Saturday, January 3, 2009

Search Engine Optimization

Anyone that have a website should know by now how hard it is to get good rankings in the search engines. No matter what route you take to get to the top, it still takes time to be ranked high. Don't get me wrong, you can rank high in the search engines provided there's little competition in your categorie.

But generally speaking, that isn't the case for the majority of us. Getting ranked high on search engines usually comes with a price, unless you have the time to wait for your website to move up. So, how do someone get the rankings they want from Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL, etc?

There's alot to getting ranked high. Like properly worded meta tags, relevant keywords in the content of the webpage, having your website setup so it's not blocking the search engine bot from crawling your site. Those are just a few things that can hurt you if not done correctly.

The reality of search engine optimization is that you can start to optimize your website without any knowledge at all of the technical stuff involved in search engine optimization. Simply stated the very first step in designing a website that is going to be well ranked by the search engines is to create a content rich site. What this means is that you must cram as much information about your product into your website as you possibly can.

Many webmasters try to get as many visitors as possible. They join traffic exchange programs and they optimize their web pages for keywords that have very many searches.

Unfortunately, getting as much traffic as possible is not the right strategy for a successful website. Traffic that doesn't convert is useless traffic. If your website has thousands of visitors but only a few sales then you have done something wrong. This is something I think alot of people miss or just don't understand.

Basics About Search Engines
A search engine is an information retrieval system designed to help locate information. Most people are familiar with Google, yahoo, and Search engines work when a user types a keyword into the little box. Once the user types in the word the search engine scans all its files. It then provides the user with a page that is full of options, generally twenty. The user scans the list of options and then opens the one that sounds like it best suits their needs. Search engines use something called search engine optimization to determine the ranking of each web address.

Crawler based search engines determine the relevancy of a website by following a set of guidelines called algorithms. One of the first things a crawler based search engine looks for is keywords. The more frequently a website uses a certain keyword the higher the website will rank. Search engines believe that more frequently a word appears the more relevant the website.

The location of the keywords is as important as the frequency.

The first place a search engine looks for keywords is in the title. Web designers should include a keyword in their HTML title tag. Web designers should also make sure that keywords are included near the top of the page. Search engines operate under the assumption that the web designers will want to make any important information obvious right away.

Learn How To Optimize
Let's pretend that you are the owner of a small novelty store in a small rural town in the Midwest. Most of your merchandise is handmade trinkets and crafts created by the residents of the small town (on commission so the up front cost of most of your merchandise is minimal). Although business is slow during the winter months during the tourist season you turn a tidy profit. One day as a Chicago tourist purchases a photo of the late afternoon sun glinting off a herd of sleeping cattle she mentions that she wishes you had a website so she could purchase quaint Christmas gifts for her family. As she leaves the story, her wrapped photograph tucked under her arm, you stare at your computer.

The internet could be a cheap way to increase your profit margin. You already have your physical business, a website would simply be an addition. You look at all the pretty knickknacks arranged throughout the store. If you expanded your business to include a website you could sell mid-western trinkets all over the world. It wouldn't take that much time. You have a friend that would design and teach you how to manage a website for free. You could answer questions during the slow times when you're not doing anything anyway. It would be a win-win situation.

In theory you're correct. A website could be a lucrative addition to your business.

It is possible to design website, register a domain name, and submit it to a website. But what happens next. Just like the physical shop the website will not do any business if there isn't any traffic. No one will visit your online store if they don't know about it.

The chances are good that your regular customers will probably check out your website, the ones that made items you have featured will probably tell their friends and families about it, but the chances are good that they won't buy anything, why should they pay for shipping and handling when they can drive a couple of miles and purchase it directly from you. Your tourist customers might buy from your online store but only if they know about it and since you probably waited until the slow season to create your website it will be months before you can tell them.

The Ways You Can Increase Your Conversion Rate
You can do the following to improve your conversion rate:

Do not waste your time trying to get vanity rankings. It makes no sense to get high rankings for one-word keywords.

Optimize your web pages for multiple-word keywords that attract visitors that are ready to buy.

Make sure that your landing pages contain a clear call to action and that the content of your landing pages is related to the optimized keyword.

Make sure that your website has a professional look so that potential buyers aren't turned off.

Search engine optimization is not about getting visitors. It is about getting conversions. Search engine optimization is about creating conversion paths for the traffic that comes from search engines. If you optimize your web pages for the right keywords then you'll save a lot of time and you'll get more conversions.

Knowledge Is The Key To Success
Some people believe that search engine optimization is too difficult to understand.

Other people feel that there are simply too many things to learn before they will be ready to optimize their website. With some homework and a bit of trial and error and you will know exactly what it takes to make your web-page popular with the web crawlers.

The home page title is normally the first thing the web crawlers look at when they are ranking a web-page. Your website is introduced by your homepage title. It is important to make sure that your title tag sounds credible.

Also remember that Meta tags are not a magic solution to making your website a raging success. The most valuable feature Meta tags offer to website owners is the ability to control (to a certain degree) how their web pages are described by the search engines. Meta tags can also let website owners prevent having their website indexed at all.

Meta tag keywords are a way to provide extra test for web crawler based search engines to index. While this is great in theory several of the major search engines have crawlers that ignore the HTML and focus entirely on the body of the web-page.

It might take some time and some trial and error to optimize your website but you will consider it time well spent when you see an increase in the amount of traffic, the increase in traffic should lead to more sales.

And if you take the time to optimize your website correctly, you will find yourself getting ranked high on search engines.

1 comment:

Wildnet Technologies said...

Nice Posting, I like your way of presentation.

Search Engine Optimization increasing the visibility and usability of a website at the SERP.

SEO India