By Michelle Harrington, Emagine Web Marketing
This month’s column is brought to you by Michelle Harrington of Emagine Web Marketing, an associate of Fujita & Miura Public Relations. She has been providing website design, development and internet marketing services since 2001.

With over 8.5 billion web pages on the internet and growing by 250,000 new pages per day, you may be wondering how your website will be found by potential customers in this sea of information. No matter how you plan to publicize or market your website offline, it is likely that you will need to rely on search engine traffic to help drive targeted customers to your web site. Search engine optimization (SEO) is necessary to ensure that your site can be found.

Search Engine Optimization is the process of making your website as visible as it can be to the search engines and ultimately to your customers. A website created without SEO is like opening a new business but not telling anyone about it – and just hoping customers will eventually find it.

Businesses launched in this manner often fail and so will a website that doesn’t employ at least some basic SEO strategies. SEO is a combination of strategies (a few of them are listed below) that when implemented together enable a website to rank well for its targeted keywords in the search engines.

  1. Define your target audience. Take the time to think like your customer.  What does your customer want? What are they afraid of? What is important to them? What challenges or issues have they encountered before when purchasing this type of product/service? When you write the copy for your web site be sure to show your understanding of what your client wants and needs and show how your product/service can be the answer to their search.
  2. Do keyword research. Anticipate and brainstorm the keywords your customer will be using when searching for your products/services. Use a keyword tool like Google AdWords Keyword Tool to identify other related terms you may have not considered and collect real usage data on your keyword phrases. The keywords and phrases that you identify should be relevant to the products/services you provide. Once you’ve determined a comprehensive list of possible keywords and have arranged them by most searched to least, then you can use this information to optimize your website.
  3. Write unique title & description tags for every page of your site. Every page of your site is different so every page of your site should have a unique and descriptive title and description tag, found in the Head section of the HTML code of every page of your website. Title and description tags are also great places to selectively incorporate your targeted keyword phrases. Search engines use website title and description tags to feature your website link in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Make sure your title and description tags accurately convey what is found on the page and are compelling to your potential customers.
  4. It’s not all about you. When writing your website copy, speak to what your customers need and want by using customer-focused keyword-rich copy.  Find ways to create memorable and unique copy that makes an emotional connection with your potential customers. And don’t forget to incorporate your targeted keywords naturally into your copy and headlines.
  5. Build links to your website. Inbound links to your website are considered by the search engines to be “votes” for your website. If you feature well-written, valuable content on your website finding link partners will be easy. Always choose quality links from directories and relevant partner/ally websites and stay away from link farms and linking schemes, which can do more harm than help.

For more information on search engine optimization, contact Michelle Harrington at (808) 823-8051 or visit www.EmagineWebMarketing.com.

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