Sunday, July 31, 2011

How to set up an online business

Starting this August I will be writing a guide that explains step by step how to set up an online business.
I will start with planning, and continue with building and marketing. I will write this guide in simple terms that will help the novice.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Keywords, what in the W.W.W. are we looking for?

What in the world are we looking for? Well thanks to Google it is not that hard to find out. Google Keyword Tools is a free tool that you can get a free look at what people are typing into all those search boxes.

For example type in "keyword" into keyword tools and you will find out that about 3,350,000 global monthly searches have been typed in, and the tool will also give you a hundred other searches that are related to "keyword."  It also tells me that 618,000,000 people a month search for "Google."

This is really good information to know if you are interested in "Keywords" but how does this help getting people to click on my site?

Let's say you are getting ready to launch a web-store that sells tennis shoes. That doesn't sound that hard, you put some tennis shoes on a site and wait... the next morning you check your web orders and there's nothing.

OK give it some more time and after a month... one order?

So how come no one is buying? Well let's go to the Google keyword tool and run a check on " tennis shoes" we find there is about 301,000 global monthly searches for "tennis shoes" but right under that you see that sneakers gets 7,480,000 global monthly searches. Maybe it would be wise to have sneakers on you site somewhere.

I am not getting in to where and how to get these keywords in your site, and how to get Google to index and rank your site in this post, we will get to that a little later. What I want to focus on in this post is to show how to do some homework before the site is up.

Product brainstorming!
Google Keywords is a great place to start and it's free. Find out what your future clients are looking for.
The keyword tool also gives you some other very valuable info, such as competition, that is telling how many other sites have that keyword in their site. So you can tell how much tennis shoe competition is out there. It also give you local searches, and there is a lot of other tweaking to the results that can be done.

So get out a pad and a pencil and start key-wording, before you start with your HTML.

It can also be a lot of fun just to see what in the WWW people are searching for.

Friday, July 22, 2011

To META or Not to META that is the question?

I recently met with a fellow who is a P.H.D. graphic instructor at a local university, who has agreed to help me review the website I work for and help us make some changes. The guy is very sharp and a graphic guru. But I was very surprised when he made a comment about meta tags. I stopped him almost in mid sentence, "you still use meta tags?"  I went on to inform him that Google ignores meta data and has for many years. He replied he likes to cover all the bases. Yes, I replied I don't delete meta data that is already there, however I don't really spend much time on it anymore. We went on to talk about Yahoo, Bing and other search engines such as Opera that still may look at meta tags.

He went on to tell me that the business marketing department of the university would be the people to ask about search engine optimization (SEO) managment.

So the question of what to do with the meta tag fields still seems to be a question that all the experts still do not agree on.

Let me back up just a little for the readers that don't know the history of meta data and Google, without going into too much detail. Back in the dark ages, maybe 10 years ago, and before the search engine monopoly "Google" (all powerful one) made some changes. Meta tags were a useful hidden field on a website that helped search engines find out what a website was about. It was a field where a webmaster could put keywords and information that would help describe to a person who was searching for something what was in the website. So if you were looking for "books about dogs", and a site had "books about dogs" in the meta data you would find the site. This all seems very helpful and it was until one day when some crafty webmaster who was not getting any search results found out that we can put just about anything we want in this field even if it was not accurate. So after people started manipulating meta data for search result placement Google caught on and started ignoring the field.

So one might ask how does Google find a site that you are looking for now days? They use Robots! Well kinda, Google does not give away all their secrets on how they rank and find websites and content, because if they did it would be too easy to trick them, and they keep changing to stay ahead of crafty webmasters who try and manipulate the results. There are two things that S.E.O. people do know about search results placement; one content is king, that's where the robots come in, and two who is your site linked to.

Keywords is the new Meta.

If a website is setup correctly, Google will actually work, and if you sell books about dogs, people who search for books about dogs will find you.

How do you setup a website correctly so people can find your product or service? Very carefully, It needs to be done right from the very start. The two things mentioned before, content and links should be in the fore-front of design from the very start. If you keep content and keywords in mind while you are building a site you will end up with much better results from Google. I will go into more on keywords and links in my next blogs.

To sum up meta data, and meta tags, if you have the time, go ahead and put in relevant info in these fields it won't hurt much other than the time it takes to add to your page load times, which in most cases is minimal, and it might help with Yahoo and Bing. But if time is an issue, because if you are like me and spend all day entering data on webstores and you just don't have time to mess with it, err to titles and keywords where your time will be better spent. I look at it like this, when I look at my Google analytics I get thousands of hits a month from Google organic search results and tens of results from Yahoo and Bing, so when I plan my days I use my time trying to figure out what  Google (all powerful one) wants, and when I have time leftover, which has not happened yet I spend time on what Yahoo and Bing wants.