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IDENTIFYING THE THEME OF YOUR WEBSITE
If your site is to attract business through the search engines you must think of one word. The word is 'targeting'. I can't emphasise this too much. I tell my clients that there are two kinds of websites:
a). To attract new business (people who don't already know you).
b). To support current business (customers who already know you).
Of course, a site is always a bit of both, but in order to achieve 'a' it is at the expense of 'b' (and vice-versa). So - if you want a website that covers several subjects then it is not targetted - unless those subjects are closely related (as exampled on the categories of Dmoz or Yahoo). If you would like a 'b' site then it can look like, and be about, anything you wish, and there is no need to read this article. If you would like an 'a' type site then it must be targetted (on theme):
1. Start by identifying popular key phrases about your theme, this page will help you understand which phrases your market is using:
2. Choose the theme from a Yahoo or Dmoz category. Choose a category that comes up high when when you type the phrase that you wish to target.
3. Target a phrase that is not too competitive e.g. not 'Business Training'.
Switch between reviewing 'Key phrase popularity' and 'Category Priority' in order to finally come up with your chosen 'theme'.
Alphabetic listing is not so important these days (it used to be). If your site is to be submitted to Yahoo (costs $300) it is more important to have a key word (or phrase) in your domain name (separated by those nasty dashes) e.g. keyword-keyword-keyword.com I know that this does not look nice but the question is do you want 'a' or 'b'?.
Yahoo is currently the worlds most popular search engine (Directory). It is well worth the $300 to submit your site. One of my sites gets between 2-5 bookings per day on Yahoo. When you do a Yahoo search notice that the keywords you typed (to make a phrase) are highlighted in the Yahoo listing i.e. Yahoo looks for sites that mention those words the most (in the: domain name, company name and description). However, your site must have a description that the Yahoo Editors are unlikely to change. Yes, they change your description if they don't like it. So a long rambly description will get cut down according to how the Editor feels. The trick is to write a descripion that:
1. Actually describes the site.
2. Uses your key words as often as possible.
3. Does not appear to 'spam' the key words - ie too many unecessary key words.
4. Makes Yahoo visitors want to click on it.
5. Is the right length
Any deviation from this will get you description changed by the Editors. If the Editor feels like changing your description there is nothing you can do about it. Sites that do well in Yahoo are targetted to a particular phrase and use those key words skillfully in the: domain name, company name and description. The more time you spend exploring Yahoo the better (to get to know what works). Look at other high ranking descriptions for your theme. Look at uk.Yahoo.com and look at Yahoo.com they order websites differently.
www.Dmoz.org is a resource that is used by many other search engines. A good listing in Dmoz will help to get your site well placed in many other search engines. There is no cost to submit to Dmoz. Approach the category selection and description writing in the same was as for Yahoo.
The difference in sites is mostly useless information. Aren't most new sites there to get new sales/leads etc? From this perspective, very few small companies on the budget you suggest are looking at the web as a support medium. So the comparision just interferes with what they are looking for. And the people looking for support have the company name already and an inclination to find the site. The About Yahoo, DMOZ etc, I would place on another page and just hit the highlights on the main page. Sort of like here's the distilled down facts ,about Yahoo mainly ,and the secondary page goes into detail about each of them. Maybe provide examples of other sites submissions? Since you cover the aspects of how to get listed, wouldn't it be a good idea to add in some explanation of times to get listed etc. ?
Just a thought but if they are writing their own content, I would ask for short descriptions as well. Esp. if they have any type of content they are adding as far as articles etc. Given that its their industry they might have more clues as to what people are searching for as far as off the wall keywords.
But this is a good idea and something worth while. Maybe could write up several such topic pieces to provide to all of your clients to cover the entire process and what is expected of them and/or how the process works.