STEP 3

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Content

Website Content and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

I will say it one more time. Content is King! In the online world it is all about Information - Information - information and more specifically Content - Content - Content just like in the real world it is all about Location - Location - Location!

Content is the "meat" of your website and writing it is not as straightforward as it might seem. It has to be carefully planned and designed. The reason? Search!

Think of the first time you are going to go live with your site. There are millions of other websites available on the internet. Who will know the location for your website to visit? The answer is just you (or probably just you and some friends). Remember that your site without visitors has no reason of existence! People will eventually start coming to your site after they have searched for specific, related to your content, keywords at search engines like Google, Yahoo or Microsoft. These search engines rank among the top 4 sites in the world! This means that you must keep these search engines happy in finding your site and you immediately will increase the number of your visitors! As we will see in Step 5, there are other ways to increase traffic to your site, but handling search engines is the most critical one. This is part of what is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

How does a search engine work?

You might wonder how search engines work. Search engines are programs which constantly "crawl" the internet using special programs called internet bots or simply bots. Bots fetch, analyze and file information from web servers at many times the speed of a human. They then register the sites at their servers, along with their content and use algorithms to return search results to the visitor who searched for a specific area.

The search engine user is accustomed in searching for information regarding something he needs by using descriptive words called keywords. For example, if I want to learn where to find a Ford dealer in San Francisco, I will not enter "Where can I find a Ford dealer in San Francisco", but instead simply "Ford San Francisco" and the search engine will give me relative results to these 3 keywords I entered. But how come some results appear first, some others second and some appear on the 50th page? How does the ranking occur? Is it random maybe? The answer is NO!

During the first years of the internet, search engines where quite "dumb". They were ranking websites merely based on how many times each keyword was appearing on a page. Guess what! A lot of people were tricking search engines by repeating keywords hundreds of times in a page and disguising it (by using for example white fonts on white background). As you can understand, search results were quite poor and search engines users were quite unhappy with search engines. That is also why internet directories (like Yahoo) were more practical than searches. In the meantime the amount of the information distributed all over the internet was growing exponentially. Then Google came along. Google was the first company in the search engine business which was returning highly satisfactory results. Google implemented a proprietary, patented, algorithm (work performed at Stanford University) giving each site and page a particular Pagerank as they call it.

As Google describes it: "PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important" ".

In other words a PageRank results from a "ballot" among all the other pages on the World Wide Web about how important a page is. A hyperlink to a page counts as a vote of support. The PageRank of a page is defined recursively and depends on the number and PageRank metric of all pages that link to it ("incoming links"). A page that is linked to by many pages with high PageRank receives a high rank itself. If there are no links to a web page there is no support for that page. We will tackle the links subject at a later step (Step 5) but links without relative content won't do you jack! Content is always King!

Keywords

All search results are based on the keywords a user enters to the search engine. That is why it is important, before you start creating content, to do a bit of research regarding keywords. There are a lot of free tools out there which will help you in your keyword research. The ones I recommend are:

What these tools offer you, is that they help you in finding new relative keyword ideas and giving you a feel of how "popular" the keywords are based on how often search engine users have used them.

Note down the keywords related to your site which are popular. These are the keywords you will always have in mind when creating your content. These keywords will also going to define the type of traffic which will be directed to your site.

Let's say that you are building a site about cooking and one of your sub-menu items you have come up with is "Shrimp recipes". By placing "Shrimp recipes" in the Google keyword tool, you will get the following results:

Shrimp recipes keywords

After sorting the results based on the approx avg search volume, you immediately see which keywords are popular. It is best to combine all three columns (average search volume, last month's search volume as well as advertising interest which relates as to how "hot" each keyword is in being used for the advertising services of Google. You want this last number low, because a high number means a highly competitive keyword which is probably being used frequently. Therefore you want high search volumes and low advertisement interest). This will direct you which keywords to note down. Repeat the same process for your next thematic category. At the end you will have a big list full of keywords.

After you complete your keywords list, it is time to divide your keywords into groups based on the structure you have come up with in the previous section of this step. Remember to also aim at putting your important keywords in your page titles as well as at your page headings, two things that search engines look for in higher priority than text placed in plain paragraphs.

You are now ready to start producing your content!

The CTTS approach

Before ending Step 3, I would like to introduce you to my CTTS approach, which I will revisit at Step 5 as well.

Content  right arrow  Traffic  right arrow  Trust  right arrow  Sale

The content you create will help you in producing the desired Traffic for your site, gain the Trust from your visitors so that they will revisit your site and eventually lead to a Sale. "Sale" can be anything, from "selling" an idea, a product, a service and in general achieving your site goals and mission.

We thus conclude Step 3 and you are now ready to start uploading your website files to our Web hosting provider!

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RELEVANT LINKS

Seo Web Design Services - A complete free guide to all aspects of search engine optimization.