Maximize SEO Time and Effort

Let’s spend a few moments discussing, or at least contemplating, how the Internet is used, and how someone is likely to find your web site.  It comes as a surprise to people still that launching a web site is not the end of the story, merely the beginning.  After all, the purpose of your web site is to make is easy, or at least easier, to find you, your product or your service, and the finding does not come by accident.

Past columns have talked about making sure your web site is ready to receive visitors before you spend your time, money and effort inviting them, and that concept is so important.  You have only the one chance, probably, to make that favorable first time impression, and if you don’t grab them in the first three seconds or so of their initial visit, you’ve likely lost them to your competition.

This is not the same thing as saying your web site needs to be beautiful – – really, it means only that it can’t be ugly.  Purpose and process are far more important than pretty, something I have written of often, and yet folks still get hung up on the pretty.

Attention spans are very short in real life today, and shorter, still, on the Internet.  If a user has spent time and effort searching for something in particular, they want that particular something quickly once they find it.  Your “call to action,” what to do and how to do it, is far more important than your pretty, so if you need a definition of “purpose and process,” there it is.  Tell your visitor what to do and how to do it, and then get out of their way.

Graphical works better than words, and if your product or service lends itself well to a graphical call to action, put it “above the fold,” where the visitor will see it as soon as the page opens.  Purpose and process – – give your visitor what he or she wants.  Make it easy for them, and stay out of their way.

But, let’s get back to how the Internet is used. It’s a single word – – searches.  People use the Internet to search – – for products, for services, for news, for answers.  What do they use for their searches?  Search engines.  Google, alone, is used for 1 billion searches per day world-wide.  The average Internet user conducted about 33 searches online per month in 2009  and that number is expected to grow to about 50 in the next five years.

Google represents about 67% of the searches conducted every day, more than any other search tool.  Last year, both Google and Yahoo began incorporating real time search from Twitter and blog feeds.  This will contribute to the growth of searches per month because it makes the results of those searches more relevant.  Search tool bars for Internet Explorer and Firefox will contribute to the growth of searches, too.

How does your web site end up as one of those search results?  By its content.  Searches are still word value-based, irrespective of the search tool used.

What does that mean from a practical standpoint?  Do your research, find out what the inventory is for every conceivable word or phrase someone might use in a search for which you want to be found, and then make sure there’s enough of a search inventory to warrant having those words on your site.  In other words, find out what people are already searching for that has to do with your product or service, and then make sure your web site content is crafted around those keywords.

When you’ve done that research and have your list of keywords you know users are already searching for, then and only then are you ready to create content.  Without the knowledge aforehand that comes from solid research and well-conceived plan, the chances of success that come from a carefully
coordinated strategy among all of the resources and online tools is diminished greatly. And when I speak of content, I mean content on your web site, content on your Twitter page, content on your Facebook business page, content in your blog.  If you haven’t done your research, assembled your Plan, and coordinated all of that content before you undertake its creation, you’re really just wasting your time.

Everything in its place, in proper order, all aspects correctly interwoven.  This is the best practices approach to the development of an overall Internet Marketing Plan, and is far more likely to achieve the success you hope for – – not high follower numbers on Twitter, not high friend numbers on Facebook;
rather, visitor traffic to your web site with a high conversion rate.

“Followers” and “Friends” are nice, but a good conversion rate is the brass ring.  Get your web site ready first, make your Plan first, create your call to action first, craft your unified content first.  Then, you’ve maximized your chances for success.

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