Without good rankings in the top 10 to 20 positions in the major search engines, you are missing the bulk of your potential Internet client base. Why? Because most people will hardly look beyond the first page of links returned after they run a search. If your site is not in the top 20 positions, up to 80% of your potential Internet client base will not know you exist.
The Myth: Simply submitting your Web site to search engines will increase traffic to your site. Another myth is that simply inserting META tags in your web pages will also increase your traffic. Both are just not true. META tags and submitting are recommended, but by themselves, these steps will not get you anywhere. You’ll get a lot of e-mail from companies offering to submit your site to thousands of engines for a very low rate. These are usually worthless unless your site has pages optimized for each of the major search engines.
Search Engine Positioning (Keyword Targeting)
There are a lot of moving parts to Search Engine Optimization, far too many to be covered in a short article. So to keep things simple the following Overview will be limited to Keyword Targeting Basics (In this case, choosing the Keywords to target) and as such will not cover some inter-related concepts like SEO Copywriting, Meta-Tags or Geotags (which deal with the location-specific aspects of Keyword Targeting).
Keyword Targeting for improved Organic SERP (Search Engine Ranking Position) is by far your best and most affordable SEO option.
Consider that over 95% of Web users find what they are looking for by visiting the top 5 search engines (Roughly 2.77 Billion Users A Month). Many of these searches may be for the products and services that you offer. Everybody knows that even a few good positions on just one or two important engines can drive thousands or hundreds of thousands of people to your website each day.
Using the right keywords is everything…
Keywords and Keyword Phrases are the tools most visitors to your site will use to locate you. For this reason, selecting the best keywords for your site is a must. Often business owners are wrong about the keywords that prospects will use to find them.
*Note – Internet Marketing “Gurus” attempting to gain credibility started referring to Keyword Phrases as Long Tailed Keywords a number of years ago; the terms can be used interchangeably as they are the same thing; as a matter of personal preference, this article will use the traditional term Keyword Phrase.
Choosing The Right Keywords, Keyword Phrase Selection
This is the single most important element of any search engine publicizing campaign. When potential customers or “prospects” use a search engine like Google to look for your products and services, they will most likely use a “keyword phrase” to find you.
For example, a prospect seeking a recipe for “Tuna Casserole” might enter “Casserole” in the search query box. The prospect will quickly be overwhelmed with sites related to Cooking and Casserole Recipes but not necessarily the type of “Casserole” they were looking for. Instead of sorting through dozens of links to recipe sites that would still need to be searched through, in order to find the recipe they were looking for, the prospect will then most likely narrow their search and enter a phrase like “Tuna Casserole”.
Although the prospect has narrowed their search from just “Casserole” to “Tuna Casserole”, it might not be enough to find what they are looking for. Now, let’s say this person has a “Gluten Allergy”. Instead of sorting through search results, clicking on links then going back to search again they will probably further refine their search to something like “Gluten Free Tuna Casserole” or “Gluten Tuna Casserole”.
At this point, one of the recipes or recipes sites listed 0n the first page of search results is likely to get an inquiry from this prospect.
By selecting the right keywords, and with a lot of hard work, you’ll see your site’s traffic begin to soar in the coming months.
There are several good techniques you can apply to determine what people might be searching for:
- Put yourself in the prospect’s shoes and brainstorm.
- See what keywords your competitors are targeting to spur new ideas.
- Organize and focus your keywords into short phrases, etc.
However, the best way is to stop guessing and actually SEE what people are searching for:
There are a number of tools available to find Keywords that are actually being searched on but unfortunately most now require service fees or limit the number of Keywords/Keyword Phrases they display for free.
Google Keyword Planner requires an Adwords Account but you don’t need to have an active PPC campaign running to use the tool.
WordTracker is another Key Word Suggestion Tool with limited free results designed to compel you to buy their service.
Uber Suggest is a free alternative but not as easy to use as other tools; however, it does allow you to drill down and expand keyword phrases.
SEO Book Keyword Suggestion Tool is only accessible to logged-in members who have registered a free account. They were forced to require a login due to other websites scraping their data and causing performance issues.
*Note – None of these tools are the Final And Ultimate Authority On Key Word Phrase Selection, they are simply idea or brainstorming tools so don’t take them too seriously.
Here’s the Strategy We Recommend:
- Brainstorm about general words that apply to your industry and list them all out in a word processor or on paper.
- Next, conduct a search for a few of them on a major search engine and then travel to the sites you find in that search.
- Use a Keyword Density Analyzer like SEOBook’s Keyword Density Analyzer, Internet Marketing Ninjas Keyword Analyzer or Google Adwords Keyword Planner toview the Keywords and Keyword Phrases used on the sites you visited in step 2. With these tools, you’ll quickly find a variety of keywords you hadn’t considered before. This does not mean these are the best keywords to target, but it can help you in your brainstorming process.
- IMPORTANT – Make sure you only choose words and phrases that specifically apply to YOUR business! You don’t want to waste time targeting keywords that will not bring you high-quality leads.
- At this stage, most people would start GUESSING which of the keywords and phrases found on these sites people are most likely to search for. Don’t guess! Research the most popular combinations by selecting individual Keywords and Keyword Phrases from based on density (number of recurrences), then submitting them one at a time to one of the Search Suggestion Tools.
