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What can I do to make sure people find my website?
- Keyword Research, Keyword Research, and… Oh Yeah! Keyword Research
Making sure people find you on a Google search begins and ends with keyword research. You want your website to use the same words and phrases that your client base is using. I recommend that you go straight to your current clients and ask them “If you were looking for a product or service that was similar to mine, what words and phrases would you use in a Google search?” It’s important to get an outsiders view due to The Curse of Knowledge. What is TCOK? Basically it says that once you know something you no longer remember what it was like to not know it. Think of the last time you asked a techie or a lawyer a question and he went on for 6 minutes even though you were lost after 30 seconds. Every industry has its own set of acronyms and jargon that most outsiders won’t intuitively know. By asking outsiders for their help you can get a large set of keywords and phrases that you can then use in your website.
Tools you can use:
- Placement of Keywords
Now that you’ve done the keyword research you’ll want to integrate those words throughout your website. We’ll talk about how to do keyword research and compare words and phrases against one another in a future post but, for now, we’ll cover the basics.
The most important place for your keywords is in the title tag of your website. Each page should have a unique page title and it should be easily readable by humans. You’ll also want to use the keywords in header tags, bolded text, and throughout your website copy. The words and phrases should appear in multiple places on the page.
Tools you can use:
- Inbound Links
Find ways to get other websites to link to you. I cannot overstate the importance of this step. A major component of Google’s ranking algorithm is the total number of unique websites (including unique IP addresses) that link to you. Think of it this way: Imagine you’re running for mayor of Colorado Springs and you get all of your friends to endorse you and put a sign up in their yard stating their support. This will certainly influence others but unless you know thousands of people your reach will be limited. Now imagine President Obama gives you an endorsement. It doesn’t matter if you support him or not, his endorsement is going to carry a lot of weight and it will give you instant name recognition for many households. Links are the same way – lots of links from relatively small websites will carry some weight but a link or two from a large, influential website can cause you to skyrocket to the top of the rankings. Links from large websites aren’t always needed so have no worries there. It all comes down to the competitiveness of your marketplace and the keyword for which you want to rank.
- Use of Anchor Text in Inbound Links
It’s important to have lots of links to your website but you can also leverage those links to target specific keywords and phrases if you use keyword-specific anchor text to link back to your website. Anchor text is simple the words used to link to another page or website. Click here is a common example of using text as a way to link to page.
The page that receives the link should correspond to the anchor text. Here we’re linking to the official Colorado Springs city website. Google looks at the anchor text and sees that it says “Colorado Springs”. It then looks at the page receiving the link and it sees that it has Colorado Springs in the title tags and used throughout the page. Google says “there is a positive correlation here – the anchor text from this outside website says Colorado Springs and it links to a page that talks about Colorado Springs. Therefore, if someone is looking for information about Colorado Springs then this is probably a good page to which to refer them. If you get enough of these kinds of links you’ll find yourself ranking in the top 10 for specific key phrases.
- Use of Unique Content
Google loves to see unique content on your pages. It tells them that your page is unique on the internet and isn’t just a copy or holding place for other people’s material. If you like to use a lot of material from other people on your site I recommend you stop doing this and start writing your own material. You’re only hurting yourself because Google wants to send its users to the source of all this material – not someone who just copies it. Also, by frequently adding new material, Google will visit your site more often and your site will get indexed with greater speed – which means you’ll start showing up in Google a whole lot sooner.