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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Friendly Websites

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How to increase website visibility

Just having a website doesn't guarantee that it will be at the top of search engine search results. Unlike the movie quote, "If you build it, they will come," building a website does not mean that people will automatically begin finding you through search engines, like Google, AltaVista, Yahoo and MSN. Being found online takes careful planning, research, implementation of SEO strategies, lots of work, and PATIENCE. Not what you want to hear, right?

Then why, you may ask, are so many of your competitors getting hits, traffic, and business from their websites, and you aren't getting anything? There are many reasons for this, and you can learn their secrets and increase your website's visibility on the web. However, it's not easy, and it's especially difficult when you are in a competitve field like insurance and real estate. It's not impossible, but it does require effort - from YOU.

The first step to optimizing your website for search engines is to not optimize your website for search engines. Whatever SEO strategies you implement, they should be for YOUR CLIENTS, for the people you want to go to your site and buy something, learn something, and do something.

The bonus is that search engine crawlers, or "spiders" that travel the world wide web, will rank your pages higher when they are informative, search engine friendly, and contain useful information for your target audience. Trying to "trick" search engines, or Black Hat SEO strategies, is detrimental, and while "tricks" may get short-term results, they will harm your rankings in the long-term, and could get you listed as SPAM.

There are several key concepts that will help your website get higher page rank results, and if you implement these concepts, your website will, eventually, be listed higher in search results. Just as anything does in life, getting ahead of your competition takes effort, time, research, and patience.

The Most Important SEO Concept - Keywords

Keywords for SEOBegin thinking like your potential clients, what keywords and keyword phrases would they type in a search engine and hopefully get YOUR website address? Keywords tell search engines what your site is about, what you sell, what services you provide, how to index you in their list of websites, and what information you provide in your website.

Make a list of your most important keywords, then do a search with each of them, noting what websites come up on the first page. Visit those websites and see if those keywords are repeated often in the text, are in the heading text, in links, or other places on the pages. In any web browser, you can "view the source," which shows you the "behind the scenes" look at a webpage, how it's built by a designer.

Look for the Meta Tag "Keywords," (meta tags are codes for seach engines, and every page should have meta tags for keywords, title, and description) it should be at the top of the source page, note what keywords that web page lists. You could make an Excel spreadsheet or a Word document of your competitor's top keywords, then use that to create your own list.

To be effective, every keyword you list should be in the text, or cotent of your page, at least 3 times. Just adding keywords to a page, with no supporting text, is called "keyword stacking," and this is a Black Hat method, which will get you listed as SPAM. So, don't do it. Use your keyword list to help you write quality content that makes sense, and supports the claim that your website is what you say it is.

The Next SEO Concept - Content

If there are no words on your home page, it's all images and/or Flash, then how can you convince search engines that your website's keywords apply to your site at all?

Anyone can add a meta tag for keywords and list them, but that means nothing if the content doesn't have those keywords embedded in relevant text composed of complete sentences. And think about your potential clients, they want you to tell them how you can sell their house, get them the best product at the lowest price, or why your lawn mowing services are better than anyone else's.

Your words support your keywords, and you're proving that you are who you say you are, be it a realtor, landscaper, designer, etc. Basically, you're proving that you aren't SPAM. The best practice is to use your keywords at least 3 times on the page, in text, headers, and/or links.

Content is extremely important, and not just to SEO, but for anyone you want to lure to your site and keep them there. Well thought out, quality content is one of the most important techniques for SEO.

Supporting SEO Concepts, but Still Important


Many people think that if they have links on their page that go to other websites, they are helping search engines find them. This is wrong. Linking to another website helps that website and does nothing for you.

Search engine spiders, or crawlers, crawl through the web, through a website, and when they encounter a link, they will follow that link to the other website, or other page on your website. If enough people are linking to a website, this tells search engines that people feel that this website is important, relevant, and thus it increases its search engine rankings. This doesn't help you at all, unless the other website is linking back to your site.

Reciprocal links, or Link-Backs, are a great way to direct crawlers to your website, and many times, website owners will give you a link on their websites for only the cost of a reciprocal link back to them. Think of all the people you know who have their own websites, what if they put a link to your site on their sites, how many times would search engines be directed to you? If you have enough links from other websites to yours, you can raise your search engine rankings, it's that easy.

If you advertise online, there should be a link back to your website, always. If you're a member of an association or club, you should ask for a link back to your website. Just being listed in the online Yellow Pages will get you a link to your site.