- Rarely do you want to target a single keyword since there are billions of words indexed on the Web, generally one word simply won’t cut it. People searching the Web learn quickly that if they type in “homes” or “properties”, they get millions of listings for real estate that may or may not be relevant to what they are looking for!
- Now, it would be nice if you were positioned well with some of those single broad keywords, however, a better strategy is to combine the generic keyword with something more specific. For example, instead of the single keyword “homes”, you might want to use “Luxury Homes”. This strategy is much more likely to get you to the top and keep you there for an extended period of time if you are following all of the Keyword Optimization and Targeting rules.
First use the above instructions to find the best keyword phrases for your
Keyword Targeting Campaign, then apply your keywords to your website.
Remember Nobody knows your business like you do.
Applying your New Found Keywords and Keyword Phrases to your website
Since this article is focused on selecting keywords and not SEO in general this section will be short…
Apply your Keywords and Phrases to every aspect of your website from themes and page templates to copywriting, images, headings, and Meta-Tags. Be consistent and stay focused on:
- Quality – Use your keywords appropriately, no stuffing content or SEO elements and no “SEO Tricks”
- Quantity – Use your keywords on every page and add lots of quality content to your site.
- Relevancy – Don’t add unrelated or diluted content to your site, be consistent and maintain your keyword theme.
- Frequency – New content should be added to your site as often as possible and if time is an issue consider ways to maximize your effort – like archiving newsletters on your site instead of using the newsletter services archive.
Submitting To The Search-Engines & Directories
80 + % of your traffic will come from these top engines.
- AOL Search
Over the years, the methods used to submit your site to search engines has changed. It used to be SEO specialists would use software like Web Position Gold (now defunct) to automatically submit their site to hundreds of search engines. While there may still be some automated tools out there, the engines don’t like them and prefer that you manually submit your site or pages to their indexes.
Fortunately, there is a much easier way to get your site listed these days!
By utilizing sitemaps and submitting them to Google, Bing and Yahoo, which power a large number of other search engines, you can quickly get your new or updated content discovered. The best part is that once your sitemaps are configured with the specific search engines “webmaster tools”, you don’t have to do anything except keep your sitemaps up to date.
If the type of site you are running is dynamic (database driven) you most likely won’t even need to worry about keeping the sitemap up to date as your content should automatically update the sitemap when it’s created or updated in your CMS (Content Management System). Unfortunately, static (manually created pages) will most likely require you to update the sitemap manually each time you add or update content.
Waiting For Keyword Targeting Results
Search engines are barraged with millions of site submissions every day. The top 3 engines don’t accept any information about your site other than it’s URL. Once you submit your URL, they will then send what are called “robots” or “spiders”. The spider normally visits many pages on your site, not just the one you submitted. It gathers all the information from each page. For example, title, meta tags,
For example, title, meta tags, number of graphics and their “ALT-TEXT Tags”, some or all of the text content of each page, number of words visible and invisible on the page, number and content of the links on the page, and even the words in ‘Header Tags”.
The spider then puts all that information in storage along with thousands of other sites it has recently indexed. The information about your site just sits there waiting in “queue” to be entered into the search engine’s main database. Some search engines are able to keep up with the load and enter the information about your site within days. GOOGLE is pretty good at staying caught up but others can be very slow taking as long as 3 months or more to enter the information about your site into their databases. For this reason, you may see your traffic increase in surges.
If you are using sitemaps instead of submitting your site and pages to the search engines it will usually take far less time for your content to be indexed, which is why we prefer that method. In some cases, you might see a new blog post appear in a day instead of a couple of days.
Be patient, you will see results if you were diligent in researching your Keywords.
Be Prepared to Handle Increased Website Traffic
Depending on how much competition there is on the Web for your keywords or keyword phrases, when the traffic does start coming, it may only be at its peak for a month and then slowly begin declining. Of course, other businesses with less competition enjoy high search engine rankings for over a year or more.
As visitors reach out to you for products and services, treat each contact like gold. It’s important to acknowledge that you received their message and will be giving them prompt responsive assistance to met their needs. For example, it would be a mistake to take a 3-week vacation during the time your traffic is peaking.
Some people get so much business during the “peak” that they allow excellent prospects and leads to slip through the cracks. Then later, regret not being more prepared to handle the flow.
Be sure to check your e-mail at least twice per day. Even in the beginning when there may not be much traffic. Checking and responding to your e-mail is a crucial habit to get into and can make the difference between a sale and a lost opportunity.
Site Enhancements Can Help To Convert Your New Traffic
If your site is already up and running, we suggest you visit your site as if you were a potential visitor and list both the site’s assets and it’s deficits. See if the site provides a prospect with everything he or she needs to make the decision to reach out and contact you. Does your site repeatedly provide “calls to action” or is the client encouraged just to passively absorb what’s there and then pass judgment on you?
We suggest a primary goal of your site be to persuade the prospect to contact you, not just sell products and services. Once the prospect contacts you then you or your staff can sell them.
After visiting your site and viewing it as a prospect might, if you think the site needs to be modified in minor or major ways, make those modifications!