Archive for June, 2008


Meta Tag and Keyword Recommendations

by Suzi Beaumont,  BeauCreations Web Design – revised 5/10

There is plenty of discussion on this topic, but I thought I’d share a very simple set of recommendations that seems to work for my clients.  This is just the basics.

Meta tags are part of the code that belongs in the “head” section of the HTML documents that comprise your web site.  Their function is to identify the file (and the web site) to the browser and the search engines.  The user at their computer doesn’t see them (except the title tag), but the search engines do.

Normally, you’d have to know something about HTML and modifying web files to insert meta tags, but many web sites and web hosts are making this easy for you, allowing you to do it with a web-based user interface.  I’m not going to go into the nuts and bolts of HTML here – I’m confining my discussion  to what to put in the tags.

KEYWORDS: You’ve probably heard that search engines have reduced the use of the keyword tag due to fraud. And it’s true.  But don’t get confused: Keywords themselves are important! You should identify your keywords on a page by page basis, then use them throughout the text in your pages.

But what about the keyword meta tag? Well, I wouldn’t spend much time on it! Despite strong evidence that search engines practically ignore it, most SEO experts still use it –  just in case. I put my best keywords first and make sure they are used in the copy of the page I’m working on. I use no more than 200 characters.  Keywords are not case sensitive but they are sensitive to singular v plural.

Here are some keywords currently used on my web site:

Atlanta websites
Suzi Beaumont
Marietta web design
website designer
internet marketing
Web page design
affordable websites
creative web sites
Atlanta Georgia

TITLE: This is currently THE most important tag from the standpoint of search engine optimization.  It is used to display the page title that appears in the top-most bar in the browser. As such, it often starts with a word or phrase that describes each particular page (IE About US). Since the title tag is used by search engines to index your web site, it should contain your most important keywords (probably not more than six).

Here is the title text for my About Us page.

About Us | BeauCreations Web Design | Custom Websites | Marietta Georgia

In fact, some people actually omit the  title of the page or the website to put more keywords in this tag. So, it might look like this:

Marietta Web Design |  Custom Websites | Affordable Web Services | Atlanta Georgia

DESCRIPTION: This will be used by search engines to describe your web site to users doing a search, and also to test relevance (IE Is your site’s content really about what you say it’s about). It should be loaded with keywords / phrases (shown here in red, bold), but also succinct and free of “hype”.

BeauCreations Web Design is a Marietta Georgia based web design company specializing in creative, affordable custom websites for small businesses and organizations.

If you do only one thing to optimize your website, makE sure the meta tags are done correctly!  This alone can make a noticeable difference in your search engine rankings!

Embed a Blog in a Website

Note: Since writing this post I’ve found a second online service for embedding blogs: http://www.webrss.com/. Like RSS feed, this service allows free or paid accounts, depending on the features you need.

I found a great tool for converting the RSS feed on a blog into HTML so that it’s visible in a web site.   While it’s somewhat complicated to actually integrate a blog into an existing web site, this method simply puts the latest couple of posts wherever you’d like them to appear.  Then you can link to your blog from there.

The really cool part is that it can be done with PHP.  Since PHP interacts with the browser to output HTML, the search engines see the text from your blog!  This is better than the alternative, (JavaScript), which does its work on the client side, after the page has “arrived”. In this latter case, the search engines only see the JavaScript, not the blog text;  so of course they don’t interpret it as new or relevant content.

Oh, BTW, here’s the free tool from RSS-Info.com:  http://www.rssinclude.com/

And here’s what you need:
– Enough HTML knowledge to insert code and upload a page
– A web host that runs PHP
– A web page that runs PHP, or the knowledge to use a Server Side Include.    You may be able to just change the page name from .html to .php
– Your RSS feed URL.  Easiest way to get that is to subscribe to your own RSS feed, then click the link in your RSS favorites, and go there.

Tips for Increasing Traffic to Your Web Site

Today I was advising a client on some relatively painless ways to generate more traffic to his web site.  This list isn’t comprehensive, of course, but it may be helpful, (if only to remind you of things you already know! )

My client is a small business owner in the adventure travel industry.  While he does sell trips on his web site,  the primary “call to action” for a web user would be to email or call about a trip.  Relationship building is important here;  These trips aren’t for everyone, but those do end up going usually love it.  If you’ve ever been sea kayaking in Alaska, you know what I mean.  Many of his clients become repeats — again and again and again. 

My goals for the web site: 

  • Improve search engine rankings on pertinent keywords
  • Freshen up the content, and create a means to update more often
  • Add more free, useful information to the web site

 Here’s what we talked about

1.  Review / replace meta tags (keywords, descriptions, page titles).   This is crucial if it hasn’t been done before, or has been done poorly.

2.  Add a Blog.  This is a commitment to write something regularly on topics that may interest your users – that’s why it’s intimidating!  But if you do the writing, it creates new content on your site, which is great for search engines  — and people!  An added benefit is that, with most blogs, users will be able to subscribe to the RSS feed and be notified (sort of) each time you post new material — great especially if your fans are hanging on your every word!
 
3.  Do a Link “Campaign”:  First, see who links to your site.  Go to a Yahoo! search box and key in this:  link:www.beaucreations.biz  (replace my URL with yours).  You’ll see a list of most of the web sites that link to yours.  Hopefully some of them will look familiar, as they’ll be friends, business associates, etc. 

It’s no secret that inbound links generate traffic and help your search engine rankings.  BUT they should be quality links.  That means they should ideally be pertinent links from reputable sources.  Consider putting a  Links page on your web site, so you can refer people to vendors, recommend  services, etc.  Then you can promote link exchanges to your contacts in related (but not competitive) businesses as a way to increase traffic for both of you.

4.  Create an Article Archive.  Do you teach, write articles, or otherwise share your expertise?  Why not share them on your website?  Find every pertinent article, guideline, checklist, recipe, etc. you’ve ever written, and put them on your website. THEN you can mention these things in your blog and newsletter entries (you DO have a newsletter, don’t you!?), and  link to the articles.  You bring traffic to the web site, and your web site is more informative (free information – everybody loves that!). 

5.  Consider Google AdWords.   This is pay per click advertising.  While the actual workings are complicated, Google (and others) make it as simple as possible for you to get started.  You create an account, set a monthly ad budget, and Google commits not to exceed it.  You choose your keywords, write a small ad, and off you go.  You can tell Google to target only local business if you like.

For example, I spend $140 / month and I  get around 3 calls / month, which amounts to around 1 new client each 2-3 months, which is about all I need right now — I’m pretty good at keeping clients once I get them!  This is the only advertising I spend money on.  I can track how each keyword is doing, and how many times someone clicks on my ad, but it’s not as easy to see whether there’s a connection between clicking (which you pay for, that’s why it’s called pay per click) and conversion (actually making a contact or purchase).  There are ways to track these things, but it’s a bit more in depth – not in the “QuickStart”  menu!
 
These are just a few possibilities, which I hope are helpful.  You can spend as much or as little time on these things as you like.  Remember, a great web site has informative content, not just widgets for sale!

oh boy oh boy oh boy!

My first blog post.  Time to stop procrastinating, waiting for perfection, and get on with it.