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5 Things to Avoid When Optimizing Your Website Pages

 
Search engine optimization can be one of the hardest and most rewarding tools in your business arsenal. It helps with marketing, advertising and selling your products or services. Because it is a wide category, there are plenty of places where you can go wrong with it. Here are just five of them.

Under-Using Your Website – Optimizing your website involves every aspect of your site. Most people think that the only important part is the content. Optimizing content is only one piece of the pie. When you concentrate on content and not on leveraging all areas of your site, you are robbing your own pockets.

You will get visitors if your content is on point, but the search engines can rank you even higher if you used keywords in other places. Articles have titles, pages have headlines and pictures have captions. Learn to use them all to your advantage.

Keyword Overload – Search engine bots are smarter than most people give them credit for. Using keywords too much will cause them to just skip over your content and thus give you a lower ranking for those keywords. It seems like you could use as many as you wanted in an article and that would make you more visible but it’s not true.

Search engines recognize when people are cheating by overstuffing their articles with keywords. Content that is well written will stay within the allowable keyword density. And, those keywords will show up naturally throughout the article so it doesn’t sound like it was thrown together just for the keywords.

Keyword Density – You can have too few keywords as well as too many. Some people write their content without even thinking about keywords. You might have a strong article that talks about cutting edge information but without something to help the search engines look upon you favorably; no one will ever read it. Using the word once or twice in an article is not going to cut it.

No Variety – For better optimization, a website doesn’t use just one keyword. If you started with the word “chocolate”, your entire website wouldn’t be based on it. People use a variety of similar words alone or in combination to find what they are looking for with search engines. If you make and sell chocolate fudge, there are better words to use: fudge, Candace’s fudge, how to make fudge, etc. it’s like throwing all your eggs in one basket if you don’t diversify your keywords.

Reciprocal Links – While it is true that backlinks can increase your search engine ranking, all links are not equal. And search engines like organic links better than simply offering reciprocal link sharing. You want others to link to you because they like your product and what your website presents to others. Using quality content on your site, in article directories and on social bookmarking sites can increase your quality inbound links for higher ranking.

Start out on solid footing with SEO. Learn how to avoid common mistakes that first-timers make.

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What Your Website Stats Can Tell You

 

Why do some websites do well and others just crest for a while and then sink under the surf? It could be the big picture view. Website statistics can teach you a lot about how your online business is doing. Take a minute and look at those stats.

Getting Set Up

When you roll out your website, it is going to be important to monitor your progress. You can’t visit the site every day. You may want to but there are other tasks to tend to. Besides, if you automate most everything, your site will be able to run itself with very little interference from you except for site upkeep and adding new content and products.

This will require a well thought out plan on your part. Basic to that plan is a way to measure what goes on during the course of a day on your site. People visit, read articles, click on ads, view products and use the shopping cart. Each of these activities will help you to determine how your business will proceed in the months and years ahead.

You can add files to your web page yourself to capture certain stats. An easier step would be to get involved with a website stats program to do the work for you. Choose something like Google Analytics. If you already use other Google services to help promote your business then you are already familiar with the variety of tools they can offer you.

 
Google Analytics lets you analyze several things:
  • Traffic
  • Marketing strategies (ads)
  • Keywords
  • Conversion rates
This is only a sampling. You sign up and the program will walk you through the rest of what you need to get be ready for business.
 
Making Changes
 
Now that you have a way to track changes on your website, it’s time to see how they can help you over not using anything at all.
  • Improve Keyword Optimization – The keywords that you decided to use may all not perform well. Using stats on page views and visitors, you can tell which of your keywords is bringing in the most traffic. For the ones that are not, consider exchanging keywords on that web page and see how that might improve sales.
  • Improve your Content Offerings – The low number of page views for a specific page could signify that people aren’t finding your content on the first page of search engine results. Take another look at your content. Is your keyword density within the right range? Are you using too many? Search engines don’t look kindly to keyword stuffing and will not rank your work favorably. With content, provide useful information using only as many words as you need to get your point across.
What are your site stats telling you? Remember to change one parameter at a time to find the right mix that will help your website succeed.
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Website Stats: Measuring Your Results

When you start planning your business, you have a business plan that will help map out where you see your sales going from one year to the next. With online businesses you can do this through website statistics. These are measurements of various activities on your website that directly relate to your business.

