I get asked all the time about the proper way to create a web page. A lot of people think writing content for web pages is easy. You just write text that contains your keywords a lot and make it interesting for the reader and you have a web page, right? Nope.
The skill sets needed to create a web page are many.
1. You have to know how to sell.
2. You have to know how to sell on the web.
3. You have to know how to write interesting content.
4. You have to know the right way to target keywords you want to rank for. Here's a hint; It doesn't mean repeating the same phrase over and over again. You have to know about semantics and semantic optimization.
5. You have to know how to strategically place icons and graphics into the content.
6. You have to know how to code from scratch without using Dreamweaver, Front Page or other WYSIWYG editors.
7. You have to understand how Meta tags really work and how your description tag should be written and how Google Snippets affects the descriptions that are displayed in the search engines.
8. You have to know where to place calls to action for optimal conversion rates.
9. You have to be able to identify and understand the target audience.
10. Did I mention you need to know how to sell?
So, if you are selling your services as a content writer, developer, etc., you should be letting people know exactly what you know how to do. A lot of people can do some of the things on that list, but few can do all of the above.
If you are looking to hire someone to create your web pages, you should ask which things they can actually do. You should understand why each is important. And if one person cannot do it all, it doesn't mean they are a bad web page creator. Let one do what they do best and let someone else follow up and do the rest. But all of the elements should be in place. If I have missed any, please comment and add more.
I'll start with Numbers 1, 2 and 10.
If you want to convert sales, you need the person who is creating your web pages to be experienced in sales, especially in converting sales on the web. Just because someone can sell SEO, Content, Web Design, etc. does not mean they know how to sell products and other services on the web. If they have their own successful affiliate websites or websites that sell consumer products and services or successful websites they built for clients that you can look at, it's helpful.
I'm not knocking anyone here, but if you have never sold B2C and been successful at it, it doesn't matter how much you know about SEO. Being number 1 in the search engines doesn't count if you don't know how to convert that search engine traffic into sales.
Number 3 - Writing interesting content
You do have to know how to write content that is easy to read and that people want to read. There are a lot of good writers on the web that can do this. But it is only one skill set.
Number 4 - Targeting keywords and phrases
Lets start with how to build a good keyword list. A lot of people use the Google Keywords Tool. There is nothing wrong with that method and it's easy to understand and use and it's free.
Each page you are going to build is important on its' own, not just as part of your website. Search engines crawl and rank web PAGES, not web SITES. So you structure each page as a standalone resource.
You choose one master key phrase you want that page to rank well for. Type that phrase into the Google Keywords Tool. Click Global Monthly Search Volume to order the keywords by how many searches they get.
Now, go down the list and find other key phrases that Google is telling you they consider related to that master key phrase. Look for phrases that your potential customers would type in.
Example: It would be nice if I ranked number 1 for the term SEO. I would get more traffic. However, people who type just that into a search engine would make my conversion percentage very low. People who type that in by itself may be looking for articles about SEO, SEO Blogs, looking to learn about SEO, etc. They aren't necessarily looking to hire me.
If I rank well for SEO Services, SEO company, SEO consultant, SEO prices, etc., then I know that I am targeting people who are looking to hire someone. So look for those phrases that your customers might type in rather than the more generic terms.
Pick 5-6 key phrases from that list that Google is telling you are related to your master key phrase and add them to the keyword list for that web page you are about to create.
Most people build one keyword list for their entire website. Make a keyword list for each page you are about to build instead. It is then easy to track how well each page is performing.
For your main keyword list, remember, you will need to pick out the key phrases you really want to rank for the most and create a web page for each one of them using the method I just described.
Building the web page to target those key phrases
If possible, you want to use your master key phrase for that page in the file name or URL. If I say Miami real estate is my master key phrase, then http://www.yourchosendomain.com/miami-real-estate.html would be a good name for the file. I'll start a debate here, dashes in a URL are better than underscores. We are talking about URLs. Think about the fact that you cannot use an underscore when creating a domain name, but you can use dashes. Anyway, that's a whole other post.
Now, I might want to use Miami Real Estate For Sale in my title tag. It still contains the master key phrase but also targets the longer phrase.
Next, you need to use Miami Real Estate in your description tag. If you are going to us ea keywords meta tag, use it there as well and use other variations of that phrase as well as the other 5-6 key phrases that are on your related keywords list for this web page.
Now you also need to use it or a variation of it as your first header tag, whether it is an h1, h2 or h3. Make sure that you use header tags properly. Never use more than one h1 tag, the one with your master key phrase in it. The next header you use needs to be an h2 or h3 as you go done the page.
By doing the above, you are telling the search engine spider what you are trying to rank that web page for. Now the spider, especially the Google spider is going to verify that your web page is really about what you claim it is about.
