good, compelling HTML title tags? Head on over to the Search Engine Workshops and read about title triggers.

Unique Web Content Is Important For SEO

Monday, July 20th, 2009 by

Good search-engine optimized content is unique web content. Awhile ago, I wrote about what makes a good website. This is partially a follow-up to that, with special consideration to the SEO value of writing articles that are different from anything else on the Internet.

Search engines follow links around the Web to find new pages. When a search engine finds a page, it compares that page to the other pages it has indexed. Why?

It is the search engine’s job to provide people with the most relevant results when they perform a search. There is no need to show two pages with nearly identical content in the search results. Think of it from the searcher’s perspective. Do you really want 5 out of the top 10 Google results to be the same content? Of course not. You’d get tired of clicking from one result to the next just to see the same stuff. Search engines do everything they can to keep that from happening.

If the wording on your page is nearly identical to someone else’s page, the search engine will have to decide which one to show when someone searches. It will probably not show both. Yes, I know—there are exceptions. But you risk keeping your page out of the search engines if your content is too close to someone else’s.

So, how do you come up with some ideas to write some unique pages? Here are some tips:

Here are ten more ideas for website content to get you going.

Here are some tools to measure the uniqueness of your page:

  • Similar Page Checker – compare the content on two pages. Just enter the URLs.
  • Duplicate Content Analysis – Like the Similar Page Checker, but a bit more advanced. Enter up to 10 URLs and check how unique the content is.
  • Yahoo! Uniqueness Test – Paste some text in a box and compare it with pages indexed in the Yahoo! search engine. This tool takes awhile to run.
  • Copyscape – See if anyone is plagiarizing your articles.

Visit the Idea Motivator blog for more ideas on how to write unique content for your website.

Spend the extra time to make sure your website articles are different from anyone else’s. The search engines will reward you.

How Search Engines Work

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 by

Curious how search engines work? You should be. Much of your online success depends on understanding a few search engine basics.

The search engine’s job is to return the most relevant web pages for a person’s search query. (A search query is basically what the person types in the search box before he or she clicks, “Search.”) Here’s what happens:

  1. A person visits a search engine like Google, Yahoo!, or MSN.
  2. They type something in the search box.
  3. They hit “Search.”
  4. The search engine runs the search query through some pretty advanced algorithms to determine the most relevant results to return. These results get pulled from a massive index of web pages the search engine has collected.
  5. A list of web pages gets displayed. These results are ordered by relevance.

Of course, you’re familiar with steps 1, 2, 3, and 5. But how does #4 work? No search engine is going to disclose their exact algorithm. However, there are things that every good search engine will look for to determine which pages are relevant to a person’s search query and which ones are not. Generally, these fall in two categories: on-page factors and off-page factors.

On-page factors are found in a web page’s HTML code. You have full control over these when you create a new page. They include things like the words you use in your article, your title tag, and what other pages you link to. We’ll go into more detail in a future post.

Off-page factors are found on other web pages besides the one in question. You have direct control over some of these, and little to no control over others. That’s right. Some factors that determine your relevance to a search query lie outside of your direct control. Put another way, how well you rank isn’t all up to you. “But that’s not fair!” you may cry. Fair or not, that’s the way search engines work. We have to play the hand we’ve been dealt. But take heart. Just because you have no direct control over some of these factors doesn’t mean you have no indirect control. Stay tuned and we’ll discuss some of those soon.

How search engines work can seem somewhat mysterious. Once you understand some of the off-page and off-page relevance factors, you can apply them to help boost your search engine rankings.