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Friday, November 28, 2008

Search Engine Optimization: 11 Basic SEO Strategies for Beginners

Fantastic Advice by Donna Gunter

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process getting your website ready to be found in organic webs searches. By organic searches, I'm referring to web searches that appear naturally as the result of a search for a particular keyword or phrase, rather than appearing in the sponsored links (pay-per-click advertising) section of a search page.

Frankly, for the first few years I was online, the thought of doing my own SEO made my eyes cross, and I was overwhelmed at where to start. I even toyed with the idea of hiring a specialist to do this for me, but never got around to it. However, over time, I slowly began to see a pattern emerging, and started to optimize some of my sites accordingly. One of the best days of my business was when I recently ranked #1 for a particularly competitive search term.

I'm not a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist, nor do I play one on TV. However, even a new business owner who creates and updates her own websites can implement some very basic SEO strategies to make her website appear higher in the organic rankings on certain keyword searches.

Here are the 11 strategies that I regularly implement on my sites for better SEO positioning:

1. Page title tags. This is the page information that you see in the blue bar of your browser in the upper left-hand corner when you visit a website. For best SEO, use your top 2 keywords in your title tag. The best way to do that is separated with a bar, as illustrated in this example: Internet Marketing | Web Marketing.

2. Domain name. If at all possible, use one primary keyword in your domain name. You will have a slight edge over your competition by doing so. If you already have a domain that you have used for some time, include a keyword in the name of files for your website pages. Example: http://www.yoursite.com/internet-marketing.htm if your keyword is Internet marketing.

3. Meta tags. These are descriptions on a web page that are not seen by most visitors except when looking at the page source code in their browser. While the keyword and description metatags used to be the primary way that search engines indexed sites, that is no longer the case. However, you shouldn't ignore them entirely, as it is still worthwhile to include them as a part of your page description. For optimal SEO, your meta description and keyword tags should be no more than 150 characters each.

4. Header tags. Header tags are the HTML code that indicates a headline, like H1, H2 and H3 and show up as bolded headlines in your page content. The first 3 header tags are the only ones you need to be concerned about, and the primary header tag, H1, is the most important. Use your primary keyword one time in the H1 tag, 2-3 times in your H2 tags, and multiple times in your H3 tags.

5. Alt image tag. The alt tag typically describes an image in a floating text window when you put your mouse over the image if the image isn't able to be displayed. The best use of any tag is to use your keywords in your image descriptions.

6. Content formatting. Search engines pay attention to formatted content, as in when text is bolded, italicized, and underlined. Make sure that you are bolding your keywords in the content of your website.

7. Keyword density. Keyword density refers to the number of times a keyword or keyword phrase appears on a web page. Rather than trying to focus on the number of times a keyword appears in the content of your page, aim for a more natural density by keeping your keyword phrases in mind as you write the copy for your page. Optimally, keyword density should be between 2% - 7%. There are a number of keyword density checkers available online to assist you with determining the keyword density of a page.

8. Anchor text. Anchor text refer to links on a page that connect your visitor to other pages. So, rather than telling someone to "click here" in the content of your page, include a keyword in your anchor text, as in "click here for dog training tips."

9. Inbound links. Reciprocal link exchange (you link to my site and I'll link to yours) used to be a great way to attract the attention of search engines to your site. Now, search engines pay attention only to the quality and popularity of the site providing you with an inbound link that is not a reciprocal link. One of the best ways to get quality inbound links back to your site is to submit articles to high traffic article directories and submit press releases to paid press release services.

A second way to gain high quality inbound links is by listing your site in search engine-friendly directories in which humans review the listings. Google and other search engines place more credibility in the directories in which the listings are reviewed by real people than they do other kinds of directories. Consequently, these links are weighted more heavily and favorably in the inbound link evaluation process.

10. New content. Content is still king, so one way to increase your page rank for a search term is to write high quality articles containing one or two of your keywords in the title and posting those regularly (weekly is best) to your site. Search engines are always seeking good, fresh, content, so your goal should be to make your site into an information-rich resource for your industry.

