December 11, 2007
Ranking high in Google’s search results can have a phenomenal impact on the success of your business. You can either engage the expertise of a Search Engine Optimization company, or if you have the time, there are some changes you can make to your website yourself.
Step 1: Keyword Research
What keywords do you think your customers would type in to search for your products or services? A keyword can be one word (e.g. “optimization”), but multiple keywords or keyword phrases are usually preferred, because they are more specific and more likely to be what your customers are looking for (eg. Search Engine Optimization Australia).
Write down as many as you can think of. Brainstorm with your team. Think of alternative words. Consider geographical phrases if they are important to your customer (e.g. “house cleaning Hornsby”). Also, get some ideas from your competitors’ websites. Try to make a list of 20-30 keyword phrases.
Choose the two keyword phrases you think would be searched for the most. But also remember, the more competition there is for a keyword, the harder it is to achieve top rankings. If you want to rank high in Google for the keyword “insurance”, you have a very long journey ahead. So try your best to select two keyword phrases that are the most relevant to you business but that are not vague nor competitive. It’s a good idea to have 2 or 3 words in each phrase (e.g. “wedding catering services”)
Once you’ve selected your two best keyword phrases the next step shows you how to make some improvements to your home page.
Step 2: Web Copy
Web copy refers to all the words or text on your website. Because content is king in the world of search engines, your keyword phrases need to be placed strategically on your webpage to convince Google that your content is highly relevant to those keywords. The more prominent they are, the better. (Keep in mind that as important as search engines are, customers come first, so make sure your copy also reads well.) Here’s how you can increase each keyword’s prominence:
- Place your keywords in headings, preferably at the beginning of the heading;
- Include keywords towards the top of the page;
- Bold or italicize keywords where appropriate;
- Instead of having a link to another page that says “Click here to read more “, reword it to include your keywords, e.g. “Read more about our seo copywriting Services“.
An important tip is to also include these keywords in your HTML “title tag”. Use your content management system to make these changes yourself, or perhaps ask your web developer to do it if you’re unsure how.
Once you have fine-tuned your home page, consider adding new content, such as detailed descriptions of what you offer, FAQs and informative articles about your products and services. (If you don’t want to write these yourself, they can be located for free on the internet – do a search for “articles directory”).
It’s also good to bear in mind that search engines can only read text, not pictures. Often web developers embed words in images to look better for website visitors or use Flash for animation, but this is a major impediment to search engines.
Step 3: Linking
Each link from another website to your website (not from your website) is considered by search engines as a vote of popularity for your business and will improve your rankings.
But it is the quality, not quantity, of the links that is crucial. The other websites should be relevant to your industry, and preferably highly regarded themselves. Ten quality links count far more than 500 links from arbitrary websites. In the same way your personal business network can have a significant impact on the success of your business, so too the online network you build on the internet. Brainstorm all the relevant websites that could link to you, such as non-competing companies, and industry bodies and organizations. Write a friendly email to each describing the benefit their visitors would get in knowing about your business, and request them to create a link to your website. Most people will not respond first time round, so a follow-up phone call is usually required.
How do I monitor my results? Monitor your rankings in Google over the next few months by typing your chosen keywords into the search box, and recording your ranking. Also look at your hosting reports to understand what search terms your visitors are using to find your website.
The above process can be also be repeated for each page of your website. Remember to keep updating your content, and continually increase the number of links to your website.
As you see your rankings climb you should see a corresponding increase in web traffic and a substantial increase in sales enquiries. Be sure to record the source of your customer enquiries, so you can measure the success of your marketing efforts.
Remember, if you measure it, you can improve it.
Author: Philip Shaw is the Director of CleverClicks, a leading search engine marketing company in Australia provides ethical, result-oriented SEO, PPC and web copywriting services.