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Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is more an art than a science sometimes. While a deep
discussi...
Search Engine Goals
The fundamental goal of a search engine is to provide search results that are relevant. When a
search ...
Looking at the Code
OK, don’t get scared. We’re going to look at some code. There are a two very important codes
that you ...
The process of writing your title and description is a little like writing a classified ad for your
business and at the sa...
Link Popularity
Link popularity is a system where the search engine looks at the pages that are linking to yours
as a way ...
DMOZ is owned by Google™, and therefore carries a lot of clout, at least with Google™. In
order to get listed there you mu...
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Short SEO Presentation

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  1. 1. Search Engine Optimization Search engine optimization (SEO) is more an art than a science sometimes. While a deep discussion on SEO would consume several days, I hope this will give you a good overview. Specifically, I’ll share with you how to make your web pages friendly for Google™ and Yahoo™. Keywords and Keyword Phrases Throughout this information I’m going to refer to keywords and keyword phrases. Keywords are words that are specific to your product, service, or customer. For the purposes of this document you can look at keywords as the words you think your potential and current clients may search for when they’re looking for what you offer. Example: If you run a hardware store in Beaverton, obviously you would want people who search for “Beaverton hardware store” to find you. You may also like to be found under “Beaverton roofing supplies.” Note: Each word is a keyword and the whole string that people may put in a search box is the keyword phrase. In the example above each of the words Beaverton, hardware and store are keywords, while “Beaverton hardware store” is the keyword phrase. Search Engines A search engine is a website where you can search for information among most of the other websites on the Internet. In order to offer this service the search engines go through a process of gathering information from websites using a program called a spider and then ranking that information using an algorithm. A search engine spider is a little program that goes through the Internet looking at the code of the web pages. It copies the main body and some other information into a database file so that you can access the information when you search for it. Note: After the search engines find your site it can take as long as 6 months before you see any results. The ranking process the search engine goes through is called an algorithm. It takes in a variety different factors to determine first, what keywords are relevant to your site and second, how relevant they are (in comparison to other sites covering the same content). I’ll go into the details of what the search engines look for in a little bit. For now, it’s just important to have an idea of how they work. 1 Copyright 2006 Justin’s Web Design, All Rights Reserved www.JustinsWebDesign.com ■ www.MoreBusinessToday.com
  2. 2. Search Engine Goals The fundamental goal of a search engine is to provide search results that are relevant. When a search engine provides relevant results it becomes popular, because end users are looking for the fastest and easiest way to find information. Note: Search engines make money by selling advertising. Even though the search engine is free for the end user, it’s the number of people who use this free service that determines the profit of the operation. Your Goals As You Optimize Your Site If you’re looking at optimizing your site, you’re probably looking for more visitors. Remember that it’s quality and not quantity that makes the key difference. I know people who get only 5-10 visits a day and make thousands of dollars per month. On the other hand, I’ve owned sites that were getting 500 or more a day and not making a penny. It’s optimizing for a specific prospect (your best potential client) that will bring your goals and the search engine goals in alignment. If you’re a financial planner in Beaverton, your best customer isn’t anyone in the world searching for financial planner. Only a small percentage of the people worldwide that search for that, are going to be good prospects for you. You could definitely make the argument that if someone searches for “Beaverton Oregon financial planner,” you should be in the top 10. It’s this basic concept that makes it harder to optimize for general keywords than specific ones. Mostly, it’s because there’s a huge amount of competition for general keywords. In Google™ the keyword phrase financial planner brings up more than 5.5 million sites, while the keyword phrase Beaverton Oregon financial planner brings up 152k. Optimizing Your Site The first step in optimizing your site is choosing the keyword phrases that you want to target. You should have a primary phrase and a few secondary ones. If your target market is local, you should be sure to include local keywords (i.e. Beaverton, Portland, Oregon). Example: Let’s say you’re a Real Estate agent in Beaverton. Your primary keyword phrase is Real Estate Agent and you’ll need to qualify it. In this example I would suggest that you use, Beaverton Oregon Real Estate Agent. Now you can add other keywords as well and they’ll all serve to further qualify the potential client. For example you may have a page on investor properties, and that means you have a chance coming up when someone searches for Beaverton Oregon investment properties, or some combination of the main keyword phrase and the other information. 2 Copyright 2006 Justin’s Web Design, All Rights Reserved www.JustinsWebDesign.com ■ www.MoreBusinessToday.com
  3. 3. Looking at the Code OK, don’t get scared. We’re going to look at some code. There are a two very important codes that you need to understand as they relate to your website and how search engine friendly it is. The first and most important piece is the title. When I speak about the title in the code, it’s different than what you see when you look at the page itself. You can see the title at the very top of the page to the left of the browser name (i.e. Microsoft Internet Explorer). (See the screen shot below) The second piece of code you’ll want to look at is the description meta tag. You can only see this by looking at the code (View, Source). The screen shot below shows you the code for both the title and the description as well as the meta tag for keywords. Note: The meta tag for keywords doesn’t seem to matter anymore. It used to be an easy way for search engines to identify your keywords, however it was based on the honor system. In other words, some people may put some really popular keywords in this tag just to get more traffic, even though they’re not really related to what the site is about. Because of this, the latest I’ve heard about this tag is that it’s largely unimportant and you want to make sure you don’t have any keywords in here that you don’t have in the rest of your site, as that may be seen as a trick. These codes are important both from a standpoint of the search engine ranking you get, and also because of how they effect how your listing actually looks in the search engine. Usually the search engine takes exactly what you put here and that’s what comes up in the results. See the screen shot below to see what I mean. 3 Copyright 2006 Justin’s Web Design, All Rights Reserved www.JustinsWebDesign.com ■ www.MoreBusinessToday.com
