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Web News & Tips - Issue #225

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Web Site Optimization: Content is King

Web News

A Step by Step Guide to Getting Started on the Web

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Web Site Optimization: Content is King

If you're building a new Web site or completely redesigning an existing one, it's important to strike a balance between creating persuasive content and adhering to the principles of Web site optimization and strategically placed keywords and phrases. Here are some basic guidelines to follow:

1. Use text.
Web sites have sure come a long way since the Internet was born back in the early 1990s. What used to be straight text has been enhanced by images, Flash animations and other graphically-pleasing additions. Unfortunately, the search engines are still behind the times in this respect -- they still can't reach beyond the world of text. In simple terms, if it's not text, they can't read it. This doesn't mean that you should drop all the images from your Web site, but keep in mind that as far as the search engines are concerned, images, Flash animation and sounds do not exist. 

2. Keep your Web site content up-to-date and fresh.
Check all your links and make sure the sites they point to are still there. Are your prices current? Are you products and/or services updated regularly? Keeping your content current will ensure that your site is optimally positioned for the most relevant search terms. And, remember to update your content now and then to keep search engine spiders returning to your site. 

3. Create a keyword phrase strategy BEFORE writing any text.
Don’t write any copy until a keyword phrase strategy is established. Make a list of keywords that are essential to the ranking of your site and remember to refer back to this list when creating your copy. The only daunting task here is to make sure your copy flows and isn’t too repetitive with keywords.

4. Keyword frequency.

Keyword frequency is the number of times keywords occur in the text on a given page. Search engines want to see more than one repetition of a keyword in your text to make sure it's not an isolated case. In order to achieve keyword frequency, you’ll need to identify the most popular keywords and include them in your text as often as possible without sounding repetitive. A good rule of thumb is for each keyword to appear at least 5 to 7 times in the page.

5. Keyword density.

Keyword density measures the relationship of keywords to other text. You’ll want a higher percentage of keywords in relationship to other text on a given page. To achieve keyword density, consider two to three important keywords and key phrases per page and scatter them throughout, focusing on the beginning of the page (as mentioned earlier).

6. Effective navigation.

Include useful hyperlinks throughout your text – to both internal and external pages. The more keywords you can include as part of the link text, the better. Just remember that when you are using external links, you’ll want to periodically click on the link to make sure it is still valid. Also, add user-friendly navigation links so customers can maneuver your site. This will also help in attaining top ranking.

7. Formatting of header tags.

All Web pages include a header tag, which describes the content of that particular page. These header tags are important as almost every search engine spider checks for them while crawling. Make it a point to have at least one header tag per page of your entire Web site. These headers should not only describe the page, but also incorporate your most important keywords. For directions on incorporating header tags, consult the Help document of your web publishing software program. It will include valuable information to get you started. 

Hopefully, this article has illustrated the valuable role content plays in achieving top search engine positioning and high ranking. In order to attain high ranking on the search engines, you'll need to do more than just add meta tags and get some links to point to your site. By designing and constructing your site correctly, you're building a solid foundation on which you can apply various optimization techniques in the future.

Changing an existing site structure to one that works better with the search engines can be a daunting task. However, if you're planning to make improvements, it's better to adhere to these optimization guidelines early on in the process, before your site gets too big and complex. Good luck!

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Web News

College may be fun and games to students, as the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 65 percent are regular or occasional game players, and all had played a video, computer or online game at one time or another. 

The survey, conducted among 1,162 students at 27 colleges and universities, revealed behavioral insight into college-age gamers, particularly regarding social interaction and study habits. Six-in- ten respondents indicated that they played games while their friends were unavailable; 48 percent reported that gaming kept them from some or a lot of studying; and 9 percent admitted that gaming allowed them to avoid studying altogether. 

Internet users that have a connection with a particular site are more likely to transfer those feelings toward the site's advertisers, according to research from the Online Publishers Association, that found site affinity to be a greater driver of key brand metrics than frequency of ad exposure. In addition, the data concluded that in most cases, a high frequency of exposure against a high affinity visitor was the best combination for advertising effectiveness. 

"This research proves that the sites on which advertising appears significantly impact how that advertising performs," said Michael Zimbalist, executive director of the Online Publishers Association. "The existence of a media 'halo effect' has been presumed by advertisers in traditional media for decades. This research shows that the media halo effect works with online advertising, as well, and that advertisers who target sites that attract loyal, high affinity audiences will, indeed, see superior results." 

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