By Tom Warthen – President, ProSite Web Design LLC – www.websitedesignersdc.com
You have a business. You want to stand out from the competition. On the web, this may seem a daunting challenge when a search for any imaginable business or service yields hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of results. So how do you get your website to the top of the list?
The answer is Search Engine Optimization, or SEO: the process of improving the quality and volume of traffic to your website from search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Your company does not have to be the biggest or best to catapult to the top of the search engine rankings; its website just has to be built using a combination of strategies to catch the search engine’s attention.
As you would assume, the earlier a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive. When performing your own web searches, how often do you click past the first page of listings, or even look past the first few results? Research shows that searchers actually select the top two listings on the results page more than 50 percent of the time.1
More visitors to your website translates to more potential customers. And these web searchers are the kind of visitors you want: 60 percent of local web searches are done with the intent to make a purchase, and 80 percent of the people performing a local search will call or visit the store.2
So, people are looking for you online, ready to purchase your products and services. Make it easier for them to find you with these 5 steps to Search Engine Optimization.
#1 – Identify Profitable Keyword Phrases
Put yourself in the mind of the consumer. What words would a potential customer type into a search engine when they are looking to buy your services? The first and most important step in Search Engine Optimization is knowing what potential clients are looking for. Typically, the more specific, the better. For example, a search for “dentist” in Google returns an overwhelming 40 million results. “Baltimore cosmetic dentist” narrows the field by 99 percent.
For more information, read How to Identify Keywords That Maximize Profitability.
#2 – Optimize Site Architecture
Now is the time to go behind the scenes of your website to include those targeted keywords into the underlying HTML code that your site is built on. At a minimum, tags within the code, including the page title and description, can all be customized to match what your audience may be searching for. Using the above example, “Cosmetic dentist in Baltimore offering cosmetic, implant and neuromuscular dentistry services” would be a better title for a page within the site than simply “Services.”
#3 – Tailor Content
Keywords should be included in the viewable content of the page as well. Provide valuable, relevant and updated information to users and you’ll be rewarded by both search engines and visitors who will keep steady traffic coming to your site. Answers to frequently asked questions about cosmetic dentistry would be ideal for a site catering to people interested in these services.
For more information, read Quick Tips for Generating Great Content for Your Website.
#4 – Create Links to Your Site
Inbound links to your site from other websites act as validation to search engines, so the quality and quantity of these links are important. A few hours a week should be devoted to creating these inbound links from relevant sources such as industry message boards, forums, and directories. If your time is limited, consider contracting your web designer for this purpose. The ideal scenario is to have links with keywords in the link text itself that match up with the keywords now on your web page. Press releases can be used for this purpose. A press release describing the innovative new procedure used by Dr. Smith, an experienced “cosmetic dentist in Baltimore,” using these same words as a link to the page previously optimized would be perfect. At this point, the search engine is likely convinced of the content on this page and will display it more prominently than a non-optimized site when a user searches the web for those keywords.
To learn more about how to optimize your website with inbound links, read Drive Traffic To Your Website With High-Quality Links.
#5 – Analyze Success
Obviously, some keywords will have much higher competition than others. Localizing your keywords to a geographic area and targeting more specific terms is generally advisable. Google AdWords provides a keyword tool that allows you to view the popularity of particular keyword phrases and offers additional similar keywords that you may want to consider. By keeping an eye on what keywords are driving traffic to your site, you will be better prepared to focus your efforts on what produces the greatest results.
Search Engine Optimization is a continuous process. By following and repeating these steps, or hiring somebody to do it for you, you’ll have a long-term solution that drives an increase in the quality and volume of traffic to your site at a fraction of the cost typically spent on traditional marketing channels. That is a return on investment that anybody can agree with!
If you would like ProSite Web Design to optimize your website for search engines please contact us today for a free quote.
Tom Warthen is the President of ProSite Web Design LLC and has been helping businesses looking for a high return on their online marketing investment since the early days of the Internet in the 1990s. To learn more about how to make your website the best it can be, and to contact ProSite Web Design for a consultation, visit http://www.websitedesignersdc.com.
1 Theresa A. Leonard-Wilkinson, “Search Engine Optimization: Designing a Search-Friendly Site” The ABCs of Web Design, December 2002.
2 Network Solutions, “Search Engine Marketing: Learn How to Make Your Web Site Generate New Customers” May 2009.