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Search Engine Optimization – Part 4

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A solid network of trustworthy links, combined with carefully chosen keywords is a great start.  But as we stated earlier – a user and search engine friendly website with a sound design is an absolute must.

First, what does your website look like to the search engines?  Search engines can only see HTML text.  Despite advancements in web crawler technology, generally speaking, search engines cannot see Java, Flash and images.  While some of this can be remedied in CSS or alt attributes – an easy solution is repeating or describing in text what is depicted in images and videos.  There are several tools that show what your site looks like to the search engines.  Most possibly the simplest way to see that they see is Google Cache – text only.  There are no pictures, no gifs, no fancy fonts or videos.  It is a text only version, and it gives you a good idea of the data that search engines are able to search on.  If you are a little nerdier try out web-sniffer.net which shows the full html script for the URL entered. 

Remember that list of keywords that didn’t make the cut?  Sprinkle some of these ideas into your content.  Make sure to put your keywords in your header as well.   Keeping your content keyword oriented give the search engines a way to rank the relevancy of your site.  Use jargon that your searchers might use.  If you use acronyms make sure that you spell out all the words at least once (ie search engine optimization for SEO).

Providing answers to the questions your customers are looking up is a great idea.  This establishes you as an expert (or at least as a valuable resource guiding them to the expert) as well as making sure that the content on your site is relevant – to your consumers (lower bounce rates) and the search engines (higher ranking).  How do you know what people are asking? Wordtracker is a tool I use.  It returns the top 50 related searches and really helps you to get to know what kind of specific information your customers are looking for – but it does cost.  There are of course other ways to find out what content is relevant to your customers.  One free and easy way is to do a search for your keywords in various places.  Amazon, product reviews, social media – all of these places allow users to ask questions and post feedback.  (While you are researching for content leave a relevant comment and a link.)  In short – make your content interesting and relevant to the people who will be looking at it.

Now that you have a lot of interesting, valuable content – organize it in a way that makes it easy to find.  Create your menu structure to include categories that match your content.  If you have some how-to’s or some basic educational topics make sure they are categorized together.  You can also provide cross links from article to article for easy navigation.

Proofread, proofread, proofread!  Make sure the words are spelled correctly.  Use the autocorrect features in your editor as a guide, but keep in mind that industry specific terms may show up as errors.  Ask someone else to look over your content, take a break from it and come back later, read it out loud – there are a lot of tricks to get a fresh perspective and ensure your message is received as intended.

Do your homework – find out what your customers want to know and give it to them, educate them.  Give them a reason to go to your site instead of your competitor’s.  Sure, it takes some time to do this but it will increase your search strength, create consumer confidence and establish yourself as an authority in your niche.

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More Stories By Nick Kugelman

Nick Hession-Kugelman is a marketing and mobile technology professional focused on helping organizations to find the right solutions to help fill the gaps in their business. Follow Nick on twitter at @NickKugelman or on his Blog Do It Yourself Marketing

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