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  Search

Better content, better visibility

BY Riaan Miles

Simple Rules to choose good keywords for your website to increase search engine rankings.

 

Choosing the right keywords and phrases for your website is an important part of the process of search engine optimization and making your site more visible to search engines and searchers alike. 


Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 20-30 minutes

Here's How:

You will want to think about who is your target audience, and what the primary focus of your website will be. Need help on this one? Ask yourself:
 
What do I want to say?
To who do I want to say it?
How will I say it?

Jot down a list of words and phrases that you think people might type into search engines when looking for your site. Don't worry about being perfect- just be creative. This might be a good time to review how to brainstorm for keywords and phrases.

Each page on your site should have one to three related keyword phrases that are site-specific. For example,say you have a page all about coffee mugs. Good phrases to target on this page would be coffee mugs, ceramic coffee mugs, or unique coffee mugs. See what I mean? They're all related, and they're all pointing at the same general content on the page.

Your keywords should be used throughout your site copy - where they make sense - as well as in your title tag and various meta tags. Don't go nuts and start inserting keywords every other word, because this is considered bad form. 

It takes a while to get the hang of finding the right keywords that work, but once you've mastered this skill, you'll really see how this can benefit your site. 

Tips:
Be creative, but be choosy.
Try not to target keyword phrases that are too competitive.
If there are unusual words associated with your content that you think people might search for, or misspellings, include them sparingly.

What You Need:
Creativity
Persistence

Don’t use distracting content

Don’t distract your visitors with blinking or scrolling text, animated GIFs, or auto-loading sound.

Animation and sounds are distracting. How can anyone concentrate on reading what’s on your site when there are things flying around the page? It’s like trying to read a newspaper when someone’s poking you in the shoulder repeatedly. Also, visitors who have slow connections may resent that you wasted their time by forcing them to load animations and sound files against their will. Conventional wisdom is that people will be drawn to an animated ad, but it’s actually the opposite: Readers who are assaulted by blinking ads are more likely to leave the site immediately without clicking on anything, and are far less likely to bookmark the site, return to it, link to it, and recommend it. The results don’t lie: When I switched the ads on a friend’s site from animated to static, click-through didn’t suffer at all. (That site pulls in nearly $500,000 in yearly advertising revenue, by the way.) I make my living from ads on my sites, and I won’t run animated ads on them. I prefer to give my readers a good experience, rather than an annoying one.

Let’s talk scrolling text. Besides the fact that it’s annoying, there’s another problem: the reader can’t read it at their own pace. They’re forced to read it at whatever speed you deliver it. They might have preferred to read those two sentences quickly and then move on, but because it’s scrolling they’re forced to sit there and wait for the text to slowly appear.

This brings up an important point: Always keep your visitors’ interests in mind. Make sure you try to please them, not yourself. Scrolling text does nothing to serve the visitor. If it’s on a site it’s because the site owner thought, "Let me show how cool I am." Do you see the difference? Don’t design the site for yourself, design it for the people who will actually use it.

Compelling content

Provide compelling content... something of value!

Make sure each page in your website has something valuable to offer.

Though this doesn't really relate to design, it's actually more important than design, which is why it's the very first tip. I know that many people reading this page are trying to find out how to make useless pages look pretty, because they think that style is all that really matters. So let's step back a minute and realize that fundamentally a web page exists to provide something that's useful or interesting to visitors. If your page doesn't have that, then you must fix that problem before you worry about how to present it. If you throw mud at a canvas, then even if it's in a gold frame, it's still just a canvas of mud.

 

  • What are you offering to your visitors?
  • Why is it worth their time to visit your site?
  • Please focus on that before you move on to how it should look.


If your plan is to make money from advertising, then go for a ratio of not less than 75% editorial to 25% advertising. Amazingly, I see some sites that are almost nothing but ads. We know that no one would turn on the TV if it were just commercials, and no programs, or buy a magazine if it were just ads, and no articles. By the same token, a website also has to have more than ads if it's to be successful.

 May 13, 2014
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Riaan Miles

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