In a number of my previous posts I used the term “keywords” and I did so for good reason – they play an absolutely critical role in all your online marketing efforts. Yet, until you know what keywords are it’s pretty tough to incorporate them into a search engine optimization strategy, much less tactically employ them in a manner that will drive business to your door. So let’s start by defining what keywords are…
In the simplest terms, keywords are words that people will use when searching for your products or services. For example, a business in the Chicago area looking for accounting services may type the following phrase into a search engine: “Best Chicago Accounting Firm.” Each word in the phrase, “Best Chicago Accounting Firm” is a keyword. Now clearly, if you’re our hypothetical Chicago Accounting Firm you wouldn’t use any of those keywords by themselves because it wouldn’t make sense. No one is going to do a search using only one of those terms – at least not anyone looking for an accounting firm in the Chicago area. So we use terms “Long-tail keyword” or “Short-tail keyword” to describe the type of keyword “phrase” we’re talking about. True to the description of each term, Long-tail keywords are longer search phrases and Short-tail keywords are shorter phrases. Each type of keyword traditionally provides different benefits, results, and traffic, but I’ll post more about keywords and how they directly relate to search engine optimization in my next post. Stay tuned.
Unlike other advertising mediums (magazine, yellow pages, radio, tv, etc.) the online world moves fast, often changing by the day. It’s part of what makes online marketing so challenging and intriguing. It also means that in order to succeed you have to be better than your competition. So understanding what factors matter the most can make all the difference. Here’s a quick list (and maybe a little recap from previous posts) of the things you should pay close attention to as you engage in your online marketing efforts:
- Keyword in your domain name – whether it’s your main site or a landing page having the proper keyword(s) in your domain name is critical.
- Age of domain – not much you can do about this, but it’s important to note that there’s value in the duration of time you’ve owned your domain name.
- Title of Web page – Pretty self explanatory here.
- H1 & H2 tags – Header tags, especially your H1 and H2 tags, should be properly worded and, ideally, specific to the keywords your targeting.
- Competition of the keywords – know your keywords and compete them intelligently.
- Keyword density – Articles you write, blog entries, pretty much all content can benefit from good keyword density. In general, using a keyword 2 to 5 times in first 250 words of any content is a good rule to follow.
- Unique content – Content is king. Nothing replaces quality, unique content.
- Frequency of updating – Search engines like change. Keep it fresh and make them happy.
- Internal link structure – I’ll be posting more about the dynamics of website links in the future, but for now, ensure you have a logical link structure for your site. And be careful not to create a link structure too deep. No more than 3 layers deep if you can.
Next time, more about keywords – how to find them and what to do with them when you do. Stay tuned.
So you’ve completed your site and now you’re ready to unleash it on the world. Congratulations, if you used all the good design principles detailed in my previous posts, you’re probably a long way ahead of your competition. But now you need to put your site somewhere. Your Internet service provider is a good option, right? Hmmm….Well, if not your Internet service provider, certainly the firm that designed your site then, right? Or how about just going to one of the large hosting companies? The price is right and with the amount of sites they host they’ve got to be good at it. The answer is a resounding “maybe.” In short, a few simple factors are going to make all the difference. Knowing these can make or break your online marketing and SEO efforts.
The good news is these factors are pretty simple: bandwidth, who-you’re-with, and location.
- Bandwidth – pretty simple stuff here. Whoever hosts your site needs to have enough bandwidth to serve your site to all those who want to see it. There aren’t really any “sure-thing” tests or tools you can use to verify this, but this information should be provided to you by your hosting company in your agreement. Verify data throughput maximums and check to see if there are any bandwidth guarantees.
- Who-you’re-with – this criteria may be the most important of them all. Ultimately, the other sites hosted on the same server as you make a difference – both in terms of the server’s ability to deliver the site (too many sites can bog a server down) and even more importantly, the type of sites that are on the server. Want to be hosted with pornography sites? Probably not. The sites your website “commiserates” with makes a difference. Use this tool to check and see who you’re hosted with. You might be very, very surprised.
- Location – the facts are that many of the largest hosting companies and data centers are located domestically in Florida and Texas. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if your business is located in or near either state (or if many of your customers are). However, if you’re located quite a ways away from either of those locations and many of your clients/customers are local, this can make a difference in the time it takes for your site to load. Is it likely to be a huge difference? No, probably not. But how many times have you waited 4 or 5 seconds for a site to load and gotten frustrated? The fact is that even as ridiculous as a few seconds sounds, people don’t expect to wait so why make them? Ultimately you want to drive people to your site and get them to become customers. Hosting your site in a local data center may not be the answer, but then again if you have a quality data center near you it is probably worth looking into.
Ultimately, your decision on where to host your site can make a difference in how the search engines look at it and how quickly it loads for people. Both should be considered very seriously.
Next time we’ll talk about how to be better than your competition. In the online world you don’t necessarily have to be good, you just have to be better than your competition. Stay tuned.
Did you know that your website probably has an operating system?
That’s right if I go to your website I can go to View Source and tell what the web site implementer used to create your website. Whether it was created from scratch in Dreamweaver or using Microsoft .NET or a PHP CMS like Joomla or something entirely different and custom. You would never install new servers or workstations without knowing the operating system but most web sites go up without the clients asking about why the platform the designer has decided is the best solution.
The web clients that come to us come for 1 of 3 reasons:
- Their site is outdated and ugly
- Their site needs to rank higher in the search engines
- Last but most common someone wrote the site and now they are gone or non responsive and they have no idea how to make changes or add pages/features.
We use an standards based CMS (Content Management System) this gives our clients the modern features of today’s websites with the flexibility to both edit their own content as well as have a solid platform that ITP or any vendor could come in and work on. ITP has no interest in selling you a custom system as a method of trapping you into being our client. Our clients stay with us because we create great web sites that increase their business profitability and exposure.
ITP’s process for web site design includes all of the following key components:
- Design (Look and Feel)
- Platform (Manage Your Content)
- Content Writing (Our writers can help you get through that mental block and create pages of Search Engine Friendly Content)
- Proper Search Engine Friendly Coding (All that magic computer geeks know to get you noticed)
- Functionality (Need e commerce, registration system?)
- Project Management (A proven process of gathering information, executing and informing you through the process)
Want a solid web hosting platform to go along with it? We do that too. Check out our advanced cloud based web hosting platform.