Sunday, December 20, 2009

SEO : Key Words

Ok, let us shift our focus to some SEO (Search Engine Optimization) now. As most of us involved with Web Analytics should know by now that "keywords" constitutes the most important part of SEO. Ok in case you don't let's back up a bit. SEO is basically optimizing your site in such a way that it makes its way to the top of the natural search result for any search engine (in majority of the cases that would be Google). A big step towards this optimization process involves using keywords in not just the meta data of your site but in the actual content of your pages as well, the reason being in case you stash your meta data with keywords that your page content might not have (with the obvious intent of fooling the search engine into bring traffic), you would not see any significant improvements in your natural search listing (most search engines now a days are super smart to figure this out, they actually crawl your content to figure out if your meta keywords are relevant to the content ).

Now that we are finished with the introductions lets deep dive into some well know measures that can be taken for SEO

Using keywords in the right way is the most effective way of improving the business of your website. This is so because most of the websites have 70-80% of their traffic come from search engines and that is where the keywords you use payoff.

Keyword Research is now recognized as a marketing tool- a tool to understand the customers better.

Following are the ways to actually make better use of keywords:

1. Expand your keyword list:

There are two fundamental ways in which you can expand your keyword list:

  1. Long tail keywords that give you depth and allow you to dominate a particular market - so, moving from "bikes" to "mountain bikes" or "all terrain bikes"
  2. Related keywords that allow you to broaden the range of market sectors that you can target. So, if you are selling business telephones, you might find opportunities in related keywords like "voice over ip". "VoIP", "internet telephony" etc

    Four Strategies to consider for improving your keywords list:

  • Find out how your top keywords are used inside longer phrases.
  • Look for related keywords
  • Rather than concentrating just on the top terms, look for value in the longer tail of keywords that may appear low, but still offer profitable opportunities.
  • Look for niche or emerging markets that you might be able to identify before your competitors do

    You can make use of Google Search Based Key word tool to understand which keywords are going to be effective for your site.

    2. Optimizing Content:

    It is of utmost importance that your content is well organized and the important keywords have been used in all the right places.

    The Home page is the most important page for people doing general research before making an actual purchase on your website. It's important to optimize the Home Page around 3-4 important keywords. The Home Page will attract the highest number of inbound links and it's important to pass this along to the most important category pages.

    The Home page should have internal keyword rich links to category pages that are designed for people doing more specific research related to a category of product. It's is essential to optimize the category page around 2-3 important keywords pertaining to a single topic. For e.g. In case the category page is for "mountain bikes"---keywords should be like "mountain bikes", "MTB", "tough bikes".

    The Category page should link to specific product pages. The product page should be optimized around 2 keywords

    Key Points while optimizing specific pages:

  • Write the title meta tag including at least your primary keyword phrase. Also include your second and third phrases if possible. However, limit the title to around 70 characters so you might just have to use two out of your three chosen phrases.
  • Write the description meta tag including all three of the keyword phrases. This should be meaningful and written in good English with a limit of around 200 characters. The description can often double as the summary or first paragraph of your copy.
  • Now work out the structure of your copy, write keyword rich subheadings that help you organize your material.

    3. Keyword Rich Inbound Links:

    Another key factor in ranking high in organic searches is to have inbound links (from other websites, where the links themselves are keyword rich).

    To rank high in organic/natural search results in search engine's results you need to score well on both "on page" and "off page" factors. "On page" factors include optimizing your own website to have relevant keywords both in the content as well as the Meta tags. 'Off the page' factors are the links from external websites to your own, and these are much more difficult to control.

    Most external links will use your domain to link to you, but if you can persuade them to link using keyword rich linking text (anchor text), then you'll get a significant search engine boost. For e.g. while online bike vendors would be happy with a link to their site that says, it would be great for them if the link says mountain bikes , "mountain bikes" is one of their important keywords.

    Link building is a time consuming business but it is essential work if you want to rank well on search engines. Now I am not going to list ways how to do it, but the simplest way to do this is to simply show people how you would like them to link to you. It always helps if you have some brand value in the market.

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