Site Statistics
 
One of the things that you want is traffic. Without traffic you won’t get any sales and your business won’t grow. Your marketing plan outlines how you will proceed with getting that traffic. But, it is not foolproof.
 
You won’t know if your efforts are working unless you measure it. That is where statistics come in. What do you measure? Here are a few examples:
  • Unique visitors (how many different people visit your site)
  • Keyword analysis (which keywords bring in traffic and which don’t)
  • Conversion rates (how many visitors go from reading to buying items)
  • Web page analysis (where visitors go when they are on your site)
  • Page views (how many people visit each unique page on your website)
These are just a few of the stats that you will be interested in knowing. When you first begin marketing your site, statistics can help you find out if you are on the right page. Do the keywords you use drive traffic?
 
Statistics are gathered on a monthly basis but it can take a few months to see trends. Trends are a measure of the way that your current plan is taking shape. Because of the lag time, it’s not wise to make changes to your plan for several months to give it time to work or not work. When a business is in start-up mode, it will take that long to get an accurate measure of sales.
 
Site stats give you a starting point. Without some way to measure your business efforts it is like shooting in the dark – you don’t know if you’ve hit or miss. Looking at all the statistics together gives you a better idea of what to change first in an attempt to improve your business.
 
So, if you have not instituted a way to measure vital information pertaining to your website business, it is time to do so. There are software tools (both free and paid) that can help you compile these statistics. You can also hire companies to measure that information for you and analyze the data to anticipate the next more that you need to make. But, for small businesses, using software to compile the data and your own brain to analyze it will suffice.
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Creating Content that is Relevant for Readers and Search Engines

Want your website to stand out? Pay attention to the kind of articles that you upload. Readers want to be on the cutting edge of topics and that is where you’ll want to be to increase your traffic.

 
Content usually takes the form of articles, blog posts, audio and video too. The first requirement for content is that it be relevant to the topic of your website. If your website is about selling crafts, then the articles that you supply to your readers are going to need to revolve around that subject. In other words, don’t be talking plumbing if you cater to crafty moms.
 
Be Creative
 
There is a lot of content out there these days so it is not easy to come up with something new. One way is to start with the basic information and add your special touch. Personal experiences go a long way to connecting with your readers and also providing them with information that would be hard to get anywhere else.
 
Use your failures as fresh content. Did you try to combine a couple of marketing techniques that absolutely didn’t work? Create an article that highlights what readers “shouldn’t” do. What did you learn from it? Create an article that gives tips for success using that technique.
 
Your content can be spun off into other types of website media. Create videos and audio files based on your content. It is a way to reach a wider audience who are more attracted to other ways to present relevant information.
 
Don’t Forget the SEO
 
Now that you have written ideas for your content, decide which keywords would work best in those articles. These are what will make the search engines stand up and take notice. But, in the interest of your readers, your articles will read better if the keywords appear naturally. Don’t try to force them in spots where it sounds like you are just adding words to appease the search engine gods. Your readers will be turned off by such contrived content.
 
Special Features
 
Your content will serve three purposes: keep current readers happy, satisfy SEO requirements and draw new traffic. To meet the latter, try using these options in your content:
  • Bulleted points
  • Optimized article titles
  • Numbers in your titles
Readers usually scan articles first to see if they are relevant. When numbers appear in the title, they know that they will find a certain number of things that can help them. Bulleted points make for easier reading as do subheadings. Optimized catchy titles make them want to click on your link instead of others in the search results.
 
Is your content doing all it can for your readers and the search engines? If not, read this article again and then refit your articles to do the best job they can.
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What is Search Engine Optimization?

To be successful online in business or even just for fun, you need to get noticed. No one will read or buy from you if they can’t find you right? But, how do you get yourself out there so people CAN find you? That is where search engine optimization, more commonly known as SEO, comes into play.

 
SEO What?
 
Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is a series of tools, or thought processes and tasks completed on your web pages, that help your website or blog to get noticed by the search engines. Search engines use clever things called bots and spiders to crawl sites for anything that makes them relevant to search parameters entered by Internet visitors.
 
