Have you ever wondered what you need to do to make your business website “search engine friendly”?
If you haven’t had this question, shame on you 🙂 : your competitors probably HAVE and are taking advantage of targeted search engine traffic.
I had a client send me this email that I was happy to answer:
(Message from client’s boss)
We were looking for trinkets and trash ideas for our new special order laser machine and first search result was from (website address removed).
Look at their meta tag below, no wonder…
COPYRIGHT © 1997-2010 (website address removed), INC.. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. COLLEGE APPAREL | UNIVERSITY BOOKSTORE | COLLEGE BOOKSTORE | UNIVERSITY APPAREL | STATE APPAREL | CAMPUS RETAILERS ARE ALL ON (website address removed) AS THE LARGEST PROVIDER OF OFFICIALLY LICENSED COLLEGIATE PRODUCTS TO STUDENTS, FANS AND ALUMNI. (website address removed) OFFERS COLLEGE APPAREL FROM UNIVERSITY BOOKSTORES – COLLEGE BOOKSTORES – ONLINE BOOKSTORES – CAMPUS RETAILERS – AND COLLEGE GEAR FROM OUR EXCLUSIVE SUPPLIERS. COLLEGE MERCHANDISE INCLUDES COLLEGE BEDDING – COLLEGE APPAREL – STATE APPAREL – COLLEGE JERSEYS – COLLEGE SHIRTS – STATE SWEATSHIRTS – UNIVERSITY SWEATSHIRTS – COLLEGE GIFTS – COLLEGE CLOTHING – COLLEGE SWEATSHIRTS. (website address removed) SUPPORTS ALL CAMPUS STORES AND COLLEGE BOOK STORE WHO SELL THEIR PRODUCTS IN THIS SECTION SO ALL UNIVERSITY STUDENTS, FANS AND ALUMNI FIND THE LARGEST SELECTION OF COLLEGE APPAREL ON THE PLANET. WE LOVE COLLEGE FANS!
The SEO Question
I just received this info on another store. The meta tag – Is this something I should be doing?
This is a good question, one that I’m sure many online businesses don’t know how to answer so they do one of two things:
- They imitate the “SEO strategy”
- They ignore it and continue to do what they’ve always done
I’ve worked with thousands of online business owners and my motto has always been, “The only dumb question you’ll ever ask is the one you DON’T ask!”
I’m glad my client was comfortable enough to ask this SEO question.
My SEO Answer
How I explained the “old-school SEO strategy” used by the above website was direct and maybe almost blunt. By “old-school” I mean the strategy they’re using doesn’t really work any more – it’s a version of “keyword stuffing” and won’t get the site very far if they have some competitors who know what they’re doing when it comes to effective SEO:
First off, the section you shared has nothing to do with a “Meta Tag” – it’s called a “Global Footer”. Yes, Google looks at that content, but it doesn’t give that section much credibility, especially if there is a tendency within the content to be “stuffed” with keyword phrases – which there is here.
Second, here is what Google really looks for when it comes to search engine placement:
1. Search Engine Friendly Pages that include the following things:
On-site optimization – what we do ON our site to make it search engine friendly. Although on-site SEO is only a part of getting the right traffic to your site, if you do it correctly, it can really help you get out of the Google “sand box”.
Here are the basics of on-site SEO:
Meta Tag Titles
- 6-10 words maximum
- Minimal keyword repetition
- No domain name
- Use keyword phrases that you want people to use to find you in a search engine
- Use “buyer phrases” instead of “browser phrases”
- Every page of a website can have its own unique meta tags
The title shows up in two places:
1. Above the address bar in your internet browser when you’re on the page
2. In Search Engine Results when you type in a specific keyword phrase:
Of all the things Google looks for ON a website, the Title tag on each page is probably the most important one: it tells search engines (and visitors) what the page is about, or at least it SHOULD.
If a search engine goes to a page that is using specific keyword phrases in the title tag but then, when they see the content on the page, it has nothing to do with those phrases, that page loses it’s credibility and can become “black listed” by search engines like Google.
So, to summarize, the content you sent me is simply part of the internal content of a page but doesn’t have as much weight to a search engine as a title tag does.
Having good, quality, and UNIQUE content on every page of your site is also very helpful. This is one of the reasons I’m hoping that we can “customize” the category pages more so that it’s not just a list of products but that it better tells the visitor and the search engine what the page is all about.
Here’s a bit more information about other meta information, which we can discuss when we meet next:
Meta Tag Descriptions
- 1-3 Sentences
- Keyword repetition recommended
- Explain what the page is about
- Is found in search engine results below the title tag
Meta Tag Keywords (I don’t worry too much about these any more)
- 5-10 words/phrases separated by commas
- keyword repetition is okay
- make sure the words relate to the page you’re marketing
- not seen by regular visitors – found in the source code
- these are not as important any more to search engines like Google but it doesn’t hurt to have them
Hope this helps clarify.
Talk soon and keep the questions coming!
Starting an effective online business is not a “turn-key” or “get rich quick” project.
If you really want to see results and move up in search engine rankings for the best keyword phrases, you have to not be afraid to ask questions, test, and implement strategies that are proven to work.
Thanks to this client for her willingness to ask the right questions and then implement what we discussed.
Did this make sense to you?