Jul 21, 2010
How Search Engine Optimization Can Help Your Chicago Website Get More Visitors Anyone who’s anyone has a website these days, […]
How Search Engine Optimization Can Help Your Chicago Website Get More Visitors
Anyone who’s anyone has a website these days, from Chicago businesses and professionals wanting to better serve their customers to people looking to provide convenient communication outlets. But how do you know that people will find your site among the millions of other websites that exist on the internet? How can you increase the chances that your site will be indexed and rank higher on search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo? Popular search engines use complicated algorithms and automated analytic tools (which are sometimes called “spiders” or “crawlers”) that scan each web page to determine relevance and rank on a particular subject or topic. You need to be clever in order to make your web pages pertinent to spiders and crawlers, but it’s certainly not impossible to accomplish. Here are three words that can help you and your website succeed: search engine optimization.
Search engine optimization, often referred to as the acronym SEO, doesn’t employ a one-size-fits-all formula. In order to effectively use SEO, you must be dedicated and you must follow the rules. As a solid beginning to the SEO process, you should analyze common search terms and search trends of customers regarding your particular industry, your specific company, or both. For example, a “promotional products” company would need to optimize for more keywords and keyword phrases than just “promotional products” and “promotional items”; customers of that industry are also likely to search for terms like “stress balls” or “personalized sports bottles,” among many others. Deciphering heavily-used keywords for your web pages is just one of the important SEO steps that you can take.
You can often increase your visibility by including commonly-queried terms, words, and phrases in your page content. Conduct some research if you don’t know which keywords and search terms are common for your industry or business, and be a thorough sleuth. Which keywords are searched for most often? Which keywords do you think people would be most likely to search for if they were in need of services you provide? After you’ve discovered those keywords, use them to your advantage! Weave popular keywords into your writing and make them sound as natural as you possibly can, but be sure not to go overboard by stuffing keywords into your copy. Keyword-stuffing is frowned upon by search engines and can cost you a high ranking if your content is deemed as such by crawlers and spiders. Keyword-stuffing is cheating, and you’ll never win the ranking race if you get caught trying to fabricate your relevance!
Once you have common keywords in place on your site, also try cross-linking a few of your web pages to one another in order to boost relevance. You can emphasize online visibility by linking to your most important pages from other pages. If your “Contact Us” page gets more traffic than anything else on your site, then link to it from as many other pages as you can and you’ll increase the ways in which it can be found and read. If your “Frequently Asked Questions” page includes questions that can be answered with information on your other pages, then include links to them so visitors can navigate to them if needed. Analyze the keywords you’ve used and decide whether or not any of them could be explained or better understood with a link to another one of your web pages. Just like being wary of your keyword use, be careful not to go overboard with links or your page will appear spammy to visitors. You could also speak with other webmasters about link exchanges, but you’ll want to use caution and only link to credible sites. Remember, you want to make it as easy as possible for visitors (and crawlers) to find your popular pages in order to increase traffic, popularity, and ranking of your site, but you must do everything in moderation.
Website layout is crucial to search engine optimization as well. Have a third party take a look at your company website and evaluate the layout, content, and general usability of it and then make note of any improvements that could be made. You may think that your keywords and keyword phrases sound natural or that your page links connect to their appropriate pages, but you could be mistaken! Verify that your website incorporates a user-friendly layout and organized information that’s easy to follow, and you could also improve your page’s relevancy through SEO. As a rule of thumb, put the page’s most relevant information toward the top and then work your way down from there; think of the upside-down triangle analogy that’s common in journalism—a story’s most important details should be toward the beginning of the article in order to draw in the reader, and then less crucial details should gradually taper downward toward the end of the article. Spiders and crawlers won’t make it far on your page if you put all of the most relevant and keyword-rich content in the last paragraph!
Essentially, SEO is the art of using keywords and keyword phrases to your advantage however possible on your site; you will increase your chances of getting found online if you optimize your content and copy, choose quality links and back links, and organize your page layout based on relevancy. SEO produces outstanding results when it’s done correctly. If you don’t feel comfortable implementing these search engine optimization strategies yourself, then remember there’s no shame in hiring a qualified Chicago SEO expert to assist you.
