Website Ranking: The Keyword Myth

myth versus reality
There’s a big myth out there about how to boost your website ranking within search engines. Maybe you’ve heard it: Find the right combination of keywords, include them as part of your SEO Optimization, and this will propel you into the coveted top spot of most website searches.

And here’s another: Include every single keyword related to your industry or topic, also known as “keyword stuffing,” and this will ensure you come out as numero uno. In reality, keyword stuffing will get you the exact opposite – DROPPED or BANNED from major search engines. Companies, like Google, no longer give good rankings to companies who use the keyword stuffing method to boost their presence; it’s viewed as being unethical.

So what’s a business to do? Don’t get me wrong, there is value in SEO Optimization. But as your designer, my top focus is on the design of your website, although I do help my clients through the process of setting up their site, including basic SEO Optimization, but I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not an expert in this area. If a client wants to use SEO Optimization as their primary method for search engine ranking, I would advise they think about working directly with an SEO Optimization company who specializes in that area, which could cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars a month, depending on need. But I also advise my clients that there are other tools they can use that can be just as, if not more, effective.

Besides SEO Optimization, here are a few tips for organically raising your profile within search engines.

1. Content is King: The best way to turn search engine heads is to provide good, compelling content your audience cares about. SEO optimization (keywords, tags and quality backlinks) might help you position yourself in search rankings, but it might not keep you there and won’t necessarily drive traffic to your site. The best way to achieve this is by giving people a reason to stay on your site, to keep coming back and, most importantly, to want to share your content with their contacts. Your website should reflect your company’s personality and values. It’s a reflection of your identity, a powerful way to stand out from your competition by showing your audience how you’re unique, why clients might want to work with you and what you can offer them that no one else can.

2. Social Media is your Friend (but only if you’re willing to spend some quality time together): Back in the day, it was good enough to simply create a website, idly sit back and wait for the masses to come to you. Those days (thankfully) are gone! It’s all about building relationships and social interaction now. It’s about providing those who visit your website with good information they’ll want to share with others, which drives traffic to your site. Search engines and advertisers will notice increased traffic, so it’s a great way put another notch on the old search engine belt.

Sound great? Well, not so fast. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube , blogs, etc. are only good tools if you use them properly, otherwise they’re the equivalent of trying to hammer a nail with a banana. You have to invest time and resources by providing interesting content and updating it regularly. For example: if you create a Facebook page but never put anything interesting on it or you do it so rarely that I forget you exist, what’s the point of having a Facebook page to begin with? Use social media to help me solve a problem, to learn something new or simply amuse me, and I’ll repay you ten-fold by not only coming back again and again, but I might even bring a few new friends for you to play with.

3. Market, Market, Market: There are tons of websites out there, with new ones being created every day. All the keywords and SEO Optimization in the world won’t keep you in the top of searches if people can’t find you or don’t know you exist. What are you doing to market your site? You should be including your website address on business cards and other promotional materials, displaying it at tradeshows, leveraging social media tools and advertising yourself. A website is only good if people know it exists. To get them to do a little window shopping – with the goal of getting them to eventually come into the store – they need to know where the store and window are. In turn, you need to know where to find your potential clients and then market, market, market!

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