Pretty Versus Money

Search engines can’t “see” a site. They can only “read” a site. And search engines only read text, not graphics. Gorgeous graphics or a pretty flash slide show mean nothing to a search engine.

Pretty does not talk to a search engine.

Search engines are blind to graphics.

Search engines love text.

What “talks” to a search engine are the words, the content, the material in your site that explains, shares, informs, educates, and babbles. Make sure you have quality word content for a search engine to examine and compare with all the parts and pieces to give you a good “score” with the search engines.

Why?

Because people are looking for content. Not for pretty. A people looking for content have money to spend.

Write Your Content with Searchers in Mind

How do you find information on the Internet?

If you are writing something that you want to be “found” on the Internet, think about the words and phrases someone would use to find your information. Use them more than once as you write, but not in every sentence. Learn how search engines scan your content, evaluate it, and categorize it so you can help yourself get in good favor with search engines.

Content First

A search engine enters your site and, for the most part, ignores the styles and CSS. It just plows through the site gathering content and information. Few search engines scan more than the first third of the page before moving on. Make sure your site puts the content near the top.

Keywords, Links, and Titles Meet Content

Search engines do not evaluate your site on how pretty it is, but they do evaluate the words and put them through a sifter, giving credit to certain words and a combination of words. Keywords found within your meta tag keywords listings and within your document are compared to words found within your links and titles. The more that match, the better your “score.”

And this is such a simple thing – create a page around each keyword with the keyword in the page title, meta tag description, meta tag keywords, the H1 tag, in the content, and in links. So simple but so frequently not done. If you do not take the time to properly build your site so it is search engine friendly, then it is harder for the search engines to crawl and score your site. And if it is harder for the search engines, it becomes harder for people to find your website.

Why make it hard for your customers to find your website? Are you trying to hide from your potential customers?

Of course not, so make it easy for search engines and customers.

Content in Links and Images

What if you have a graphic rich site?

Your site may not have much text, mostly photographs and links, but you have places in which to add textual content. Search engines look for alt and title in link and image tags. While these have a bigger purpose of making your site more accessible, having good descriptions and words in these attributes helps provide more content for search engines to digest.

Again, simple, but few people (read website designers) take the time to do this.

Link Popularity

It is not how good your site is, it is how good the sites are that link to you. These are called incoming links or backlinks. The number of backlinks, contrary to what you hear by SEO “experts” still holds weight with search engine favoritism.

It’s about who links to you. The number of incoming links your site has that have been recognized by Google can be checked by typing link:www.yoursite.com into Google or Yahoo. Other ways to generate incoming links to your site include:

  • Add your site’s url to your signature on forum posts on other sites.
  • Submit your site to directories such as DMOZ.
  • Publish articles with your sites url in the resource box

What about leaving comments on blogs? Usually this will not help, because all modern blogging tools use the rel=”nofollow” attribute.

What about link farms, or paying to have your websites url placed on a website with a high page rank?

Run don’t walk from that scam…

Build quality content and you will find other websites linking to your website because they are finding great content on your website, and want to link to your site.

Good Navigation Links

Lastly, help the poor search engine out. Make it easy for Google, Yahoo, and MSN to crawl your site by using navigation links in the content of your website.

A search engine crawls through your site, moving from page to page. Good navigational links to the categories, archives, and various pages on your site will invite a search engine to move gracefully from one page to another, following the connecting links and visiting most of your site.

Viola!

Your site gets crawled quickly and easily, and thus your precious content becomes quickly indexed by the search engines, making it easier for people searching information to find YOUR site.

Easy, eh?

But few website designers do this.

For a free on-line marketing audit of your website which includes a SEO evaluation, call 541-480-3113.

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