By Kalena Jordan
If you’re reading this
and your web site doesn’t contain any body text on the home page, give
yourself a good smack and go to your room without supper. When you’re ready to
behave and design your site with the search engines in mind, come back out and
read this article.
simple truth is this: search engines read text and not much else. You
absolutely, positively need to use text on the pages of your site that you
want indexed and ranked highly. Not graphical text that you created in your
fancy design software, but actual, visible body text. Not sure if your site
uses graphical or body text? A good rule of thumb that I learnt from search
engine guru Danny Sullivan is to try and highlight the text with your mouse.
If you can drag your mouse over the text when viewing it in a browser, chances
are this is body text and the search engines can read it.
so you’ve created your body copy and your site pages are loaded with good
old-fashioned text. But your job’s not over! Now you need to get targeted.
Search engines aren’t going to rank your web site about socks highly if your
body copy talks about foot sizes. You need to get specific. If you sell socks,
then for heaven’s sake, make sure your site copy has plenty of references to
the word socks! At the risk of sounding like Dr Seuss, if you want to be found
for, big socks, small socks, cotton socks and wool socks, then mention them
all. Better still, sort your copy into categories based on your products and
services. If you sell blue socks AND red socks, then have a page dedicated to
each kind. This allows you to target niche keywords within your copy and meet
the relevancy guidelines for logical search queries.
sounds so obvious, but I’m constantly amused by the number of web sites I
see selling particular items without once making reference to those items in
their body copy. For example, there are thousands of sites on the Internet
promoting web site design services right? Next time you see one, take a look
at their body copy. You’ll be surprised how often you’ll see flashy
looking sites without a single mention of the phrase “web site design” in
their page copy. Instead they’ll use fancy all graphic pages or Flash
movies. Or if they do use body text, it might include cryptic jargonised
language like “Internet Solutions” or “online brand
the heck does this tell a search engine about their business? Absolutely
nothing. Are these sites going to be considered a relevant match for search
queries about “web site design”? No way! The creators of these
sites might think they’re being clever, but they are really missing the boat
entirely. What’s the point of having a web site if you are going to sabotage
its ability to be found?
back to you and your web site. So now you’ve added plenty of text to your
pages and the copy flows well for the reader. You’ve researched your
keywords and phrases using WordTracker
or something similar and now you’re faced with the dilemma of integrating
the keywords into your carefully written copy. So how do you satisfy the
search engine’s craving for keywords without interrupting the copy flow for
the reader? The answer is: very carefully.
take a look at a practical example. We have a client that specializes in
luxury adventure travel. Before I optimized their site, part of the home page
copy read like this:
"We specialise in providing vacations for people
who want a personal service. We bring to our efforts a fanatical obsession
with quality and exclusivity. We also bring a freshness, an outward-going
passion for discovery which justifies our growing reputation as one of the
world's top travel providers. We can put together packages that include all
adventure activities, accommodation, transport and food”.
research for the client had determined that the home page should target the
following key phrases:
taking our original home page text, the challenge was to integrate these
keywords carefully and naturally so as not to disturb the logical flow of the
copy and lose the interest of the visitor. Here’s how I did it:
specialise in providing the best adventure
vacations for people who want a personal and tailored
travel service. We bring to our efforts a fanatical obsession with
quality and exclusivity. We also bring a freshness, an outward-going passion
for discovery which justifies our growing reputation as one of the world's top
overseas adventure travel providers. We
can put together luxury travel packages that include all adventure activities,
accommodation, transport and food”.
that the key phrase “overseas adventure travel” accommodates the phrase
“adventure travel” too. Voila! The search engines are happy because the
site contains text content relevant to related search queries, the client is
happy because we were able to integrate the keywords without distracting the
visitor and I’m happy because I know the site is going to rank highly for
the client’s target search terms.
go and apply the same principles to your own site...
Please note that web site content quoted in this article uses British English
so what you might think are spelling errors are actually not!
The above article may be
re-published as long as the content remains unchanged and the following
paragraph is included at the end of the article, including the URL links:
Article by Kalena Jordan, one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia and New Zealand, who is well known and respected in the industry, particularly in the U.S. As well as running her own SEO business Web Rank, Kalena manages Search Engine College, an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing subjects.
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