Starting Your First Web Project, Part 6

STARTING YOUR FIRST WEB PROJECT

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

In this lesson Starting Your First Web Project, Part 6, we will discuss the final content drafting of your Website. In our ongoing example of John’s recipe Website, you will learn to display your Website content to maximize search engine ranking. You will also learn how to tie in profitable links.


SMALL, SIMPLE PAGES

Fortunately, most search engines like the same things most Internet users like: quick loading and simple, clean sites with lots and lots of useful information.

By “simple” and “clean,” we mean that the site has a good flow of information and is easy to navigate and find what you need. We also mean that there is more text (i.e. more information) than fancy scripts and programming. Remember, “a search engine reads each page as a text file”. It sees all the programming– including all the counters and gadgets–and goes through it all to find the content. Thus, you should use very simple HTML, avoiding unnecessary scripts and fancy programming. Use more text (language) on each page than any other item. You want the search engines to find the actual content of your page easily. Keep in mind as well that you should keep your Web pages small–not too much information on any page. Web pages should load fast so the search engines will not “time out” and move on before reading them.


KEYWORD DENSITY

You also want your textual content to reflect what your title, description, and keywords indicate the page is about. There is a concept referred to as “keyword density” that describes the ratio of your keywords to the total number of words on the page. Keyword density is one of the ways that search engines measure the relationship between your metatags and your content. If your keyword density is too low, the search engines will decide that your content is not related to the topics reflected in your metatags. If your keyword density is too high, the search engines may decide that you are playing tricks or trying to manipulate your site’s placement in search engine results.

As you might expect, there is no agreement among experts as to the appropriate value for your keyword density. However, surveys of differing opinions suggest that a site’s keyword density should be somewhere between 1% and 20%. That is, no fewer than one out of every 100 words and no more than one out of five words on a page should be your primary keyword.

The best rule to follow here is the rule of common sense. Make the language on your page useful to the reader, and the keyword density should fall in the right range. Don’t worry about particular numbers, so long as your page is written well and says what you want it to say.


CROSS LINKS

Cross links are links from one page of your site to another page of your site. Although ease of navigation and flow of material should be your main concern, the effect of cross linking on search engines is still something to consider.

In our example, John is not allowing his-self to become confused with the technicalities of cross linking and search engine ranking value, but he has read that cross linking spreads the ranking value across same-topic pages on a Website. While he does not fully understand this topic, he agrees with the experts in his reading that cross linking can be a good thing. He has also learned he should keep off-topic cross linking to the minimum necessary to serve his purposes. Again, the principle here is: What is good for the people viewing your site is also good for the search engines.


OUTBOUND LINKS

When you are typing a page, consider the links to other Websites you should include. In our example, John may be aware of other Websites that provide information about ingredients in particular recipes or ways to present certain meals for certain occasions–or any number of things that might be useful to someone using a particular recipe. John should investigate the quality and the search engine ranking of any Website link he is adding to his site.

When considering a link, be sure to read over the site and make sure it has good quality information. Also, search for the primary keyword in the major search engines and see if the site comes up. As a general rule, if you link to sites the search engines consider to be of low value, they will reduce the value of your site. On the other hand, each time you link to a high value site (with the same subject as your site), it will increase your site’s value.

This works because, from the search engines’ perspective, links to sites with highly useful information indicate that you are indeed trying to educate and inform the people who come to your site. This is a good thing. You get extra points for it. If you are linking to sites without good information, you lose points.

On a technical note, outbound links should open in a new window. This will leave your site open on the viewers’ screens, so they will come back to it after they close the other site (even though they may have forgotten about it). You do this by placing a “target” attribute in the anchor tag of your link and creating a name for the new window.

(Note: The subject of inbound links (links to your site from other Websites) and their effects on search engine ranking is not an immediate issue in the creation of your content.)


THE PAYOFF

As John types the various pages of his recipe Website, he is also keeping in mind his purpose in publishing his Website. While he wants his site to be useful and informative, he also wants to make a profit. There are three main ways that John can profit from his Website:

1. He can place paid advertising on his Website.

2. He can sell some of his recipes. He can do this by selling downloads or having a subscription area of his site.

3. He can profit through his affiliate relationship with Amazon, ebay, SFI, Buildabizonline and Yoonla products and services. He can use his site to sell  products or recruit new affiliates.

In this lesson, we will focus on the third revenue possibility and how John can promote Amazon, ebay, SFI, Buildabizonline, Yoonla products and services with his site.

One obvious example is that Amazon, ebay, SFI (at the time of this writing) sells nutritional supplements. John could have a discussion of each recipe’s nutritional value. He could conclude this discussion on each page by stating that supplements are a good way to ensure that one gets all the nutritional value needed each day and then link to his Amazon, ebay, SFI Gateway for the nutritional supplements. In doing so, however, John must take care to follow the rules set out for affiliates in promoting the Amazon, ebay, SFI products. Only approved advertising text or banners can be used.

John could also use his site to recruit new SFI, Buildabizonline, Yoonla affiliates. To create flow with his existing material, John could include his “recipe for financial success for stay-at-home cooks,” which links to one of the affiliate sign-up gateways.

Another idea would be to have an “About Me” page on his site to introduce himself and discuss his involvement with SFI, Buildabizonline, Yoonla. Again, John will need to get approval for the language used to promote the SFI, Buildabizonline, Yoonla program or any of its products, but this should not be a problem if tastefully done.

We have stated earlier in this course that the worse mistake you can make is to have too many affiliate links or banners on your site. One of the reasons we say that is because of the outbound off-topic linking penalty of most search engines. Thus, you should not try to promote other programs or other products on your site. Stick to one “payoff” link per page and keep it as on-topic as you can.


CONCLUSION

STARTING YOUR FIRST WEB PROJECT

In creating your final content, keep it simple. Keep your pages short and to the point. Be mindful of keyword-density, cross-linking, and outbound-linking issues and their effect on search engine ranking. Let your primary guide be to create a useful and informative page to the persons who will be reading it. Carefully and economically include your payoff links–no more than one per page–and keep them on topic with your content as much as possible.


WHAT’S COMING NEXT

In our next lesson, we will discuss site promotion issues that arise after your site is completed.

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