Updating Your Website
¬¬Just about every business has a website these days but very few businesses know how to effectively use their websites to get more customers. There are two different things that a business owner needs to do to increase their website traffic: optimize their site so that search engines can find them easier and promote their site on the internet so that they have greater visibility. This article will discuss how to optimize a website.
First let's start with what Google (and all search engines) do. What does Google do? Google first of all collects information. They do this by going to every website on the internet every 10-14 days and "spidering" your site with their robots. It sounds rather sinister but in reality all they're doing is looking at all of the text that is on your site and all of the programming code that was written to create every page on your site. By doing this they are able to tell what is on your site and they can therefore index it in their database.
This is the key behind search engine optimization (SEO), making your site more easily indexable by Google. If Google doesn't have a clear idea of what is on your site then it can't index it properly. If it can't index it properly then it will be difficult for your site to show up on its search engine results pages (SERPs) when someone in the world types in a search phrase when they to search.
If you have an Italian restaurant in Bangkok and someone types in "Italian restaurant Bangkok" then you want your website to show up on the first page of Google. By the way, 87% of people never look past the first page of the SERPs so being on the first page is especially critical. If Google isn't exactly sure what your site is all about, if they don't know that your site is for an Italian restaurant in Bangkok, then your site is not going to rank high enough to show up on the first page. It may not show up until the 10th page or worse so you can see how important it is to have your site optimized.
So how do we optimize a website? It all starts with your keyword phrases. Your site should have keyword phrases your site is built around. Your keyword phrases should be the phrases that people might type in if they were looking for your business. If you're an Italian restaurant in Bangkok you would use the keyword phrase mentioned above and you also might want to use "Italian food Bangkok," Italian cuisine Bangkok" and others that people might use. If you specialize in Italian food from Tuscany you might want to use "Italian food Tuscany Bangkok." There are ways to find out what keyword phrases people are actually searching for on the internet but that's the subject of another article.
So let's say we have our keyword phrases, and I recommend using no more than 15-18. Now what do we do with them? Well, in addition to keyword phrases we need to generate a title for our website and also a description. These are the first things Google looks for when they come to your site. These things are inserted into your programming code by your webmaster and it only takes a minute to copy and paste them into your site's code.
You just have to write them and give them to your webmaster. So how do we do it? Let's take a look at a site that is optimized properly so that it's easy to see what I mean. I just happen to have a site that is optimized and it's www.seonorthamerica.com. This is one of mine so I know it's done right. First, Google looks at your URL, your web address. If your URL is composed of a keyword search phrase, that is the best situation. For example, if our Italian restaurant, instead of putting their name in their URL like you would expect them to do, had instead used www.italianrestaurantbangkok.com as their URL then they would have a big advantage when it comes to search. My URL has seo north america in it so it gives me an advantage with anyone searching for SEO in the U.S. or Canada.
Next, you want to have a good title. Your title is the text that appears at the very top left-hand corner of the web browser when you go to a particular page. Many sites just have their business name as their title but this doesn't tell Google anything. Instead you want to have a title that includes some keyword phrases in it as well as your name. My keyword phrases are: online seo training, seo course, seo courses, search engine optimization training, search engine optimization, search engine optimisation, internet marketing course, internet marketing training, online marketing training, marketing training online, internet marketing courses. And my title is: SEO Southeast Asia - SEO course with Online SEO training and internet marketing training. "Internet marketing training" is a keyword phrase along with "online SEO training" and "SEO course." So I have three keyword phrases in my title and this helps Google understand better what my site is all about.
Next comes the description of my site. You can't see this because it only appears in the programming behind the page but Google certainly sees it. My description is as follows: "The best value SEO training course on the internet. SEO North America provides online seo training in a video format along with internet marketing training and online marketing training in a complete SEO course." I've used a number of keyword phrases in my description as you can see: "online seo training," "internet marketing training," "online marketing training," "SEO course." This further reinforces to Google what my site is all about.
Don't try to pack too many keyword phrases into the description or title and don't make either of them too long. Also, make sure that each of them make sense from a grammar standpoint. This is especially important with the description as Google pulls text from this to display on the SERPs. If you look at the search results that are pulled up you'll see some text in each listing below the heading. If you have a description Google will usually pull that snippet of text from it. Otherwise it will pull it from somewhere else on your site.
You can also customize your individual page URLs so that they reflect the content that you have on each individual page. You can do the same thing with your titles and descriptions: each page can have their own title and description that reflect the content on that page. These are easy to do and your webmaster should have no problem.
That's about all you have to do to optimize your site and make it more effective at getting more traffic and more customers. Most SEO companies will charge hundreds of dollars to do this for you but you've just learned how to do it for free. How's that for a deal?
Tom Aikins is an SEO consultant and online marketing expert based in Bangkok who presents seminars on these subjects and also offers a complete online marketing training course on his website, http://www.seonorthamerica.com. You can ask questions of him by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.