November 11, 2012

What Is Search Engine Optimization


Search Engine Optimization is a process of choosing the most appropriate targeted keyword phrases related to your site and ensuring that this ranks your site highly in search engines so that when someone searches for specific phrases it returns your site on tops. It basically involves fine tuning the content of your site along with the HTML and Meta tags and also involves appropriate link building process. The most popular search engines are Google, Yahoo, MSN Search, AOL and Ask Jeeves. Search engines keep their methods and ranking algorithms secret, to get credit for finding the most valuable search-results and to deter spam pages from clogging those results. A search engine may use hundreds of factors while ranking the listings where the factors themselves and the weight each carries may change continually. Algorithms can differ so widely that a webpage that ranks #1 in a particular search engine could rank #200 in another search engine. New sites need not be "submitted" to search engines to be listed. A simple link from a well established site will get the search engines to visit the new site and begin to spider its contents. It can take a few days to even weeks from the referring of a link from such an established site for all the main search engine spiders to commence visiting and indexing the new site.

If you are unable to research and choose keywords and work on your own search engine ranking, you may want to hire someone to work with you on these issues.

Search engine marketing and promotion companies, will look at the plan for your site and make recommendations to increase your search engine ranking and website traffic. If you wish, they will also provide ongoing consultation and reporting to monitor your website and make recommendations for editing and improvements to keep your site traffic flow and your search engine ranking high. Normally your search engine optimization experts work with your web designer to build an integrated plan right away so that all aspects of design are considered at the same time.

September 19, 2012

Website as Storefronts


A customer walks into the store, browses through products and shelves, picks up items, inspects, considers the prices, chooses a product and takes it to the cash register to pay. Now if you want to sell your products online, then your site must be enabled for e-commerce, where you must have the following features:

  • You need to provide plenty of content and product description like sizes, dimensions, colors and comparisons with other similar products. It must allow the customer to choose a product, get a clear pricing and shipping costs on the product, complete the transaction and get an order number, and/or invoice confirmation via email. Allow your customer to choose a shipping method.
  • You must tell the customer if the item is in stock or delivered against order. Ideally, you should have an email contact or live help if the customer has a question. Most importantly you must respond immediately! If you want to provide your own live chat and help desk services on your website, specialized softwares are available for purchase.
  • Be sure your customer service links are large and clearly marked, so your client does not have to dig around to find information.
  • Provide an ‘about us’ section or a section about your policies. If you have privacy statements and customer satisfaction policies, your customer will feel better about shopping in your store.
  • You probably want to have customer quotes and references on the storefront page, as well, to let your prospective client know that others are happy with your service.
  • Provide an FAQ with information about your return-back policies, guarantees, shipping prices and insurance charges if any.
  • If you are so inclined, you can offer a print catalogue if the customer prefers to order one from your storefront and shop in the privacy of their homes.
  • Do not annoy your customers by presenting products that are marked ‘sold’ or pages that say ‘under construction’ or ‘coming soon’.
  • Do add new content frequently, so your returning customers will not be bored by seeing the same products they saw four months ago.
  • If your site has got a date tag or has current references, be careful to change these references frequently so you don’t give the perception that nobody is attending or reading your site.

August 6, 2012

Web hosting Services and Domain names


Choosing an appropriate domain name is very important. First and foremost, when it comes to domain names, try to stay away from the silly, stupid, ridiculous or clever. Keep your domain name simple and make it something your customers can remember if they lose the link to your business website.

Take note that, while your domain name on Geocities or AOL may seem like the least expensive way to go, it may also get you dropped from certain search engines. Some search engines ignore domain addresses that reside on these ‘free servers’ or on the ‘cheap’ servers.

Even if your site is recognized and considered by search engines, a professional domain name that uses your primary company name or associated words is likely to get more attention and be considered as a stable business by your prospective customers.

