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Search Engine Optimization - Tips and Tricks
By Debra Murphy, Masterful Marketing

To ensure prospects find you on the Web, you need to take actions to drive people to your site

I have spoken with business owners who have actually said to me "marketing doesn't work. I have spent all this money on a Web site and I have not gotten one client from it yet." If this sounds familiar, there are a couple of things you can do to turn your Web site into a sales tool.

To ensure prospects find you on the Web, you need to take actions to drive people to your site. These actions can be direct marketing programs, public relations, advertising, handing out your business card, or Internet marketing techniques, to name a few. And one of the Internet marketing techniques is to enable people to find you through search engines.

Search engines and directories generate over 90% of Web traffic by users who are trying to search the Web for information and services. Search engine optimization is the act of developing your web site to make it easier for search engines to index your site and make it available to those who search on certain keyword terms. So if you have a Web site and you want to be found, here are just a few tips that will help.
  • The page titles of your Web site are one of the most important parts of your page as far as search engines are concerned. The title tag has to contain your major keyword and it should be between 4 and 12 words. Tightly focused titles with your important keyword at the beginning perform best with Google and help with many other engines.

  • Whenever possible, use text links in your web pages and NOT images to link to other pages in your website. If you must use images, make sure the text links show up first in the source code, because search engine robots need to read the text to find to any particular page.

  • Make sure your content contains your keywords and try to put them in your headers and bold them when possible.

  • Page descriptions and keywords in meta-tags make a difference in some search engines. Since they don't hurt for any of them, define them wisely for each page in the site, ensuring they are different. Some search engines compare the page descriptions, titles and keywords to see if the content on the page matches. If not, it can hurt your ranking, not help it.

  • If your site has many pages within different areas (such as a resource area that contains articles, information and links), you need a site map. A site map links to every page on the site. This will help the search engine robots find every page with just two clicks. For small sites, a well-defined navigation scheme will perform just as well.

  • Make your site popular. Get links to your site from other sites that add value to yours. Buy links from reputable sites to help, but work out exchanges with people who have the same type of clients but do not directly compete with you. The quality of links are important - pick your links as you would pick your friends.

  • If your site has a consistent theme throughout, that will help you in the rankings. The spiders are looking for consistent, valuable and fresh content to serve up. Make sure your site provides the value they are looking for.

Debra Murphy is founder of Masterful Marketing, a marketing coaching firm that empowers small business owners and independent professionals to take control of their marketing to get better results. She helps you change how you think about your business and put activities into motion that attract your ideal client. She started Masterful Marketing to ensure small business owners had access to the knowledge available to larger companies so they could live their dreams and build a business around their passions. Although her knowledge of marketing covers all the traditional channels, she specializes in online and social media marketing to make sense of it all to those who want to use it to effectively market their businesses.

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