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Search Engine Optimization and Website Design

Author: Susan Tatum

Want to know a great way to waste money when creating a new website or updating an old one? Ignore search engine optimization (SEO). At best, you’ll ensure that no one can find your website. At worst, you may find yourself plunging in the search engine rankings.

Why should you care about SEO?

High search engine ranking – especially on Google - is critical for B2B marketers these days because your best prospects are actively looking for you and that’s how most of them will find you.

For those of you who like statistics there are multiple studies supporting the importance of organic search. All point to the same findings: over 80% of business-to-business purchases involve online research and most involve a search engine. Far more searchers click on organic listings than click on paid listings. (A study conducted by metaseach engine Dogpile found that 84.2% of clicks were on organic listings).

If you’re building a brand new website, you want to take search engine optimization issues into consideration from the get-go. Otherwise you run the risk of having to do everything all over again once you come to your senses and realize how important search really is.

If you’re making over an existing site, proceed with caution – especially if your current site has some decent rankings. Horror stories abound about website owners who “update” their sites only to see their rankings crash.

What factors should you be concerned with?

There are three key elements of successful search engine optimization: keyword selection, on-site factors and off-site factors (generally other sites linking to your site).

Start with the right keywords.

Good keyword selection means identifying the words and phrases your prospects use to find a product or service like yours. Note the emphasis on “words and phrases your prospects use”. This does not mean words you use to describe your products – a mistake many B2B marketers make.

It also means finding the right balance between search volume and competition. You want to optimize for keywords that are searched for with some frequency yet have little enough or unsophisticated enough competition that you stand a decent chance of achieving – and maintaining - a good ranking before the next millennium.

Even if you already have a site that is optimized for a good set of keywords, a website development project is still a good time to revisit your keyword list. Prospects, markets, and search terms constantly change over time, and you want to stay on top of what is currently being used.

On-site optimization.

The on-site optimization factors include both content and site structure. This intent of this article is not to tell you how to optimize your site, but merely to convince you of the importance of doing it as part of a website development project.

Briefly, once you have your keywords selected, you’ll want to use them carefully in your content. This includes text, page titles, meta tags, images, and now even flash animation.

In days gone by, overloading a page with keywords was an effective SEO strategy. This can work against you now. It is far better to create content that makes sense to your human visitors than to create content simply for the search engines.

Other aspects of on-site optimization to take into consideration are your site structure and the ease of which both humans and search engines can find sense in the organization, the use of text links on your pages, file and URL names, and a seemingly endless list of other fine points.

If this article has given you the impression that you need expert SEO assistance when you develop or re-develop your website, you’re right! It would be a mistake to ignore such a critical element of online marketing success; and by paying attention to the factors mentioned in this article, you’ll be well ahead of most of your competitors.

Way too many websites are created or modified without a thought given to search engine optimization. It’s an unfortunately easy way to waste money on websites that don’t perform well. Another way to look at it, of course, is that all those websites being developed without SEO consideration just make it easier for you to succeed.

2008 Tatum Marketing Inc.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/marketing-tips-articles/

About the Author

Susan Pascal Tatum, co-founder and president of Tatum Marketing, is a recognized expert in business-to-business internet marketing. She has been helping software, information technology and other BtoB firms achieve greater online marketing results for more than two decades. She is a popular author and speaker, and regularly publishes internet marketing strategies and actionable tips on her Tatum Marketing blog. Visit Tatum Marketing online for a complementary copy of their latest report, Technology Marketing 2008.

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