  4. 4. The process of writing your title and description is a little like writing a classified ad for your business and at the same time keeping in mind the keywords. Content is King Content, for the purposes of this discussion is all of what your visitor sees on your site. The pictures and text as well as anything that you have for a person to download, represent content. As far as the search engines go, they’re mostly focused on text. The shear volume of text that you have on your site that relates to your keywords will have an effect on both the number of listings you have in the search engines, as well as the ranking they’re given. Note: I’m not saying that you should “stuff” your keywords in a hundred times within the body of your text. This is an old black hat SEO trick and the search engines don’t like it a bit. The number of times your keywords are mentioned is something that you can experiment with, however when in doubt, don’t over do it. Where Do You Get Content? If content is King, where do you get it? The first and best place is your own head. Writing articles about the business that you’re an expert in is a great way to build credibility, build a relationship with your potential client, and at the same time help your search engine rankings. Additionally, you can use free articles that other people have written. These are effective at adding value for your visitor, as well as improving your rankings. When you use these articles, you will probably be required to include a resource box that tells about the author and includes a link to a website. Free Articles: • http://www.ezinearticles.com/ • http://goarticles.com/ Your sales materials are also content, and content that should be highly targeted to your keywords. You may have some industry related sales materials that you can use as well. You can ask your customers to review products for an even more powerful message. This is a great way to add useful content that also serves to build trust with your prospective client. 4 Copyright 2006 Justin’s Web Design, All Rights Reserved www.JustinsWebDesign.com ■ www.MoreBusinessToday.com
  5. 5. Link Popularity Link popularity is a system where the search engine looks at the pages that are linking to yours as a way to measure how relevant you are. Example: A website may be all about knitting. The search engine will look at how many other sites about knitting are linking to that site. The link popularity of the linking site is also taken into consideration. The system that Google™ uses for determining link popularity is called PageRank. Would you like to know what your Google™ PageRank is? You can see it at the top of your browser if you install the Google™ Toolbar. You can also get an idea of what your competitors have as a PageRank, as well as the people that you’re trading links with (see below). You can download the Toolbar at the link below for free. http://toolbar.Google.com/ Reciprocating Links While the concept of link popularity can be a bit difficult, how to take advantage of it is surprisingly simple. You need to get as many links as you can into your site, and specifically you want related websites to link to you. The phrase “reciprocating links” is just a fancy way to say, “I’ll link to you if you link to me.” This is a win-win concept because both websites improve their link popularity. When looking for reciprocating links, start with the websites that you visit when you’re looking for related information. Contact the Webmaster and see if he/she would be interested in swapping links. You can also find companies to link to by searching for complementary businesses online. A direct competitor probably won’t be a good resource for you, however other related businesses will be. Should You Already Be Getting Links? One of the easiest things you can do to get links in to your site is to see if people are mentioning your business online. If they haven’t yet put a link with the mention of your business, you can ask them too. You could search for your business name, or in the case of a professional individual, you may search for your actual name. The results will give you a great place to start building your link popularity. Directory Listings Two of the biggest directories are dmoz.com and Yahoo.com. DMOZ is free while Yahoo™ charges to be added to the directory. I won’t go into the details of why a directory listing is good for link popularity, just know that it is. 5 Copyright 2006 Justin’s Web Design, All Rights Reserved www.JustinsWebDesign.com ■ www.MoreBusinessToday.com
  6. 6. DMOZ is owned by Google™, and therefore carries a lot of clout, at least with Google™. In order to get listed there you must find the category that you fit in and click on the submit site link. Yahoo™ directory is a little more confusing. You can suggest a site to the Yahoo™ search engine for free, but the directory costs $300/year. If you want to submit a site to Yahoo™ directory, you need to click on the directory option, find the category that best relates to your business, and click on suggest a site. Write Articles You can write articles and provide them as free content for other people. You can allow them to use the article on the condition that they include a resource box that has your website link on it. You need to be specific in asking them to make it a link, instead of just text. Implement the Changes Now it’s time to put a plan in action to take advantage of your newfound information. You can follow these steps to get started. • Decide what keywords to optimize for - Again this is step one. • Tweak the code and content of your site - If you don’t have the technical skills to do this, you can still look at the code now and have an easier time describing how you’d like it to be changed. • Submit your site to directories - You don’t want to wait on this. • Get links - Contact sites and ask for reciprocating links. NOTE: After everything is done it can take 3-6 months before you see results. There are ways of speeding this up, however it can be expensive. Now You’re Ready You’ve just had a crash course in search engine optimization. Now you’re ready to make your website more search engine friendly. Does this mean you’ll get top rankings overnight? Nope! It does give you a good chance of getting some very well targeted traffic that you may not of otherwise had. Feel free to use me as a resource if you have any questions. Justin McWhirter 503.453.6008 www.JustinsWebDesign.com & www.MoreBusinessToday.com 6 Copyright 2006 Justin’s Web Design, All Rights Reserved www.JustinsWebDesign.com ■ www.MoreBusinessToday.com

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