Purchasing domain names are not that expensive which cost about $100 and there are many companies that can register the name for you, provided it is available and has not already been used by another company.

Using one of your keywords in your domain name can increase your score on some search engines. For example, solderingirons.com could be more effective as Electric-soldering-irons.com, if that domain name was available.

You might also choose to establish more than one domain name using keywords and then link your ‘doorway’ domain sites to your primary site. But you will have to pay for each of the domain name and also the monthly hosting fees. It all depends on the type and size of your business and your competition.

Keep in mind that some search engines disregard ‘doorway’ sites. So put at least a page of content on the doorway site with some useful information and then link it to your primary site. But don’t design it as an empty page. The other reason being, you can have one, three, five, or even more email addresses that all contain your business name, and give your business a professional feel. When customers get emails from dominicstone@solderingirons.com they feel as if they are dealing with a stable, professional business operation.

No need for customers to understand how you manage all your email boxes on your domain. They just need to feel your business is dependable and reputable.

July 21, 2012

Web Hosting Companies


With thousands of web hosting companies in the market it can be difficult if not impossible to know which web site hosting companies truly provide an excellent hosting solution at an excellent price. When you have an established domain name with a good web hosting company, you can get reports on your traffic and which of your pages your customers are visiting most often, as well as many other statistics.

Your web host will charge you a fee for monthly service that ranges from $10 or $20 to the more expensive $50.00 per month. Plan to pay between $300 and $500 per year to your web host.

Always avoid free or very inexpensive web hosting services, because you may experience bouts of server downtimes and you are likely to have significant limitations in storage, number of email addresses, FTP upload etc.

Be sure your web host can accommodate e-commerce and storefronts, wireless capability, bogs, forums, chats, online interactive helps and anything else you want to add onto your site.

Estimate what your growth needs are and ensure that this web host can serve you as you grow. The last thing you want to do is change host mid way unless you absolutely have to do so.

Check your bandwidth capability to be sure that, if your website traffic grows rapidly, your customers will not have to wait to download or view information. Three things to look for in a web hosting company are:

1. Excellent Customer Support: Your hosting provider should be there for you 24/7 and give you instant access to the technicians you need to solve your problem. Ask them how long it takes for them to typically respond to your problem. A good test is to call them in the mid night to check if you get to a live, level 3 support.

2. A Sound Infrastructure: Check whether they offer a multi-homed network powered by multiple bandwidth providers to ensure redundancy. Some offer a 100% guarantee on its network availability or network uptime.

3. Financial Stability: If you're running very critical operations, you can't afford to be with a hosting company that may not be in business in a few months.

February 11, 2012

Use Keywords In Page Titles


It is recommended to use keywords in page titles itself. This title tag is different from a Meta tag, but it's worth considering it in relation to them. Whatever text one places in the title tag (between the <title> and </title> portions) will appear in the title bar of browsers when they view the web page. Some browsers also append whatever you put in the title tag by adding their own name, as for example Microsoft's Internet Explorer or OPERA.

The actual text you use in the title tag is one of the most important factors in how a search engine may decide to rank your web page. In addition, all major web crawlers will use the text of your title tag as the text they use for the title of your page in your listings.

If you have designed your website as a series of websites or linked pages and not just a single Home Page, you must bear in mind that each page of your website must be search engine optimized. The title of each page i.e. the keywords you use on that page and the phrases you use in the content will draw traffic to your site.

The unique combination of these words and phrases and content will draw customers using different search engine terms and techniques, so be sure you capture all the keywords and phrases you need for each product, service or information page.

The most common mistake made by small business owners when they first design their website is to place their business name or firm name in every title of every page. Actually most of your prospective customers do not bother to know the name of your firm until after they have looked at your site and decided it is worth book marking.

So, while you want your business name in the title of the home page, it is probably a waste of valuable keywords and space to put it in the title line of every page on your site. Why not consider putting keywords in the title so that your page will display closer to the top of the search engine listing.

