Saturday, November 26, 2005

SEO Rochester, Content and Domains

Two of the most important factors in search engine optimization (SEO) are content and proper domain name choice. While trends, and minor tweak ideas in SEO will come and go--these two factors remain to me the strongest and best opportunities to achieve high rankings and even more importantly, convert that traffic into great customers.

After doing keyword research (I like starting with Good Keywords, it is free to download), and determining if your keyphrases are appropriate for your site. One of the things that amazes me is that people consistently think that if they are a wedding planner that they might actually be able to rank on the first page for a term like "wedding". They can't--there is too much competition willing to spend far more money than the average business has to spend on SEO. Furthermore... why would they want to have first page rankings on "wedding"? They would be inundated with traffic from all over the world - and those people would look at the home page of the site for about 6 seconds before they realized that the wedding planner in Rochester will not be able to help them in Boulder Colorado, or Hong Kong. That same wedding planner would be much better off focusing their attention on keyphrases such as "wedding receptions rochester", unique wedding planning NY"," wedding planner rochester", or even digging deeply into the specific geographic regions or towns within a bigger city--"weddings brighton", wedding planning fairport"-- by gaining ranking on the specifics, you will not only get to the top of the engines but you will have a higher conversion rate as well. Good Keywords will help you with keyphrase ideas as well as tell you how many actual searches were made on a particular keyphrase last month on engines.

Once your keyphrase reaserch is complete (and as a word of warning - I spend 10-15 hours per site doing the keyphrase research), you can begin to incorporate those keyphrases, (choose about 20 for a small to mid-sized company) into your site. Dont forget to include them in your titles, descriptions, headings, alt tags etc., but remember, content is king. Make sure to weave those keyphrases into your content on the appropriate pages. And here is the trick... there will still be... and likely more...people (yes people) reading your site, so your content has to remain well-written. Bulleted lists, small content blocks, white space, etc. is also important to keep your site easy to read. If you need assistance marrying content and SEO writing, hire a copywriter...and not just a regular copywriter, but one who has experience 1) writing for the web and 2) writing for search engines. A regular copywriter may not have the background in dealing with the short attention spans of the web-reader and the needs of the engines to have those keyphrases, occassional carefully crafted redundancy, and gently re-worded messages. (As in: do not use this blog page as an example of easy-readability... it isn't).

Along with the research and the good writing comes bulk. The more (good) content rich a site is, the "stickier" it will be to the visitors and the more "magnetic" it will be to the engines. Consider additional pages as sub-nav to draw in more engines to your site. As an example, as a wedding planner in Rochester NY, the majority of the site might cover your services, testimonials, and contact information, but adding pages about specific locations within Rochester, and about Rochester and Rochester events and Rochester Hotels, and even famous people who were married in Rochester will establish your site as a resource on Rochester and Rochester weddings.

And last but not least... (at least for today), chose your domain name wisely. If a domain is available that includes your targeted keyphrase, grab it. rochesterweddings, wedding_planning, etc. can all be used if there is an availablility, and will give you an edge over the person who chooses suzies_festivities.

Good luck, and as always, remember that there is assistance available from a variety of great rochester seo companies out there. --I of course am a little biased towards BizNetix, but there are several reputable companies and seo professionals to help you.

And - you can always email me as well with questions: meg@rochester.rr.com

- Meghan Wier

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