Successful Keyword Research and Selection

I come across a lot of people who are under the assumption that a website must be optimised for their one main keyword phrase only. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Your website should contain hundreds of keyword phrases all targeting variations of the sorts of words people would use to find the products and services you are offering. As a rough guide focus on one or two phrases per page.

You can also use this approach to target both competitive and not so competitive terms. For example the keyword phrase “blue widgets” may be extremely competitive whereas “buy genuine blue widgets” is far easier to rank well for. By combining both on a page you can effectively target both competitive and non-competitive keyword phrases. You may rank quite quickly for the non competitive phrase, whilst ranking well for the more competitive phrase might take more time and effort.

So now you know how to approach distributing your keyword phrases but how do you know what the right phrases are? This is where keyword research come in.

Start with reviewing your marketing materials and talking to staff to get an initial list of phrases used to describe your products and services. You should also look at what industry jargon is used and what words your clients and customers use to describe your offerings. Use these words to form a seed list.

You now need to research those phrases. There are a number of keyword research tools out there that can help you do this. This research can help you determine how popular and competitive a keyword phrase is and help you choose the best ones for your website. Here are some great keyword research tools you may want to try:

  • Word Tracker – offers a free trial as well as paid subscription options.
  • Keyword Discovery – also offers a free trial and monthly subscriptions.
  • Google also have a great free keyword tool to help you find relevant phrases for your website.

These tools will help you come up with a comprehensive list of appropriate keyword phrases for your website.

Finally nothing beats testing. Analyse your website’s visitors and work out which keywords are performing for you. Ongoing tweaking and adjustments will help ensure you are targeting the right keyword phrases and getting targeted traffic to your website.

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Copy – the Overlooked Element of Web Design

There’s one element of designing a website I find constantly overlooked – the copy, or text, or to put it more simply the words on the page. Even when I go to great pains to explain that a website needs compelling, easy to read text it takes ages to get little, if any copy to add to the site.

I think one of the reasons for this is for most small businesses a website is the first time they’re marketing their business in a medium that allows you to add lots of copy. Think about it – most traditional advertising mediums charge by the column centimeter (or similar) so for much of their advertising there is only a small space to work with. A website changes that, and with unique compelling content (eg copy) helping your search engine rankings suddenly copy is really important. Not that it wasn’t before but you get my drift.

In initial discussions many prospective clients say they’re happy to provide the copy. But when it comes to the crunch it is often easier said than done. Which I understand. Most of them are busy enough running their businesses without having to sit down and put together pages of copy. It’s also not something they usually have a lot of experience with.

These days I find the easiest solution is to write the copy ourselves. As we usually optimise the website as well as build it it works out well. We’re able to write keyword rich, compelling copy that is beneficial to both visitors and search engines. It makes our lives easier and our clients can get on with the job of running their business. Which is what they do best.

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The Benefits of Business Blogs

Many of my clients are starting to pay attention to blogs and wondering if perhaps they should be blogging themselves. My answer is always a resounding yes!

Running a business blog has many benefits. Here are just a few:

  • Blogging is a great way to communicate with clients, customers and prospects. Whether it be talking about new products or services, company news or resolving an issue, you can communicate on a level not seen before.
  • A blog give you a voice which in turn gives readers an idea of who you and your business are. Your goal is to then engage them enough to want to do business with you.
  • Blogging can help position you as an expert in your industry.
  • Blogs attracts links and can help you in your search engine rankings.

There you have it, just a few reasons why a blog can benefit your business. I’m sure there are many more so feel free to post yours in the comments.

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Pretending To Be What You Aren’t

I’ve been in business for a while now and one of the things that frustrates me the most is companies businesses trying to pretend they’re bigger than they really are. I’m sure you know the ones – a one person operation with a “Head Office” and “CEO”. Now I’m all for professionalism, and creating a good impression, but in my experience businesses that pretend to be larger than they are often come across as contradictory, if not fake. “Hmm, you have a head office, CEO and CTO but the same person seems to do all your communication. Weird…. Think I’ll move on.”

Back in the nineties (ooh I love that) people didn’t seem so tolerant of small businesses and particularly businesses that were run out of a home. I know I lost some work back then just from being perceived as too small, or god forbid a “home business”. Not that I minded, if someone made a judgment based purely on where I worked we probably wouldn’t have been a good fit anyway.

These days I don’t see a business’s size or where you work being such a problem. In fact in many situations being small can be an advantage. The client gets personalised service from a company that can think quickly on it’s feet.

This brings me back to my point – stop trying to be something you aren’t and embrace what you are. The more authentic you are the more appealing you’ll be.

Besides, didn’t you know, Small is the new Big. ;)

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Chosing Clients Carefully

Miriam from SEOIgloo has written a great post – Being straight with potential web design clients. It’s definitely worth a read.

It also got me thinking about service provider/client relationships. I’m a big believer in only working with clients who I think are a good fit. And no, a decent budget doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a good fit. ;) I see business relationships in a similar way as other relationships – of mutual benefit. It’s a two way street and if the connection isn’t there I’d prefer to pass on the job.

A lot of this comes down to instinct and over the years I’ve learnt to trust mine. In 99% of the jobs I’ve been unsure of, but taken anyway, I’ve regretted it. And for all those I turn down a better opportunity knocks.

My goal is to present my clients with the best possible web solution and implement it. This is not possible if the relationship is shaky to start with. So a few tips:

If you’re a web designer – pick your clients carefully. If your instinct says a client isn’t for you then listen to it. Don’t be afraid to turn down work. In my experience something better aways comes along. And more often than not the ones your instinct says to walk away from will be the most difficult, time consuming jobs you’ll ever have.

If you’re looking for a web designer – don’t just go with the cheapest designer. Go with the one you can relate to. The one who makes sense and seems to be on your wavelength. And understand that developing a website requires work – some of which you’ll need to do.

At the end of the day you’re a team working on the mutual goal of a successful website. The better you work together the more successful the outcome will be.

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