Look at your competitor's websites, how many link-backs to they have, and to who? Competitor websites are a great way to search for potential link-backs, and it can't hurt to ask for one, the worst thing they could say is no.

Page Optimization

As previously stated, Flash intros, or websites that are all graphics and no text, are not search engine friendly. It's important to work with your web designer, or to learn, if you are buidling your own website, the way to make your pages friendly to search engines. Frames are also not good for SEO, so consult with your web designer to make sure he or she builds your website with SEO in mind.

Page optimization also means that the headers, or the bolded, bigger text on a web page have your most important keywords in them. Search engines treat headings as Important, and this tells them that whatever the heading says, that's something important enough to be made bold and larger on the page.

Images should have something called "alt" tags, which are written into the background of the page, attached to each image, that explains what the image is. These are mainly for accessibility, for those that use page readers to read the information on the screen.

Making a website "accessible" means that you are helping those with handicaps to learn about your product or service, and a side effect is that search engines read these "alt" tags too. There are accessibility standards that all websites should meet, and it's a good idea to make sure your web designer follows these standards on principle. If it benefits you SEO-wise, that's just a bonus.


If your website is large, has lots of pages, it should also contain a sitemap. Search engines find this page and can go to any page in your website, and it can ensure that all your pages are indexed, not just the ones in your navigation menu or the ones linked from other pages.

Internal Links

Embedded in the content of each page, preferably including keywords, should be links to other pages in your website. This helps your clients to learn about other pages that may help them find what they need, and it helps search engines crawl through your website. Don't just say, "click here," your links should contain keywords. For example, "Visit our realtor flyer page to see a few of our great samples." Making "realtor flyer" a link makes it stand out as IMPORTANT for website visitors and search engines.

Links in javascript, or drop down menus, aren't search engine friendly, but you can overcome this by adding a text link list in the footer, or bottom section of each webpage. If you look at the footer of this webpage, you'll see an example of what to do when you use javascript for your main navigation menus.

Embedded links, and a secondary navigation in the footer, will send web crawlers throughout your site quite effectively.

The purpose is for each page to be "seen" by your clients and by search engines. If you make it easy for the people who visit your site, you will make it easy for search engines too.

Pay-Per-Click or AdWords by Google

New websites will benefit from Google's AdWords, the small text ads you see on the right side of search result pages. Each ad you place doesn't cost anything until someone clicks the link and goes to your website. You write ads based on keywords (your most important keywords), and if the price you have set for each click is higher than anyone else's, your ad should appear at the top of the search results page. You can set a budget of any amount, for example $30 a month, and your ad will appear until enough people click your ad and your budget runs out.

AdWords is a great way to get your website to appear in search results when your SEO strategies haven't had time to make a big impact. If you're interested in Google's AdWords, visit their website and learn all you can about this affordable advertising solution.

Wrting Articles that People Want to Read

If the secret to SEO is to have content with keywords throughout your website, internal links, link-backs, and user (search engine) friendly, then a great way to fill your site with this quality content is to write an article about something in your field, some topic that people will be interested in reading.

Having a library of helpful online articles can also save time because you can refer your clients to your website, and ask them to read your article that explains a topic, and you don't have to repeat yourself over and over (unless you want to do that).

You can also send out bulk emails (html newsletters) that showcase your new article by offering only a few lines, then a link to the full article on your website. You're driving people to your website, which equals higher search engine rankings.

Email Campaigns

Email newsletters, e-flyers, bulk emails, are perfect for introducing yourself and your website, for selling a particular service or product, and generally for keeping in touch with your clients. Be sure to include links (more than one) to your website, and make it eye-catching, interesting, so that people will want to click the link and find out more about you and your company.

There are many online email campaign companies, like Constant Contact, that offer monthly plans, and make it totally affordable to product your own advertising emails. Just remember, these companies only send out permission-based emails, so make sure you get permission before sending out your bulk emails.

These SEO concepts are considered to be the most important ways to help your website get higher in search engine ranks, but there are no "quick fixes." It takes effort to get your site SEO'ed, and then time to generate traffic, which is what ultimately gains you a higher ranking.

Think like a website visitor, write good content using your most important keywords, have your site designed by someone who will design it correctly, and then advertise, get link-backs, and spread the word. Eventually, your website will "mature," and you will get the results you want.

- Kimber Malone
Purple Dragonfly Designs


Purple Dragonfly Designs 713-376-1980