11. Site maps. There are sitemaps that help a visitor navigate a site, and sitemaps that are expressly designed for the search engines. The two are not the same. To enhance your site, submit an xml sitemap to Google Webmaster Central and Yahoo Site Explorer. I use XML Sitemaps, http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/, to build search engine-friendly sitemaps on my sites.

Search engine optimization strategy is not a difficult as it appears. Take some time to do some keyword research for your site, and then spend another 15 minutes a day employing a few of these strategies until you have a well-optimized site. Why pay for visitors through pay-per-click advertising if you don't have to?

Online Business Manager and Online Business Coach Donna Gunter helps independent service professionals learn how to automate their businesses, leverage their expertise on the Internet, and get more clients online. To claim your FREE gift, TurboCharge Your Online Marketing Toolkit, visit her site at http://www.OnlineBizU.com . Ask Donna an Internet Marketing question at http://www.AskDonnaGunter.com Copyright (c) 2008 OnlineBizU.com

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

After creating my website, how should I handle the traffic and convert prospects into customers?

You as a website owner will be constantly visiting your website traffic logs to see how many visits your sites are getting. After noting that people spend considerable time on your website and then move away after reaching the shopping page, you wonder if all this work is ever going to be worth the effort.

It’s not that easy to convert a user into a customer unless you show a potential reason to the visitor that your website is worthy for the money that they want to spend.

Now converting those visitors into buyers or clients is a little tricky. As they say the first impression is the last impression, the graphics used on the website definitely strike the attention of the end user but too much design and graphics might just make it cluttered.

As the visitor decides to surf through your website, it is important to build trust with the prospect.

If the prospect wishes to shop on your website make sure the process is simple yet robust so that it is an easy transition for the prospect into a customer.

But would you ensure a smooth experience for the user? Naturally, if the buyer is in full control of the buying process and there are no sneaky questions or promotional elements during the process, they will have no hassle parting away with their money.

A full disclosure of your services is as important as the privacy of your customer.

*** Now before we suggest you some tips on improving your shopping cart experience, there are a few general points that you should consider regarding your website.

Every small thing counts here;

* Most of the times, the visitors to your website enter through the homepage so it is essential that the objective is clearly mentioned to the visitor. The service or product offerings should be listed clearly on the page.

* Make call to action for the visitors clear so that they walk through the path that you have full control over.

* Introduce the customers to the products and create a sense of need or urgency to acquire that product as they are unlikely to revisit or buy the product later. A good description and benefits come in handy here. Don’t go overboard here or sound desperate.

* And after all who doesn’t love a clean website design! Avoid cluttering all elements and keep the visitors engaged.

Some important tips to keep in mind for strengthening your customers shopping experience:

1. With so many online frauds happening, the visitors are a little circumspect. So the first thing they look for in the website is trust and credibility. There are various ways through which you can build trust with the online customer which include many safe and reliable online portals and associations which monitor each transaction closely.

2. Clear, Easy and User-friendly navigation plays a great role in making a better shopping experience with very less time consumption.

3. Have a link to the FAQ page which can assist the customer in case he/she feels lost or hits a roadblock.

4. Ensure that any kind of policy – be it shipping, privacy, affiliate etc... is clearly laid out to the customer in a simplified language.

5. Have a contact form for the customers in case they have any queries. It could become a good source of hot leads for your business. And remember that the turnaround time for your response should be as low as possible.

6. You should have the means of accepting and processing all kinds of cards. And suggesting an alternative to the customers makes it even better and reflects on your services.

7. Offering shipping to the clients takes you one step closer to closing the deal.

Improve Search Engine Rankings link building pricing PPC Setup Seo Services Seo Specialist Service Web Solution & Internet Marketing Search engine optimization Better Rankings Web Marketing Advice SEO: Search Engine Optimization Google Adwords Management Search Engine Optimization And Link Building