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Writing for People and for Search Engines by: Jennifer Ryan

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So you've decided to get a website that's optimized for search engines. You're no dummy. You want your website to show up any time a search is conducted in your area of expertise. Who can blame you? But wait. Be prepared for twists and turns ahead.

The Bible says, "My people perish from lack of knowledge." This is also true in the technical world of search engine marketing. Your lack of understanding of how search engines find websites can be detrimental to your success. In effect, you could lose your website investment, and lose again by not being at the top of the engines later. If your website is built and written correctly, you will experience a positive return on your website investment that pays dividends for years to come.

Before you start correcting the website content created for you by The Marketing Shop, or any webmaster experienced in SEO, make sure you have a firm grasp of search engine optimization. If you have a question about something that looks peculiar, ask your designer before you spend too much time fretting. Chances are--if it's on your website--it's there for a purpose.

Writing a website is a delicate balance between pleasing people and computers. Strike the right balance and you'll find your website at the top of the search engines, converting your website traffic into loyal clients. Miss the mark and your site will be in no man's land without a word to say.

Here's a few things to know about search engine optimization before reading your website content for the first time:

Keywords are Paramount. If your website does not have the keyword content that people are using for search, it will not show up in search results, period. This is not quantum physics. Computers are machines. They can only pick up text. It's crucial that we analyze what people are typing into the search engines and build your website content accordingly.

Keyword Research is Necessary. The Marketing Shop performs extensive keyword research for all our web marketing clients. We want to know exactly what people are typing in what into the search engines to find products and services like yours. Based upon our expertise in search engine optimization, we determine the best keywords and phrases to optimize on your site. We have many different calculations that we use to determine which keywords to optimize for and rest assured we've done our homework on the best keywords for the current development phase of your website.

Headings Must Be Search Engine Optimized. The headings of your website impact your website search engine optimization. It is important that they read in a precise way in order for you to "score points" with the search engines and rank higher in search results. There are at least three levels of headings (h1, h2 and h3). If you're keywords aren't here, your page won't be optimized.

We try to maintain a balance by writing headings that are search engine optimized, and compelling for the reader. A headline sets up the structure of the page and entices people to read further. We try to do both wherever possible.

Your Page Layout Must Be Search Engine Optimized. Everything about your website must be optimized for search or you may loose valuable opportunities to gain new customers. Our websites have generally the same layout because our research has shown the layout to be most effective for SEO. While there are probably many better ways to layout your website, we prefer the way that the search engines prefer in effort to attract website traffic.

Your Navigation Will Make or Break Your Search Rankings. The navigation on your website is integral to your website for a variety of reasons. First, it contains links that help the search engine spiders get to where they need to go on your site. Second, it contains keywords that help your website get indexed for search queries.

We strive to create intuitive and easy to use navigation systems that are search engine optimized. Much thought goes into the creation of your navigation. Though it may see strange, your navigation is built for search engines and people. Whenever possible, we will add keywords and key phrases to each and every link of your navigation. Here's some bizarre things you may encounter on your SEO navigation:

Repetition Keywords: It's important to put keywords everywhere, including the navigation system. Not only do the keywords score points for being there, but the link itself scores double points for linking to the page it's linking to.

Re-Phrasing of Terminology: Sometimes we will need to breakdown the way you phrase something in order to make it match with what people are searching for in the search engines. If our research shows that people are not searching for a given term, we will change it to suit the search queries of the customers you want to win.
Localization is A Sticky Situation. Many of The Marketing Shop website clients are those seeking web marketing in a local vicinity. We do our best to bring you customers only from the area you request. However, there are times when our keyword research concludes that people are just not searching for your local area and we have to optimize more broadly. If this is the case, rest assured that targeting the broader area will still render results in your local area due to our expertise in local web marketing.

Each Page is Only Optimized for One or Two Phrases. The most successful web pages for search engines are optimized for only one or two keyword phrases. That means the title is about one thing and the page contains the same keywords sprinkled throughout with plenty of links reflecting the same keywords too.

Images are Invisible to Search Engines. If you were expecting a website to be a lead-generator that has more visual appeal and aesthetic stimulation, please reconsider. Images are invisible to search engines. Studies also show that people want information when they come on the web as opposed to a colorful "website brochure."

Content is King. Content is king for a variety of reasons including for search engine optimization, for website conversion enhancement and for inclusion into Google.

Search Engines: Search engines can read only text. It makes sense to keep fresh, relevant content on your site for search engine crawlers.

Website Conversion Enhancement: People are on the web to get information, not to read brochures. The more information you provide for them, the "stickier" your website becomes and the more people will bookmark your site and rely on it for pertinent information. (See article on web content.)

Also, people who get free and valuable information from your website are more likely to rely and depend upon you when they're ready to purchase goods and services. It's a "give before you get" mentality that really works. Offer information and your website visitors will reward you with loyalty.

Another way good web content affects your website's conversion capabilities is by showing your clients how you operate. Your web content is very telling as to the goods and services you provide. If you skimp on your content and your competitor does not, your competitor will win the business. Your prospects may wonder why you're not offering adequate information. Do you not know what you're doing? Do you have something to hide? Will you skimp later? It's best to just ante up the info immediately.

Google has strict requirements for it's top search result contenders, including inclusion in the DMOZ. The DMOZ is a human edited directory that requires unique and informative content as a barrier to entry. We're in the Information Age, time to step it up and provide useful information.
The World is Changing and Your Customer is Well Informed. Why bother creating websites that are valuable to our website visitors? Because your customer is different today than ever before. Information is readily available to everyone. The person who gives out information most efficiently is the one people will rely on to do business with in the future. Customers are well informed, savvy and able to get information at the click of a mouse. We need to step out of the box and cater to the new consumer.

SEO Sites Can be Tacky. There are websites out there that try to capitalize on knowledge of search engine optimization by adding keywords flagrantly and abusing the system. The Marketing Shop will never do that as we rely only on ethical search engine optimization techniques. We care more about people than we do about search engine rankings. The only time we'll put machines over people is when it's very important to the overall SEO success of your website. Other times, we try to appeal human visitors most of all.

Conclusion
Before you get started, make sure you understand what it takes to get to the top of the search engines. Good foundational knowledge in SEO will help your site be more successful, and save your web designer and SEO professional a ton of headaches in trying to get you to understand what's what. Please understand that The Marketing Shop will do nothing to your website without having a good reason for doing so. Please ask questions before you get frustrated.

About the author:
Jennifer Ryan of The Marketing Shop is a web promotions and sales expert. Having earned numerous awards, recognition and financial success in sales, Jennifer now sells Dallas web design online for businesses worldwide. Visit http://www.the-marketing-shop.com today to sign up for her monthly newsletter (generous with free tips and advice!).

 
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