Optimizing a new website for SEO

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How to Prepare Website Content for Google

Many of my clients ask me for a little guidance on writing content, preparing website content, and optimizing their site for Google and other search engines. So, I put together a little bit of guidance for them and you…

5 Rules for Preparing Website Content

  1. Determine what laymen terms your ideal clients might use to find you if they were searching for you, your products, or your services online. These laymen terms, we are going to call, “key words” or “keyword phrases”.
    • For example, in our case, we are an online marketing agency. However, my clients would never think of using those key words to find us in a Google search.
    • Putting myself in the mindset of my client, if I were looking to build a new website then I would be looking for a “website builder” or “website programmer” or “web site developer” or “web site designer”.
    • It doesn’t really matter what I prefer to call myself. What matters is what words or phrases my clients would use to find somebody like me.
    • So, when you develop your list of key words and keyword phrases, it helps to pick up the phone, call one of your favorite clients and ask them, “if you were looking for my products or services, what words would you Google to find me?” Then, start writing furiously as they think out loud.
  2. Prepare a table of contents (TOC), like what you would expect to see in the beginning of a textbook, which structures the information and message that you want to deliver, in a way that is logical and easy to understand. In the case of this particular website, www.artistscafe.com, the table of contents is:
    1. Home
    2. About
    3. Websites
    4. Marketing
    5. Blog
    6. Contact
  3. Use your keyword phrases define in Step 1 within your table of contents.
    • The table of contents will ultimately be the names of the links or the pages that your website visitors will click on to get information.
    • If you want your site to be intuitive and if you want to get caught up in Google searches, it is critically important that the links to your pages reveal the information that lies on the other side of the links.
    • So, when you create that table of contents (TOC), make sure they both use your keyword phrases and reveal what information people would expect to find if they were to click on that link. If you look at the bottom footer section of www.artistscafe.com, you will see a more expanded and elaborate version of my high level table of contents, which reveals a bit more about what you expect to see if you were to click on the link:
      • Home
      • Website Designer
      • Web Design Options
      • Online Marketing Agency
      • Online Marketing Blog
      • Contact Web Designer
    • I recently met with a guy who rents out photography equipment for professional, commercial photographers. He has a couple trucks, which are fully loaded with commercial camera and lighting gear.
      • Currently, his high level site structure is as follows:
        • truck 1
        • truck 2
        • assistants
        • booking
        • billing
      • The links do not accurately reveal to me what I would expect to find if I were to click on that link. Worse, his company name is a meaningless acronym and at first glance of his site, I can’t figure out what he does. In my opinion, I should be able to figure out within 3 seconds or less what this site is about, am I at the right place, does this site have what I’m looking for, and where should I go or what should I do next. He should have a name with meaning and a tag line that says in 5 words of less what he does and who he serves. From a high level perspective, I would prefer his table of contents be more along the lines of:
        • Solutions
        • Resources
        • Booking
        • Contact
      • Or, if I really wanted this to be intuitive AND get caught up in Google, then I would rename the high level Table of Contents:
        • Commercial Photography Equipment Solutions
        • Commercial Photography Resources
        • Reserve Commercial Photography Equipment
        • Contact Commercial Photographer’s Supplier
      • Of course, the only problem with this is that it doesn’t look nearly as elegant as:
        • Solutions
        • Resources
        • Booking
        • Contact
      • So, at some point, you need to decide what is more important; design or content, design or functionality, design or traffic.
  4. Name each page of your website in a way that uses the most important and general keyword phrase for that entire page. The name that you choose for each page of the website is one of the most important pieces of information that Google looks at. At a glance, Google wants to see what this page is about, whether it’s worth indexing or not, and whether Google’s website visitors might be interested in the content on this particular page. At the code level, your page name should be placed within the <title> tag and the <h1> header tag.
  5. After you fill in the details and the information for every section within your table of contents, be sure to use the proper tags, which search engines like Google and Yahoo pay attention to, i.e.,
  • Page title should be within both a TITLE tag as well as the H1 HEADER tag
  • Prepare your pages like an executive level PowerPoint brief using bulleted lists
  • If something is important, emphasize it using either the bold (STRONG) or EM tag
  • User hyper links to point visitors to important or relevant pages*

Paranoia will Destroy Ya

* Don’t be so selfish or defensive or afraid to create links, which point outside of your website. Don’t worry about the stickiness factor. I say this for the following reasons:

  • The Internet exists and has value because of hyper links (inbound and outbound)
  • You provide a valuable service and information by referring people to outside resources
  • You obtain better credibility and authority by referring people to other sites
  • You can always direct the link to open up in a new tab, window, or browser so that when they are done with that site and close that window, yours remains open, then end up back at your site in the end
  • The most successful networking relationships, and I’m talking about schmoozing, working the room, and personal networking, is when you offer information, guidance, value, and assistance to people without expectations in return. Linking out follows this altruistic strategy
  • What goes around comes around. This is karma. If you want people to point to you, to link to you, to create inbound links into your site then guess what … you have to do the same to others and for others.
  • The Golden rule. Do unto others what you would expect them to do unto you. But when you do, be positive, be optimistic, be generous, think of the best situation, assume the best of people.
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