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Your website PR campaign is an ongoing process, not a one-time event.
85% of surfers find information through search engines: Google is the most used right now. But, like the weather, if you wait a minute that may change. Yahoo dropped Google and developed its own engine; MSN (Bill Gates) has jumped into the search engine fray; and more buying a selling of searching technologies will keep things hopping. (Update: Well 10 years later Google is still on top...)
What does this mean to you? It will become even more difficult to use trickery or deceptive methods to be found in the first few pages of a search engine result for keywords that describe your business. So here are a few action items to give your business the best chance of being found:
Provide good titles for all your pages. Instead of "ABC Company homepage" use more description, "ABC Company: sales and service for lasers, scanners, and other cutting-edge technology in Baltimore, MD". For a sub-page, instead of "NewPage3", again, use more description, "ABC Company: Mid-Atlantic supplier for Midget Scanner-Model-4a by Mo-Jo Tech."
This way the search engines will find some keywords right in the title and that title will be listed in the search engine results. It should be a headline for your content on that page. Surfers will make a snap decision whether they will link to your site based on your title - MAKE IT DESCRIPTIVE.
Provide metatags to supplement your content. Use both the "keywords" and "description" metatags. To be most effective, your metatags should be typical words (including misspellings) people might use when searching for you or your business.
Your company name and location
Services you provide
All of your officers, partners and salespeople
All of your products by type and by manufacturer
Professional memberships or organizations you belong to
Search engines cannot "see" a graphic. Use the alt tag (text) for each graphic whether it's a photo or a logo. This is also another opportunity to provide keywords and phrases to further enrich your content. And if a surfer is sight impaired and is using a reader, the alt tag provides some clues.
Make sure some good content is available on the homepage. The metatags and the title (as discussed above) are in the header at the very top of the HTML code and will be found by the search engine spiders first. If your site has flash and java code or if it uses frames, your real content might not be easily found even though the human surfers can see it. Look at the source for your site to see what the spiders see. Ask your web designer about this if you don't know.
Search Engines use your site popularity (the number of links to it) as part of the ranking calculation. Do the work to be listed on directories and swap links with relevant sites. Just find one or two a day. It won't take long to have a fair number of websites linked to yours.
Now once a surfer (who is a potential client) has landed on your page, it is up to you to hold his or her attention. Make sure you have good headlines, relevant content, easy navigation, no errors, no dead links, etc. Also, make sure that the content is more about the client than about your company or you. When you do this you've created a sticky website and that's a good thing.
An effective website is one of the most useful marketing tools a business can have. The Internet has changed the marketing landscape. Don't miss out on this incredible opportunity. You don't have to be a technical wizard or rich to have an effective business website, but you have to pay attention.
© Ginny Stibolt. (You may not repost this article, but you may quote
parts of it with a link back to this page.)
This was originally published on Digital Harbor On-line in 2004 and updated in 2014.
Where great ideas come out of the blue.
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