More Keywords Hotspots

by John Almberg, Identry LLC, June 2007

Last month, we talked about how to get search engine robots--like Slurp, CazoodleBot, and Googlebot--working to promote your site. In particular, we were focused on the best places to use your keywords--your Keyword Hotspots.

We covered the Page Title Tag, and Internal Links. This month, we'll tackle the other hotspots: Outbound Links, Navigation, and Page Copy. These are big topics and space is short, so let's dive right in!

Outbound Links

An outbound link is a link from your website to another website. Lots of dealers don't like the idea of linking to other websites. They fear their customers will click on the links and vanish, never to return. This fear is exaggerated, for several reasons.

First, if a 'customer' clicks on an outbound link and never returns, he really wasn't your customer, anyway.

More importantly, search engines look at both inbound links (links from other websites to your websites) and outbound links (links from your site to other sites) when ranking your web pages. Web pages that are a natural part of the web have both. Web pages that have lots of inbound links, and no outbound links are said to be 'hording' page rank. And that can lower your ranking.

When you link out to relevant, useful information on other sites, you make your website more useful to your customers. For example, suppose your specialty is Postal History. If your website was the hub for Postal History information, visitors would remember how helpful it was and come back. And visitors that come back, often turn into customers.

Finally, when you link out to other high-quality, relevant stamp websites, those sites might just return the favor, by linking to your site.

What kind of sites should you link out to? Ideally, the sites should be quality, stamp-related sites. Linking to unrelated sites--like a joke-of-the-day site--won't help your rankings. Some suggestions:

  • Organizational sites, like the ASDA, APS, local clubs, etc.
  • Informational sites, like Wikipedia articles on your specialty or the National Postal Museum
  • Philatelic directories and portal sites
  • Collector sites--particularly your customer's sites
  • Other dealers

Your goal is to include keywords in the outbound link text. For example, suppose you wanted to link to the ASDA. You could do this:“The American Stamp Dealers Association is a professional organization serving philately since 1914. To visit them, click here.”

But using the words 'American Stamp Dealers Association' as the link text tells search engine more about the page being linked to, and includes an important keyword--'stamp dealer': “The American Stamp Dealers Association is a professional organization serving philately since 1914.”

Using keywords in the link text helps both sites.

Navigation

The main purpose of your website's navigation system is to make it easy for your customers to move around. But a well-designed navigation system also helps search engine robots understand the structure of your site. The better their understanding, the more visitors they'll send.

Here are some tips for optimizing your navigation system:

  • Use text links, instead of graphical buttons
  • Use a bread-crumb navigation system
  • Use a site map
  • Don't use JavaScript in your navigation system. It can make the navigation links invisible to search engines.

Again, your goal is to include include keywords in your navigation links, whenever it makes sense.

For example, instead of using a link to 'Our Inventory' or 'Our Pricelist' in your navigation system, use a keyword that describes your specialty, like 'US Classic Stamps'.

The idea is, when a collector Googles for 'US Classic Stamps', Google remembers that your website has a link--a signpost--that points to 'US Classic Stamps'. Google uses signposts like that to make sense of the Web, and to find the best pages to send searchers.

Page Copy

The content or text of a web page is the final Keyword Hotspot we'll look at.

First, remember that search engines don't rank websites, they rank individual web pages. Second, you can only optimize a page for 2-3 keywords. That means you want to work those keywords into your page copy. And you want to repeat them several times in several different places.

Here are some tips:

  • Use a single tag at the top of each page, using a keyword in the tag
  • Use tags to break up and organize the page with sub-heading, using keywords in the tags
  • Use keywords in image 'alt' tags
  • Use keywords in link text, for internal and outbound links
  • Use variations on your main keywords in paragraph text.

The goal is to place your keywords in the organizational structure of your page, so they help search engines understand how your page is organized. Again, the better search engines understand your page, the more visitors they'll send you.

It's as simple--and as complex--as that!

Wrapping Up

I'm out of space again, but for more information on this topic, and for links to free tools that will help you optimize your web pages, visit our SEO Link Managment Tools page.

Next month, we'll tackle the most important part of achieving a high search engine ranking--inbound links. Until then, send your questions to john@identry.com and have a great month SELLING STAMPS ON THE WEB.