How does it do that? It is going to look for other words and phrases in the web page content or body that it considers related to your master key phrase. Since Google already told us which phrases it considers related in the Google keywords tool, we have that covered, right? The answer is yes if you wrote your content in such a way as to not only use your master key phrase, but also the related phrases from the list you made.
Number 5 - icons and graphics
Placing the right icons or graphics next to a block of text can help keep a reader interested and can help draw attention to what you really want them to read. In alt tags use just one of your related key phrases or a variation of it. Do not flood it with text. You can link the images to where you want them to go, but the real call to action will be a text link at the end of the block of text. Don't depend on people clicking the graphic or icon!
Number 6 - Learn how to code
You do not have to be an expert coder and one who knows all coding languages, but you should learn basic html. A lot of designers will disagree because they learned how to build websites using Dreamweaver or Front Page. But WYSIWYG editors have a bad habit that can hurt your SEO efforts.
You can build a clean web page using those editors. But as soon as you start to make changes or edit content after the initial build, they add code rather than change code. After a few changes or edits, you will find that your code-to-text ratio has gotten worse. More about code-to-text ratio and a tool to check your own code-to-text ratio can be found at http://www.seochat.com/seo-tools/code-to-text-ratio/
You can use those editors to build clean web pages, but knowing basic html will help you clean up the code by hand when needed.
Number 7 - Meta Tags and Google Snippets
There are different schools of thought when it comes to the keywords Meta tag. Some say don't use it and others still use it. I still use it. Better to believe in GOD and be wrong than not believe and be wrong. Some smaller search engines may still pay attention to the keywords Meta tag and Google certainly won't punish you for using it, so better safe than sorry in my opinion.
The title tag is very important, but do not try to target ten keywords there! Don't stuff it. Use your master key phrase or a variation of that phrase only. Don't put your company name before it or anything like that. If you need to rank for your company name for reputation management, build pages where your company name is the master key phrase.
The description tag is also important. There is a lot of talk on the web about how Google sometimes changes your description that you wrote in the description meta tag. I'll explain about that in a moment, but first I want to give you an idea.
Put your phone number in your description if you convert your sales over the phone. Very few people do this. You might rank #4 and your three competitors above you do not have their phone number in the description. You just increased your chances of a phone call tenfold. You also increased the chance that a potential customer will choose your link over theirs because adding a phone number builds trust.
Make sure your master key phrase for that page is in the description as well.
Understanding Google Snippets - Lets say a user types your master phrase into Google. Google will look for your master phrase in the description. If it is there, it will use your description that you wrote. If it is not there, it will look for that phrase in the content on the page and use the text around that phrase as your description.
Example; A search for DITY Moving Services in Google, http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rlz=1G1GGLQ_ENUS355&q=dity+moving+services&aq=f&oq=&aqi= will show http://www.ditymovingservices.com/ at number 1 and 2. Look at the description in that number 1 spot. It is the same as the description meta tag for that page.
Now, a search in Google for DITY Move Rates, http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rlz=1G1GGLQ_ENUS355&q=dity+move+rates&aq=2&oq=dity+move+&aqi=g10 shows the same website ranking at number 6 and 7. Take a look at the #7 spot. It is a link to the same index page that the one above shows. However, the description is different. Google found the area where they wrote about DITY Move Rates and pulled the description from there.
Google does this to increase the click-through rate to your website. The more the description matches the search, the more likely someone will click over to your website.
Remember those related keywords from your list for this page you are building? Make sure that where you use those as headers or at the beginning of a sentence that you also keep in mind that the following text might be the description Google uses in the results page.
Number 8 and 9 - Calls to Action and Understanding your Target Audience
Where and how you put in your calls to action will determine how well you convert sales. There is a basic formula you can use to achieve the best results. You can vary the structure in a lot of ways as long as you keep the basic principles in place.
There are four types of people who will visit your web page. The first one gets there by accident and they leave so we don't worry about them. J
The second type knows exactly what they are looking for and they just need to know they are in the right place. One paragraph of text that summarizes the entire page and a call to action at the end of that paragraph is usually enough to sell them something.
The third type needs a little more information before they are willing to commit. You write two paragraphs that give more detail than that first paragraph and then you use a call to action after those two paragraphs. Don't use the same wording in the second call to action. If what you said in the first call to action did not convince them then, it won't this time either. Close them using a different call to action.
The last type of person wants to read everything before they are willing to commit, so you write three more paragraphs that go into more detail for them, then . . . you guessed it, you add another call to action that is different from the first two.
It doesn't have to be one paragraph, two, then three. It could be two, three, and four, or some other combination or inverted pyramid, but you get the basic idea.
You write your content the same way you are supposed to speak at a public event.
- Tell them what you are going to tell them.
- Tell them.
- Tell them what you just told them.
Other calls to action can be placed strategically in sidebars, headers, footer, etc. But the calls to action in your content will likely get the best results.
Number 10 - Knowing how to sell is important