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The Birth of a Professional Web Site Part Six Search Engine Preparation

By Shelley Lowery
Posted Friday, October 1, 2004

An important part of developing a successful web site is attracting a steady stream of targeted traffic.

A significant amount of web site traffic originates from the major Search Engines. A Search Engine is a web site that indexes web pages. These sites run software programs called "Spiders" or "Robots" that continuously crawl the Internet in search of new web pages to index.

When you visit a Search Engine and you're looking for something in particular, you type in a few words that best describe what you're looking for. These words are known as keywords. The Search Engine will return a list of web sites that are most relevant to your keywords.

When a Search Engine indexes a web page, it scans the page in search of specific keywords. The pages that rank high when a search is returned are the pages that are most relevant to the search query.

If your page doesn't rank in the top 10 or 20 results when doing a keyword search at the Search Engines, your target audience won't be able to find you.

When designing your web pages, you must specifically optimize each page of your web site. Each page should target one specific subject and be optimized with keywords that best describe the subject.

When designing your web pages, you must specifically optimize each page of your web site. Each page should target one specific subject and be optimized with keywords that best describe the subject.

Optimizing your web pages will include all of the following:

* Selecting the most relevant keywords for each page
* Placing the META keyword and description tags within the head section of each page
* Using your primary keywords as your page title
* Placing keywords within your image ALT tags
* Placing your primary keywords within heading tags
* Using your primary keywords as image names
* Using your primary keywords as page names for hyperlinks
* Using keywords within your body text

Keywords/Keyword Phrases

A keyword is a word that best describes your web page. For example, if your web page is focusing on dogs, your best keyword will be "dogs."

A keyword phrase is two or more words that best describe your web page. If your web page is focusing on grooming a dog, your best keyword phrase will be "dog grooming."

When optimizing your web pages, you should concentrate on just a few keyword phrases for each page. These keyword phrases should directly relate to your subject. Avoid using general one-word keywords, as you definitely won't rank high in the Search Engines.

When you begin optimizing your web pages, each page should be optimized for a different primary keyword phrase. For example, if you're selling dog grooming products, your main page would of course be optimized for dog grooming products. However, you might have another page that targets dog grooming tables. And, another that targets dog grooming kit. And, another that targets dog grooming scissors. See how that works? A highly targeted keyword phrase will attract highly targeted traffic.

The key to ranking high in the Search Engines and driving highly targeted traffic to your site is to select highly targeted, product specific keyword phrases that are less competitive and less generalized. You don't want to target every little possible keyword; you want to focus on your primary keyword phrases for each page.

Your first step towards optimizing your web pages will be to download a great little tool called Good Keywords (http://www.goodkeywords.com). This is a free software program that will enable you to type in a specific keyword and it will return a list of keyword phrases.

As the competition for highly popular keywords is fierce, you will significantly increase your chances of receiving a high ranking in the Search Engines by targeting the less popular keyword phrases. And in turn, significantly increase your traffic.

For example, if your web page focuses on grooming a dog, you would type the general keywords "dog grooming" into the Good Keywords search box. The search would return a variety of more targeted keyword phrases. The keyword phrases that should be selected are those that are a little less popular, yet much more targeted.

Selecting the right keyword phrases is the first step towards ranking high in the Search Engines.

(Continued in part seven)

Copyright © Shelley Lowery 2003.

About the Author:
Shelley Lowery is the author of the highly acclaimed ebook series, Web Design Mastery -- An eight volume (500+ pages) in-depth guide to professional web design. Web Design Mastery is being hailed as the "Bible" for professional web design. (http://www.webdesignmastery.com)