Dedicating first three positions for keywords in title avoiding the stop words like ‘and’, ‘at’ and the like is crucial in search engine optimization.

September 7, 2011

Tools to monitor your website


You can’t just put your website on the net with right keywords and all the right touches and expect your traffic and ranking will remain constant. As the web is an ever changing landscape, you have to keep track of your own web results like what is happening with the competition and also the best and highest ranked sites. There are many useful tools to help you find out what exactly is happening.

1. A tool which you can use to test your own website links or other websites for broken links:
http://home.snafu.de/tilman/xenulink.html

2. With this tool you can check search engines for the number of back links to your URL i.e. other web pages linking to your site:
http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/backlinks/

3. It sometimes becomes important to know where the servers of your hosting company are physically located. Because, some search engines like Google have the ability to filter search results based on their physical location called geotargeting. This could be used to determine why your site is showing in only a certain country. This link can also be used to research the country location of a particular competitor’s website:
http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/website-country/

4. In order to track the location of the visitor or a customer to your website:
http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/geovisitors/

5. In order to check the Yahoo! web ranking of your’s or your competitor’s website use :
http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/webrank/

6. Here is a link to check the web ranking of a website using a Mac or Apple computer:
http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/pagerank-mac/

7. You need a Google AdSense account for using this. This link provides you with charts and reports which will help you analyze traffic, clicks, and results from your AdSense advertising
http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/adsense-charts/

8. If you have an AdSense account, you can analyze your website address or another website address to see what Google ads will be displayed when the customer selects certain website names or keywords:
http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/adsense-sandbox/

9. This link will take you to a cooperative advertising network where you can join to display and
share your ads with other website owners:
http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/ad-network/


10. You can add the Search Functionality on your website which uses Google. This works only if your site is listed in the Google Index.
 http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/search/

11. Here are some links to free website counters which you can use on your website to track your traffic and hits:
http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/counter/
http://www.amazingcounters.com/?ref=gad033
http://www.cyber-counter.com/signup.php
http://www.statcounter.com/free_hit_counter.html
http://www.free-counters.net/

June 6, 2011

Tips to Increase Ranking and Website Traffic


It is worth cataloguing the basic principles to be enforced to increase website traffic and search engine rankings.

  • Create a site with valuable content, products or services.
  • Place primary and secondary keywords within the first 25 words in your page content and spread them evenly throughout the document.
  • Research and use the right keywords/phrases to attract your target customers.
  • Use your keywords in the right fields and references within your web page. Like Title, META tags, Headers, etc.
  • Keep your site design simple so that your customers can navigate easily between web pages, find what they want and buy products and services.
  • Submit your web pages i.e. every web page and not just the home page, to the most popular search engines and directory services. Hire someone to do so, if required. Be sure this is a manual submission. Do not engage an automated submission service.
  • Keep track of changes in search engine algorithms and processes and accordingly modify your web pages so your search engine ranking remains high. Use online tools and utilities to keep track of how your website is doing.
  • Monitor your competitors and the top ranked websites to see what they are doing right in the way of design, navigation, content, keywords, etc.
  • Use reports and logs from your web hosting company to see where your traffic is coming from. Analyze your visitor location and their incoming sources whether search engines or links from other sites and the keywords they used to find you.
  • Make your customer visit easy and give them plenty of ways to remember you in the form of newsletters, free reports, reduction coupons etc.
  • Demonstrate your industry and product or service expertise by writing and submitting articles for your website or for article banks so you are perceived as an expert in your field.
  • When selling products online, use simple payment and shipment methods to make your customer’s experience fast and easy.
  • When not sure, hire professionals. Though it may seem costly, but it is a lot less expensive than spending your money on a website which no one visits.
  • Don’t look at your website as a static brochure. Treat it as a dynamic, ever-changing sales tool and location, just like your real store to which your customers with the same seriousness.