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The most common way for people to access your website is through search engines. And this means that whether you’re selling a product or service, or just want to get some free press about your business, your company website needs to found by the top Internet search engines such as Google and Yahoo! Keeping up with search engines and their technology will be a full time job. However, if your website is well designed, search engines can be your best ally in generating more Internet traffic.
Search Engine Optimization Defined
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the technique of placing your website so that its ranking increases in search engine databases. You want your website to have a high ranking and be as relevant as possible to a user’s search.
Successful SEO websites use articles and keywords that are based on those words that Internet users type into search engines when they are looking for a particular product or service. As you’re building your website you want to ensure effective keyword placement in all of the content and in the HTML coding of each web page.
When you submit your website to the most popular search engines you’ll want to make sure that you’re making the most of optimized keywords, as discussed in chapter 2. Your ranking in a search engine directory is closely connected to the quality of your website. If your chosen industry is in a competitive market you need to make sure that you have as many people as possible visit your website so that you get those sales and, in effect, make the most of your online marketing campaign.
The more you understand about how important targeted keywords are the better able you’ll be to find the right marketing methods and solutions for your business.
Optimizing your Website
One of the most important things for you to remember when you’re optimizing your website for search engines is that these engines read text and ignore graphics. This means that you need to focus on the text that is part of your website content.
The Right Keywords: Internet users will type keyword phrases into the search engine when they want to find a certain product or service. Most users will type about two or three words and then do a search for relevant websites. Before you spend a lot of time optimizing your website you should use a software program to help you determine which keyword phrases get the greatest search volume. This will allow you to focus your efforts on optimizing your website for the right keywords.
Text on your Home Page: Once you’ve decided which keywords are best for optimizing your website you’ll want to put those keywords and phrases into the content of your website. You’ll want to start by focusing on the first paragraph on your home page since this is the first thing that most search engines read to determine if your website is relevant to a user’s search. In that first paragraph you’ll want to use as many keywords and key phrases as you can so that your website comes up in a variety of user searches.
Using HTML Tags: You’ll need to make sure that you have the right tags in your HTML coding so that it corresponds with the text on your website. Your ranking in search engines will be more solid if you’re consistent with your tags and text.
Submitting Your Website to Search Engines
Registration with search engines, such as MSN, Yahoo, and Google, is crucial if you want to attract people to your website. Before you decide what search engines to submit to, you should do a careful study of what features each engine provides. Some of the features that you should be focused on include (1) how they promote websites, (2) what they offer in regards to advertising, and (3) if they have any other resources available. There are analyzers available on the Internet that will help you compare search engines. Your online marketing budget should include money and time so that you can find the right search engine for your business.
There are a few important things that you should focus on when it comes to submitting your website to the right search engine. This includes:
- The search engine generator should provide you with automatic updates.
- The registration process should allow you to include the purpose of your business and website.
- Do a quick study to find out where other businesses in your industry are submitting their website.
Your main goal should be to submit your website to as many top search engines as you can so that you get the highest rankings. This will allow your customers and potential customers to find you fast and easily.
Search engine spiders: A search engine spider is a program that methodically travels the Internet looking for all the web pages that have been recently visited and processing this information in a search engine so that pages are indexed and downloaded faster by the user. When you overuse keyword and key phrases you risk this being noticed by search engine spiders and having them bypass your web pages for inclusion into the search engine. Do you want to risk being left out of search engines by being guilty of keyword abuse?
Using a high keyword density may seem like a good idea when you first start developing web content for your website but the hazards far outweigh the risks.
Another mistake that many websites make is choosing their keywords and then not putting these keywords into the any of the relevant content on the web pages. Search engine spiders are programmed to actually need to see the keyword used before it can acknowledge it and index the web page. So why waste time coming up with keywords that don’t really have anything to do with what your website is all about only to have search engine spiders overlook your website anyway?
Creating False Web Pages: One of the most serious mistakes that you can make when you’re developing the website content for your web pages is to provide your customers with information that has absolutely nothing to do with what you’re selling or advertising on your website. Customers who use the Internet to buy a product or service, or simply to find out more information about what you’re selling, don’t want to arrive at your website pages only to find you’re not selling what your offering. If customers are searching for stationary (and you include the keyword “stationary” over and over in your website content to push you up into the high rankings of the search engines) they expect to able to read accurate and dependable information on your web pages about this stationary. If you’re not selling or advertising stationary you should avoid using this keyword to pull traffic to your website. Customers who have been tricked will quickly leave your website to find the information that they are looking for elsewhere.
The bottom line is that keyword driven websites don’t always work. These websites may get high traffic, and search engine ranking that they want, however customers won’t linger to find out what they are really selling. This means a missed opportunity to develop a successful relationship with customers.
Goals for Successful Websites: A quick mention about what your goals should be when you create web pages that are rich with information that customers want to find on the Internet: One of your main tasks when you have an online business is building up your customer database. You want to have as many customers and potential customers on your list as you can so that your online marketing strategy reaches a wide range of consumers.
Once you’ve built up a customer database you’ll want to make sure that you start to gather repeat customers. Repeat sales are the backbone of a successful business and for increased sales. One of the ways that you can achieve repeat sales is by generating great communication with your customers. You can accomplish this good communication by using the following:
- Affiliate programs
- Coupons for repeat customers
- Newsletters that provide useful information about what you’re selling
- Banner ads
- Discussion groups and forums
- Relationships with associates
As mentioned previously you’ll already have a lot of customer information that you can use. This includes data that you’ve collected from previous sales, communication with your customers, and e-mail opt-in lists. You’ll also want to collect the information listed here. But just how do you go about gathering that data? There are several different techniques that you can use to get the data that you need to build successful customer databases.
The most important thing to remember is that you always be honest when you’re getting information from your customers. If you use deceptive means to get the data you risk losing the trust of your customer. If being honest and above board means that you lose some of those opportunities to capture customer information then realize that the pay off will be the trust and respect you earn from these customers, and potential customers, when they realize that you’re doing what you said you would do: asking them to voluntarily to provide you with certain types of information.
The following methods of collecting customer data will help you keep track of sales and profit. This customer data can be found in the following places:
- customer order forms
- warranty card information
- servicing information
- records of returned products
- questionnaires filled out at time of purchase
The above information is very helpful but you’ll need a bit more to build up a successful database that includes wide-ranging customer information. This is where some of the newer techniques of data capturing enter the picture. The Internet has provided you with some great opportunities to use technology tools to your advantage. Again, keep in mind that technology is a utensil that you can use and not an end to a means.
All this technology means that you can use some very appealing and winning methods for having your customers leave you the information that you need.
There are many ways that you can correspond with your customers once you’ve got their interest:
- weekly newsletters
- automated e-mails, targeting one time customers, referrals, and repeat
- discount or free product offers to customers
- e-mail postcards
- follow up phone calls
Corresponding with your customers is much simpler after you’ve profiled them and know what they want to see and hear. Database marketing means that you learn as much as you can about your customers and potential customers before sending them any type of messages. Studies show that random messages sent to all your customers often fails since you’ll be spending a great deal of time and money to reach only a small portion of those customers that feel you have something to say to them directly.