When attempting to improve your site’s ranking, it can be productive to examine your URL structure and do what you can to make it more SEO responsive. Namely, if your URLs are dynamic, it would be in your best interest to change them to static.
What is URL Structure?
URL structure is one factor that helps search engines find you. Search engines generally find “clean” URLs faster and easier, which would translate into a static URL, or a URL that never changes, doesn’t have symbols, and uses keywords. Some examples of dynamic vs. static:
A dynamic URL, which changes based on what database it was found by:
A static URL on the other hand, is a URL that doesn’t change and ideally uses keywords. It looks like this:
Dynamic URL vs. Static URL
A dynamic URL structure means that your URL is stored in a database and can change based on what database led the reader to your site.
The downside to a dynamic URL is that search engines don’t like them as much as static URLs, meaning they have a lower click-through rate and they can lead to duplicate content problems.
A static URL means that the URL cannot be changed unless the HTML code is re-written.
The advantage to a static URL is that search engines find them faster, and they help to keep your server more organized. Additionally, it’s easier to use keywords in the URL, which attracts users, and results in more click-through.
Should You Switch?
If you use dynamic URLs you should switch to a static URL structure. It will help keep your site more organized, increase your click-through rate, and help your site get found faster and easier by search engines. Additionally, you would only have one URL assigned to each page and product.
When you make the switch, you should make sure your URLs are more consequential and use keywords.
For example, instead of having a URL that says www.example.com/store/prod1.html, you could have a URL that uses a keyword and looks more like this: www.example.com/websitedesign.
When a customer sees this URL, they will know exactly what the page will hold — a page on web site designs.
The Bottom Line
Static URLs have an advantage. They are easier for search engines to read and your users can easily figure out what the URL will lead them to. Using keywords within the URL structure gives static URLs a lead over dynamic URLs. To increase your click-through rate and help out your SEO, I suggest you make the switch.
Here are a few graphics that show the click distribution for the first page of Google search results.
Notice the difference in the number of clicks between having your website in the top 3 results as opposed to being at the bottom of the page.
So you see that just being on page one of Google is not enough if you really want your website to stand out above the rest and get more clicks than your competitors.
Over 75% of the clicks go to the sites that are in position #1, #2, or #3.
Do you know where you rank for your keywords? contact us for an in depth report and analysis of what it would take to get your website to the top.
As I speak to different Chicago business owners and execs about search engine optimization campaigns that Design & Promote can provide them with and am often asked this question “what steps do we need to follow to be the most effective with inbound marketing”.
I understand some companies would like to handle SEO in house and feel that if they just had an instruction sheet that they could hand to their marketing manager or website guy or girl and everything would be peachy.
There are quite a few steps and many rules and best practices to follow to be successful at inbound marketing but here is a primer for you.
To learn more about search engine optimization or to get a free seo analysts of your website just give our office a call. 630-995-7109
1. Add Statcounter and Google Analytics – You will want to benchmark where your site is before you start improvements and you will also want to take note of what keywords are already possibly ranking well.
2. Keyword Research – Search for high volume related keywords using the Google Keyword tool , select exact match on the left and check the ones that fit. Export these to a spreadsheet and do a Google search using allintitle: in front. This search will give you the number of competitors online. Do not pick keywords that have too much competition, better to be on the top of a small mountain than at the base of a large one. Add town modifiers if you have a local business. Time spent here will make or break your seo campaign. Check your competitor’s keywords and back links.
3. Change Page Titles – These should be up to 70 characters in length and contain keywords and be relative and different for each page of your site.
4. Change Page Descriptions –These should be up to 150 characters or less in length and have keywords, a call to action and be unique for each page.
5. Change Page Keywords – You should add no more than 10 keyword phrases separated by commas and be relative and different for each page.
6. Add Alt Image Tags – Add an alt description tag to every image that includes a keyword phrase. For a bonus change the name of images to match your keywords separated by dashes such as keyword1-keyword2.jpg.
7. Add Keywords To Page Content – Judiciously add keywords to all page content taking note of keywords used in title and keywords tags for each page. If you can include your keyword in a header or sub header font all the better.
8. Landing Pages – Create landing pages that offer high value advanced information such as a white paper in trade for contact information using an email form. The goal here is to capture at least an email address that you can use to follow up or add to your newsletter.
