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In case you're wondering, yes, I do love coffee. If you ask anyone who knows me, they would tell you that they rarely ever see me without a cup nearby, as a matter of fact, I'm drinking one right now. I even once went into a store that I have frequented regularly for years and forgot to take my "To-Go" cup in with me and three people asked me how I was doing and where was my coffee cup at. So, when I ran across the image on the left, I couldn't resist. I guess it's a good thing I didn't decide to put up a "healthy living" blog. Anyway, on to the meat of the matter.

Publishing a blog on your website is one of the easiest and most effective forms of Internet marketing and it's also a major factor in site optimization - SEO. What could be better? They are fun to maintain, only take a few minutes a post, help drive traffic to your site, and help move your site up in search engine rankings. Once its set up, all you have to do is just post and respond.

Search engines give preference to sites that regularly publish "fresh" content. Publishing a blog on your site is a good way to add fresh content on a regular basis. If you are really good at writing relevant articles, another site may grab your blogs RSS feed and publish it on their site which will provide links back to your site. This will increase SEO visibility even further. We have three examples of using other sites feeds to show you how this works. One eMarketing feed, one Web Design feed, and one SEO feed.

The reason I decided to put up this blog, in addition to SEO of course, is to help educate clients who don't know a lot about web design, SEO and Internet marketing, but would like to, just to be able to have a better understanding of what's going on so they can plan their direction more effectively and make better informed decisions. I don't think that's too much to ask. They just don't want to have to deal with someone "talking down" to them. This is singularly the most common complaint I hear from clients. "Oh, I would tell you, but it's too technical." "Oh, you want trained on this, well, that will be extra." or my favorite one after the website is up and running, "Oh, you want SEO, that will be extra." If you hear any of these things from your developer, my advice would be to cut your losses and run! They are either incompetent and trying to hide it from you, or, trying to jack up the price on the back end. Either way, it's unethical at best and they definitely don't have your best interest at heart. I hope this blog helps.

Basic SEO Part 2 - Optimizing Website Content

Point 1: "Keywords and Key Phrases"

If you want your website to rank high in the search engines and, more importantly, you want it to be relevant to the products and services you offer, then keep reading.

Keywords and key phrases are the words on your website that should match the search terms a potential customer would use if they were searching for your product or service. This results in more targeted traffic to your website and targeted traffic translates into more sales.

Using a landscaping business as an example, some "keyword / key phrases" might be: "landscaping service", "landscaping company", "landscaping ideas", "landscaping materials", "landscaping supplies", "landscaping help" etc., depending upon the particular slant of your business.

An excellent tool for helping you determine what your key phrases need to be is Google's "Keyword Tool" it can be found here. Just enter a generic search term such as "landscaping service" and it will show you all of the search results related to, or similar to this term, the number of searches using the term - both local and global. This can give you ideas for additional key phrases that could be used to help you better optimize your search engine results. For example, if your business does both landscaping design as well as implementing your client's design, you might want to use "landscaping design services" as one of your key phrases.

Point 2: "Header Tag Content"

Headers are simply used to summarize the content that follows so that anyone browsing the page can easily scan it and find the areas of interest to them. Headers are also assigned various weights (values) by search engines based on their size. <H!> tags receive the greatest value and <H5> tags receive the least.

Header tags include: <H1>, <H2>, <H3>, <H4> and <H5>. In terms of size, <H1> is the largest typeface and <H5> is the smallest. Using this blog entry as an example, an <H1> header would be "Basic SEO Part 2 - Optimizing Website Content" which is displayed at the top of this entry in red. An <H2> header would be "Point 2: "Header Tag Content"" which is displayed above in white.

Since header tags are assigned value by search engines, they will also affect the overall SEO of your site. With this in mind, Isn't it a good idea to make sure that they also contain the "keywords" and "key phrases" specific to your site or business?

Point 3: "Paragraph Content"

One thing to keep in mind when writing for the web is the rules are different than writing for a newspaper, magazine, or a book. Traditionally, we are taught not to repeat words or phrases, but to use similar words or terms to describe the thought or idea we are trying to get across. Unfortunately, this can hurt us when trying to optimize content for a website because one of the things that search engines use to determine page rank is "repeat ratio".

Don't get me wrong, you don't have to write it so it sounds like a broken record, but you do have to make sure the key phrases appear regularly throughout the document. One other important point to consider is where and how they appear, let me explain using another example.

Let's say that you are writing content for your landscaping site and you are working on your first header and paragraph. You will want to use "Landscaping services" in both since that is a major key phrase for your business. The content you decide on for your header is "We Specialize in Landscaping Services". Now that you have your header you start working on your paragraph content. You decide your introductory sentence will be: "If you are in need of professional landscaping services, you've come to the right place". Not too bad, you have your key phrase appearing in both your header and your first paragraph, but it could better.

Let's now look at an alternative way of writing this. What if we made the header read: "Landscaping Services Specialists" and our introductory sentence read: "If you are in need of professional landscaping services, you've come to the right place". Would this be any better in terms of optimization? After all, they both say basically the same thing don't they? And the introductory sentence is exactly the same!

Well, the answer would be a definite yes to both questions. Both examples do say virtually the same thing, but the second one will optimize better. Can you guess why? The second header example lists the key phrase at the very beginning: "Landscaping Services Specialists". The first example lists it at the end: "We Specialize in Landscaping Services".

Okay, put the key phrase first whenever possible. I guess that makes some sense, but what about that introductory sentence? They use the exact words in the same order. How can that possibly optimize better? Good question. If we look carefully at the second example, we see that the key phrase "landscaping services" is a bold typeface: "If you are in need of professional landscaping services, you've come to the right place". By emphasizing the key phrase, the search engine will give it a higher value.

I hope all of this makes sense and will help you in writing the content for your site. If you just send your web designer a MS Word document showing emphasis and bold typeface where needed, you will be on your way to higher rankings.
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