Demistifying Kewords, Websites and Search Engines

When I visit a potential customer, a question I am frequently asked goes something along these lines:

"Do you know how to make my site appear on the search engines? Can you show me how to put keywords on the site?"

Such a question is borne from the fact that few people outside of the Internet industry in general and the web design industry specifically, understand how search engines work.

The short answer to the customer's question is yes in both cases. However, I think the question justifies a much longer answer. So here are the two points answered in detail.

How to Make Sure You Appear in the Search Engines

The answer to this is partly simple and partly difficult. Firstly, to ensure that you appear on the search engines, or to be more specific, to ensure that the search engines are aware your website is there and have indexed your pages there are two simple things you can do.

Firstly, ensure there is a popular website that links to your new website. Your web designer should be happy to do this for you. Google follows links and they will generally index your site within a couple of weeks of taking such action.

Secondly, sign up for Google Webmaster tools and submit a site map (your web designer should be able to help again with this). The verification process that you go through is enough to let Google know of your presence and you should be indexed in no time.

Once this happens, you will want to appear in the search results for meaningful search terms. This is dealt with by adding keywords to your site.

How to Put keywords Onto Your Site

When customers ask me how to do this it is usually with the anticipation that the answer is complicated. It may surprise you that it is in fact very easy. Let us say for example that you produce something called Acme Widgets. If the term "acme widgets" appears nowhere in your website, then the search engines will not know that your website is relevant for people searching for these items. So all you have to do is make sure this phrase appears regularly throughout the site. This should be done in a natural way and will probably be already the case. If you make acme widgets then you will naturally talk about them a lot on your website.

Make sure they appear in the title of the web page (the bit in the bar at the top of your browser), in the headings of the text on the page, within the text itself and in the alternative text for images. Now Google knows that your website has something to do with Acme Widgets.

This is just the start. There are many other things you can do to optimise your website for the search engines. But this is where you put your keywords. No matter what anyone tells you, there is no secret place to put them such as a "Meta Keywords Tag" for example.

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