9. Site Navigation – All navigation should include http://www. Not just /
10. Create Site Maps – Add an html and xml site map and submit to Google, Yahoo and Bing.
11. Record Existing Back Links – Use Yahoo Site Explorer to export a back link report and save for later comparison.
12. Universal Business Listing – Add your site including a description that include keywords from above $30 http://www.ubl.org
13. Blog Comments – Comment on blogs related to your website’s topic that are meaningful and try to include your keywords in the comment text and your name field.
14. Directory Submits – Locate free niche and local directories related to your website’s topic and submit your site to these.
15. Press Releases – Write a press release where the title and content contains your keywords and provides anchor text links within the body of the release, submit to many online press release sites including the $12 option at http://www.onlineprnews.com I suggest reading their instructions before submitting. One press release per month is optimal.
16. Linkedin – Add your link in your Linkedin profile and update your profile to include a pretty large description including keywords. Add connections and join groups related to your main topic. Connect to your customers and not your peers. Add recommendations to your best customers and business partners. Update your status regularly and sometimes include links to your site or other related resources.
17. Facebook – Create a Facebook page and add links to your website pages, add friends and suggest to friends. Update your status regularly and sometimes include links to your site or other related resources.
18. Social Media Bookmarks – Create an account in Digg, Stumbleupon and as many other sites that time affords and add links to your pages that include your keywords in the title and description.
When writing an article, website content or blog post, one of the most important considerations is how to get your page to that coveted number one spot in the Google page rankings. There are many factors that go into your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but one of the most important is keyword density for SEO. Before we can discuss keyword density for search engine optimization, also known as inbound marketing, we’re going to have to define what a keyword is.
The keyword is what a potential customer is going to type into the search box on Google or one of the other search engines when looking for your product or service. Finding out what the best keyword phrase is for your business can be tricky. There are many people right now dedicated to doing research in order to figure out the correct keyword density for SEO. For example, if searching for website design, which would be a more effective keyword? Web site design or website design? Website design wins with 5,425 searches vs. web site design at 2,729. So you can see how important doing your keyword research is.
Now that you know you understand the importance of doing keyword density for SEO research, it’s time to focus on keyword density. In the most layman terms possible, keyword density is the percentage of times you use your keyword within a post. Percentage is important because it’s how Google and other search engines read your content. Google is going to scan the content on your website and based on what the most used keyword or phrase is, that is how Google is going to categorize your website and then rank it.
It’s best to focus on only one or two keywords per page, especially if your keyword is extremely competitive. For example, the phrase: keyword density for SEO gets 8 searches but Chicago gets 5,698. Chicago obviously is the more competitive keyword here. It will be more difficult to get the number one page rank using the keyword Chicago, so it will be important to focus completely on Chicago and not worry about other keywords. But don’t forget that keywords can also be phrases. So adding another word to Chicago can really narrow down your competition. Chicago pizza only has 522 searches. Again, doing your keyword research is incredibly important.
Google’s requirements say that no more than 2% of a web page’s words should be the keyword. Any more than that will be considered spam. However, Yahoo and MSN Search will permit as high as 5% keyword density for SEO. Therefore, hitting a sweet spot of between 2% and 5% keyword density is probably your best bet.
There is actually a nice tool that does all the work for you. In fact, I used the tool to figure out that my percentage for my keyword (which was: keyword density for SEO) is at 1.9%. If my keyword was simply keyword density, I would be at 3.7%.
We’ve been talking about the body of your website as of now, but it’s important that your title have a much, much higher keyword density for SEO. The title should have between 30% – 75% density.
When writing, keep in mind what your keyword density for SEO should be. It’s important your content still flows well and is rich in information and entertainment, but doing your keyword research and keeping your keywords in the forefront of your mind will help you get found on the Internet. Love your keywords and they will love you back.
By the way the keyword density of this post for “keyword density for seo” is just under 2%
Find out which keywords your website is currently optimized for with this simple test:
Is your website not optimized for the correct keyword density for SEO?
Our search engine optimization copy writing services can help! Contact Design & Promote today at 630-995-7109.
Jul 21, 2010
How Search Engine Optimization Can Help Your Chicago Website Get More Visitors Anyone who’s anyone has a website these days, […]
Jul 13, 2010
Here are a few graphics that show the click distribution for the first page of Google search results. Notice the […]