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Avoiding The Most Costly SEO Pitfall

Aug 23, 2008
Deciding on which keywords to optimise your site for is the single most important aspect of any search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. If this part of the strategy is well thought out and given the proper attention, then you will give yourself a very strong foundation to build the rest of your optimisation techniques upon.

With this in mind, the opposite can be said for websites that make mistakes at this point. If you decide to dive straight into competitive keyword selection then there is a very good chance of your site drowning in the oblivion of search engine results. Effective keyword choice when optimising your website requires a fine balance of research and modesty.

1. Chose Specific Keywords When You Are Starting

If there are particular items or product ranges that your company sells then ensure that your keyword selection reflects this. Choosing general/non-specific keywords results in higher levels of competition. If your website sells golf clubs then optimize your pages to match what kind of golf clubs you are offering. Do they have graphite shafts? Do you sell a left-handed selection? What kind of brand are they? The more specific your optimisation techniques are; the greater chance that you will have success within search engine rankings. Also, when someone finds your site on a specific search phrase, then there is a greater chance that they will convert.

2. Start On Your Front Door Before Plotting Global Domination

Focusing on a regionalised market will result in a much more targeted market and the competition will also lower significantly. If you only sell your products and services within the UK make sure you contain specific phrases (e.g. United Kingdom, England, London, etc.) within your title tags, body of your text, and within your anchor text. When starting a new site/business, even if you have the intentions of growing your business to supply products and services globally it is usually best to target your optimisation techniques to your main regional market initially. Once you start to perform well on these search terms, and you have the logistic capabilities to grow your business to target different overseas markets, then you can start to optimise your site to reflect your general business strategies.

3. Selecting The Right Name For You

For a lot of new (and existing) companies the ideal .com domain name might already be taken. Or, for branding purposes, the choice of a keyword rich domain name may not be applicable. Site owners should not lose too much sleep over this, due to the fact that the weight search engines give to the URL of a website is still considered to be of limited importance when it comes to ranking well within the results pages.

4. Use Anchor Text Effectively

Your website can garner a two-fold benefit when you manage to develop inbound links from websites. The first (and obvious) benefit is that these links can help your business by sending potential customers to your site. The second benefit is that Google and the other major search engines will see these links as votes of confidence, which will in turn, give your website a boost in its search engine rankings.

When developing inbound links it is important to take advantage of keywords that your site might be targeting. For example, the website LCN registers domain names and sells a range of web hosting packages to help companies build an online presence. With this in mind, links that contain the anchor text domain names and web hosting will help both visitors and search engines to understand what this website is all about. By developing links with keyword rich anchor text your website can rank higher in the search engine results for the terms that you are competing on.

You should ensure that when using anchor text within links they should point to the specific part of the website that provides each respective product (e.g. /domain_names and /web_hosting). This approach will help inform Google which page you want to be ranked for specific terms, and also, allow your visitors to reach the most appropriate page of your site when they are directed from external inbound links.

5. Choose The Right Landing Pages

When choosing keywords you feel are suitable to target your desired market you may end up with a list the length of your arm. Creating a website with a logical structure containing specific pages that highlight the range or products/services your company offers allows you to professionally and effectively optimize your entire site for all of your selected keywords.

For example, if your company sells office supplies and office stationary (both extremely competitive keyword phrases) you could still drive a large amount of traffic to landing pages that sell executive leather chairs and printer ribbons. This is only an example, but, creating and optimizing specific landing pages is a technique that all websites could and should do regardless of what they are offering.

It is vital to note that your optimization efforts should never stop after your home page is completed. Your entire site should be professionally optimized for maximum results. If you take the time to optimise each page of your website you can benefit from a huge amount of free search engine traffic.
About the Author
Barry Fenning is the marketing manager of http://www.lcn.com. LCN is an ICANN accredited domain registrar and one of the top UK providers of domain names and web hosting.
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