“Ninety-nine percent of our business comes from the Internet, and it all comes from those Internet searches.” – Bruce Fisher
When Charlie and Suzanne asked me to start writing articles for ETR about search engine marketing, I thought, “That’s great! There’s so much to talk about!” This was immediately followed by, “Oh no! There’s so much to talk about! Where do I start?”
Keywords, that’s where.
In several past issues of ETR, we’ve told you how important it is to do proper keyword research for your website. But once you’ve done your research, what do you do with the keywords you identified? Where do you incorporate them on your website to maximize your chances for top organic search rankings that will result in increased traffic and sales for your business?
Well, today I’m going to give you three of the most important areas of your site to use keywords if you want those coveted rankings.
1. The Title Tag
John Phillips, a leading expert in search engine and Web marketing, told you in ETR #2148 how important a well-written, keyword-dense title tag is, and I couldn’t agree more. Not only is it one of the very first things the search engine “spiders” see, it is also what the search engines grab as the title of your site’s listing in the search engine results page (SERP). Talk about important! If you haven’t yet given your title tags a thorough review, here’s what you should do:
- Visit each page of your website and look at the blue bar at the top of your browser. If the text in the blue bar (such as the name of your company or website) is the same on every page, you’ve got some work to do.
- You want to make sure that each page of your site has unique, keyword-rich text in the title that adequately describes what the page is about. To do this, look at the source code of each page and find this code: <title>Your Title Here</title>. Then write your new keyword-dense title tag between the >< symbols.
2. The URL
I’ve been told by some that this one is too obvious. “Everyone knows you’re supposed to use keywords in the URL,” they say.
Sure, many people know that it’s a good idea to use keywords when picking your domain name – like, say, LasVegasVacations.com. But what about including additional keywords for each article page or product page? I still see plenty of websites using dates or abbreviations instead of keywords in the file extension, and they are missing a big opportunity.
A recent Google search I did for “cute dog collars” turned up a perfect example of how to properly use keywords in the URL. The number two listing in the search engine results had the following URL: collargirl.com/cute_dog_collars.htm. As you can see, the exact keyword phrase I searched for appears in the URL. If you were to visit the page, you’d see that the exact keyword phrase appears in the title of the page as well.
This is exactly what you should be doing with your site.
Another good example comes from our very own ETR website. One of the top 10 keyword phrases that drive traffic to the ETR site is “How to get rid of a cold.” A Google search for this keyword phrase produces an article from ETR in the fifth position of the SERP. Notice, again, that the keyword phrase appears in the URL and in the title of the page.
3. Anchor Text
The use of anchor text is a bit more involved and takes some more work, but is well worth it.
So, what is anchor text? Let’s say you want to link one article to another article on your site that’s about Internet marketing. Search through your article for a keyword or keyword phrase that matches the content of the article you are linking to. You might choose the phrase “increase online sales.” Then, you’d hyperlink that phrase to the relevant article on your site.
I’ve used two anchor text links in this article. See “keyword research” in the third paragraph and “title tag” in the fifth paragraph above. Those keyword phrases are hyperlinked to relevant articles on the ETR site.
Why is this useful?
As the search engine spiders crawl your site, two things they’re looking for are (a) text they can use to determine what your page is about and (b) links they can use to access other pages of your site. Using anchor text links to connect similar pages of content through a particular keyword gives more weight to that keyword and tells the search engines that your site is a valid resource for that search term.
The more valid the search engines think your site is, the more likely it is that your site will turn up in the top of the SERPs.
The mistake that many website owners make is to link their content strictly by using call-to-action links like “click here” or “read more.” While it’s important to use a call to action in your ads and when trying to generate sales or sign-ups, it’s also important to remember that no one ever searches for the latest “click here” product or service.
I’ve made several converts to the world of anchor text here at ETR, including Suzanne Richardson, our Managing Editor, who, until recently, would link articles in ETR to past issues with phrases like “In ETR #1234” or “Last Monday.” Archived article pages are the perfect place to start using anchor text, but you have to use it correctly.
Take your time and think about the anchor text you are using on your site. Odds are, it could be better.
While there are other good places to incorporate keywords on your site, properly and consistently using the three I’ve listed here will really help get you on your way to top rankings.[Ed. Note: Alexis Siemon is ETR’s Search Engine Marketing Specialist. ETR has created a brand-new Info Marketing program that gives you an all-inclusive, A-to-Z blueprint for starting your own powerhouse Internet business – from learning how to pick a product and set up a website to discovering copywriting secrets from the masters, techniques to help you create an e-mail list, the best ways to market your product, and more. We’ve limited the number of spots to 250, and, as of today, we’ve only got a few spots left.]