Thursday, January 28, 2010
Clunky name, but they're also known as flyout menus, drop-down menus, et cetera. What happens is, when a user hovers over a link in a navigation area, it highlights like a normal link. It is, in fact, CSS-styled text in an "unordered list." Inside that main navigation, you can have sub-menus where you need them, and those can have sub-menus, and then those can have sub-menus. In all, you can have up to four levels of sub-menus wherever you need them.
There are many places on the web where you can find such a code to use; I have designed a proprietary version that I use for my clients, but, like I said, there are many of CSS flyout and dropdown menus available on the web. Some are free; some charge a small fee for commercial sites or suggest a donation for personal sites.
Next time, a trip into the world of social networking!
Monday, January 18, 2010
More than that, though, each page of your site has to be directly connected to each other. Imagine each of your pages connected by little lines, something like this:
See how it's starting to look more like a spider's web rather than a traditional kind of hierarchial structure? They call it the World Wide Web for a reason. More than that, though, this kind of structure increases the chances that every page in your site gets indexed by seacrh engine spiders that get on your little "web" there, looking for content.
It's a lot like linking to a site from your site: when you link to another site that you think your users/customers might find useful, you are, in effect, creating a spider's thread from your page to the resource, not only for spiders to follow, but for your users, too. It works conversely, too: when you've got great content that people link to, they create a thread from their page to yours, increasing your relevance to Google, in particular, thus helping your SEO.
To break it down: your index page should link to every other section of your site, and so should every other page in the site. A page without links to the other sections of your site or with only one way into it is pretty useless for both your customers and for search engine spiders (though I'm sure there are arguments for "orphaned" or "semi-orphaned" pages like that, though I can't imagine what they are).
In our next few installments, we'll discuss how to built a functional navigation system for your site that won't hurt its SEO (no Java or scripts?!?!), and effectively using linking to keep your social networks up-to-date and relevant.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
Having said that, keyword research software can help you "think outside the box" for keywords, key phrases, and key terms that your potential client base might be searching for. Taking our previous example of a custom purse store in New York, one place to start would be to select a keyword research tool and just type in the word "purses." How do you find a good keyword research tool? Just do a search for "keyword research tool" on your favorite search engine. Literally hundreds exist, and many are free. Several hundreds more offer free trials so you can find the ones you like best. I hesitate to recommend any specific one over another because people's tastes for different features vary so widely, but Web CEO puts out a good product, as does WordTracker, though both can get expensive. Web CEO does offer a free version. Play around with some of these tools and find one that you like.
How do you know if a keyword research/suggestion tool is a good one? What a good keyword suggestion tool will do for you is show you 1) related phrases that you might be interested in or that might be relevant to your site, products, services, or customers; 2) how much competition there is for that specific keyword/phrase/term; and 3) (and maybe most importantly) how many searches are done per day on search engines for that word/phrase/term.
What I like to do is make several lists from numerous keyword research tools. I compile all the results (including the competition for those words and the number of daily searches for those terms) and narrow down that list to the best 25 to 100 word/phrases/terms. How do you narrow it down?
By my estimation, the best way to narrow down your keyword lists to the best ones, the ones to focus on, is to order the lists, first, from the most relevant to your site, your customers, and your products. Delete or cross out any terms that are irrelevant and focus on the rest.
Once you've made that list of relevant keywords, the next best thing is to rank them according to what you want to drive customers to your store for. If you run a custom purse shop, and you want to rank highly in search engine results pages (SERPs) when people search for purses with tattoo designs, then you would make sure that incarnations of phrases containing the words "tattoo" and "purse" appeared prominently and several times.
Side Note: Remember that you're writing for real people - customers - not search engines. Only use the keywords/phrases/terms in your content when it seems like it would fit. I'll go over this more in-depth in a later post.
Once you have that list, you're almost ready to start writing your content. The next step, and what we'll focus on in the next installment, is taking that list and seeing where your competition ranks for those phrases. While many keyword research tools offer the competition for a phrase as feature, sometimes, they aren't real accurate. In the next installment, I'll go over what to look for when scoping out your keywords/phrases/terms in the context of your competition.
Saturday, January 09, 2010
Let's get this thing started with the most basic piece of information regarding search engine optimization that I can give you: write for your customers. Don't write for search engines; they won't be making you money. They won't be buying your products or services. Your customers will.
Think like your customer: if you were looking for your products or services, what would you put in a search engine "search" field? Make a list of things you might use to find your products if you were a customer, or, better yet, ask your customers what they might search for. If you're just starting out and don't know what people might be searching for to find you, make that list, anyway. Think like a customer. "Custom purses New York" might be a phrase with too much competition to bring you results, but "tattoo purses" might not have that competition.
Next time, we'll talk about some tools to use to see what phrases and words from your list are being searched for, and what the competition for those words and phrases are.