Most people either don’t know what they are looking for or they don’t know where to find it on the Internet. They rely on the search engines to do the work for them. The words that visitors use in the search boxes are termed “keywords” by Internet marketers. When you use the same words in various places on your site, search engines will rank your web pages in relation to others using the same keywords. The one’s who use research and optimization techniques the best, will end up on top of the list. Why does being at the top of search engines matter?
 
Research has found that 60% of all web searchers will click on one of the top 3 sites they are presented with. The majority of those will choose the number 1 ranked spot. Having one of the top three positions, therefore, can results in a much greater amount of traffic. It's not just the amount of traffic that's important to note, though. After the 3rd spot, the response from search engine users diminishes greatly. This means that the visitors that you get from position 4 and below are less likely to become paying customers.
 
How to Use It
 
So, how exactly do you get to the top spots in the search engines? There are several tools and resources that can help with creating top notch SEO for your websites. They revolve around keywords and keyword phrases but the problem is what words to use for your particular business niche.
 
Think like a customer. After all, you own a business but at times you are also a customer. If it were you, what words would you enter to find the information that your potential customers are trying to find? This will be a short list but one that you can start with.
 
From there, use some online keyword software to get more ideas. There are programs like Overture that can take one keyword and return a hundred more for you to look at using in your content and elsewhere on your website. Many marketers also use WordTracker’s Free Keyword Tool to help them determine which keywords are hot. www.freekeywords.wordtracker.com These keyword programs get their results from various search engines so you can be assured that your keywords represent current parameters.
 
Search engine optimization is useful for content but that is not the only place. Use keywords to get ranked through other places on your site and other sites too. Here are just a few:
 
  • Headlines (for each web page and article)
  • Anchor text (for links within articles and elsewhere on the page)
  • Picture tags
  • Tabs (pulldown menus)
 
Search engine optimization helps you to create a relevant website for the search engines. After you take the time to set up your website with all the information customers will want to see when they visit, use your keywords. This gives the search engines what they need to rank you well so that those customers can find your products or services when it’s most important – when it’s time to buy!
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Effective Strategies for the Coming Year

 

Ah, December. Holiday parties, shopping and panicked employees begging for overtime so they can buy the latest uber craze for their children. It is also the time of year when many a department end is scrambling to finish their end of the year reports and projections and losing countless hours of work time, not to mention sleep in the process. This coming year, marks not only a new page on the calendar but a new, better method of doing business for you. Let this coming year see your company resolving to do things the right way for change. Instead of panicking at midnight on December 31st, it is time for your company to:


Set a Timeline that Starts in January and Ends in December
 
Think of the major tasks that need to be completed for your business. Divide these tasks into quarterly, monthly and weekly tasks. Each of these can be handled by one particular division or department and should be done within the timeframe. Set a definite deadline and then make sure that the person or persons responsible know what that deadline is.

The end of the year report should have a deadline no later than the twentieth of December to account for vacations and holidays. This calendar should be printed out and given to each department, posted several places and permanently saved to your computer. You can even set your computer to remind you (or others) that a deadline is looming.

Break tasks into smaller, achievable goals
 
If you know that you have a quarterly report due in April, you should start gathering and compiling data as it becomes available. While you cannot pre-write it, you can start some of the baseline tasks so that all you will have to do is fill in the data once it is available to you.

Keep up communication and dialogue
 
So, there you sit at the end of the year trying to get a report completed when you realize that you do not have the absenteeism report from HR. You cannot finish without this vital piece of information. You call and email, text and page but you cannot get a single member of the department – all out partying and having a good time while you are banging your head on your desk in a deserted office building.

The problem is not only did HR drop the ball and not tell you what was going on; they failed to mention that the report was given to your secretary, a temp, who “filed” it in a big basket under her desk because she did not know what to do with it and did not want anyone to know.

The incompetence of temps notwithstanding, it should be firmly established who gives what information to whom, how it is delivered and when it is expected by. Going back to the calendar, a notation that says “report due today” is not going to cut it. It should say what kind of report, from what department, who will prepare it and who it will be handed or sent to- and what time of day it is expected so there are no questions and no excuses left to give.