Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sensible Web Marketing Tips from an Icon

Francine Hardaway is an icon in the Arizona technology and business community (and elsewhere). Her vast experience and willingness to share it have earned her a great degree of respect. Below is a copy of her recent post to the AZIPA message board. The advice may seem remedial to SEO pros, but the content is rock solid. Please enjoy and implement "7 Simple Ways to Get Search Engines to See Your Site"

(Geeks will already know this) You can't just make a web site anymore and hope people will come. You can't even blog anymore and hope people will come, although good blogging software like Wordpress has built-in SEO (search engine optimization).

You have to do something to get your content out to where the people are. Even large corporations are often disappointed by the amount of traffic to their corporate sites -- people just don't go to sites. In the early days, people "surfed" the net. Now we all know it's too big to find things randomly. Rather, we take advice from friends, follow links from Twitter and Facebook, or take whatever result comes up on Google or Yahoo searches. So do your visitors.

The marketplace is full of companies that supposedly help your site get attention. While some are good, some resort to methods you might not want to be associated with if you care about your corporate image. So don't just hire a company and entrust it with the responsibility of carrying your image out on the internets. Take the time to learn a little about the most important marketing tool you have -- your web site. Develop it correctly and it will be found even without outside help.

There are several simple web site development tools that are almost free or support themselves through hosting services that I use when I want to turn a site over to a client who will be able to maintain it him/herself in the future. Use one of them if you are doing a site yourself. (Weebly , Wordpress , Squarespace )

Or ask your web developer to abide by these simple rules, and your content will get out into the world at large. Search engines work on complicated algorithms that usually involve changes, links in to your site, and good keywords. So here are seven simple ways to get people to look at your site.

1) Create quality. Forget brochureware and product sheets, unless they already contain the keywords your customers and clients will be looking for. No one is looking for a "complete real-time solution." Make your terms crystal clear, without jargon, and repeat them naturally in your copy. Hyperlink terms to other places on your site. If you were buying, searching, comparing in your own category, what would you be typing into a search engine?

2) Add a feed to your site. This allows someone who comes to your site to subscribe to your content. At the very least, create a Twitter feed that will automatically make your site changes or blog posts come up as links in your Twitter posts, where your followers can click on the

3) Change the content often. Search engines look for changes. This is why blogs work. And don't accept a web site that can't be updated and managed by you without having to call the web developer. It's called a "content management system," and you want one. Static web sites don't get found.

4) Make your site social. Put a Share this button on your site, so if someone wants to send
your content to a friend or a social site, it's easy for them to do. There are many different widgets that allow your readers to share your content; just choose one. I've got nothing invested in ShareThis, other than its ease of use.

5) Use anchor text wisely. Search engines crawl it. So every time you write "click here," you are missing an opportunity. Instead, hyperlink keywords you think your readers are looking for, or you wish they were searching for to find your site.

6) Find out what the most important keywords in your sector or business area are. There's a service called Hitwise you can use to get this data, or you can get it from Google itself. Believe me, Google's Adsense program knows. Use them in your copy.

7) Stay away from Flash animations on your landing page. Flash looks good, but search engines don't search it, so if you want to be found, you can forget about it.

None of these tricks is complicated, nor will they get you in trouble with the search engine gods. I've learned them all through hard experience.


Richard said...

Francine is really an icon. Thanks for sharing her tips and more power.

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Richard said...

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