KeywordsHow do you make sure your customers can find you on the Internet to learn about you and your business? For free or “organic” searches, or pay-per-click campaigns, the secret is keywords – a term or phrase searchers use to find your website’s content.

Search engine marketing is amazingly effective – and a bargain! It’s all about making sure your customers can find you on the Internet to learn about you and your business.

The secret is keywords – a term or phrase searchers use to find your website’s content. For free or “organic” searches, you first need to figure out what keywords your customers use when they search for what you offer. Then make sure your site delivers the content they’re looking for. The same strategy holds true for pay-per-click searches, where you bid for positions on results pages.

Not plug and play
Search marketing is a moving target. Searches are increasingly competitive – you can quickly get pushed off your high page ranking (organic) or outbid (paid).

Given the complexities, success comes faster by harnessing expert help. Still, you’re in the best position to determine what content defines your business and draws customers.

Here are 12 tips to help make your site’s content search-engine friendly:

1. Research first

Industry sites such as Google AdWords and Wordtracker make it easier to select keywords. These online tools give you a popularity barometer of search words and offer suggestions about choices. Keep in mind that your keywords should attract traffic that converts into customers, not lots of visitors.

2. How good is your content?

Organic (free) searches only work when there’s solid content on your site for engines to index. Search engines use sophisticated “algorithms” to determine the relevancy of your page to a user’s search query. As a general rule, write natural sounding articles rather than loading up your pages with words and descriptions targeted for robots. In fact, as consumers increasingly rely on search engines to find information, good content is becoming ever more critical for better search rankings.

3. Put your most important info up front

Don’t make visitors scroll very far to find the keywords they’re seeking. Use newspaper’s traditional “inverted pyramid” style of reporting, where the most important information sits at the top of every story, with more details and secondary information as you read further down.

4. Phrases

No one searches the Web by entering a single keyword. They enter phrases. So, when setting up a pay-per-click campaign, select phrases that attract visitors. The more specific the phrase, the more likely you’ll get visitors looking for what you sell.

5. Title tags

The HTML title tag at the top of your browser window is a key factor in search indexing. Many websites waste their title tag by including only the company name. The title should include descriptive terms about your specialty that entice prospects to click on your link in the search engine results.

6. Description tags

For each of your pages create factually accurate meta-tag descriptions that contain as many keywords as possible. If your description contains little or no relevant keywords, you’ll likely find your site at the bottom of search engine rankings.

7. Use your keywords consistently

An Overture study found that users gave a nearly 50% higher “likelihood to click” to search result listings in which keywords were included in both the title and the description.

8. Good design

Design pages so they provide search engine “spiders” easy access to your keywords. A search engine-friendly design has at least one text-based navigation scheme that search engines can follow. Sometimes all it takes is just adding text links at the bottom of all your pages.

9. Beware of graphics

Search engines can’t read graphics or Flash animation. Stick with keyword-rich text. If your site relies on Flash or illustrations, then pay-per-click, which doesn’t rely on content, is a smart bet.

10. Leverage location

If your company depends on regional or local business, use word combinations that include your city’s name and surrounding suburbs or towns from which you draw customers.

11. Be honest

Don’t inflate the value of what you offer with juiced-up keywords that will only disappoint searching customers. You’ll get the best long-term results with keywords that actually represent your services or products.

12. Monitor, monitor, monitor

Don’t just look at how many visitors you had last week. Monitor your site statistics regularly to see what keywords and pages your visitors prefer. For example, if you find your “Human Resources” pages are among the most popular, consider adding more of those pages. Or if you spell “healthcare” throughout your site as one word, but your users’ queries are consistently “health care” as two words, consider making the switch.

BOTTOM LINE: Update your site constantly based on what your audience prefers and which of your pages delivers the best return on investment.

Need help making your website’s content search-engine friendly? Contact us today, or call 281-217-0656.

Safari Multimedia is your full-service Web partner offering smart online solutions for businesses of all sizes. Our cost-effective and easy-to-update websites will help you build relationships and boost profits.