Friday, April 11, 2008

The Importance of Meta Tags, Content and Keywords

For the past 2 days, we have covered how you can get an affordable web site up and running without breaking the bank, as well as some of the key points to consider when planning out the content and various aspects of your web site.

Today, we’ll be discussing marketing for your site and the importance of topics that might be foreign to a lot of people. The world of web sites and the Internet can be a formidable place if you don’t enter it equipped with some basic tools. Once you have these tools, the possibly intimidating idea of building a web site doesn’t seem so bad after all.

But, web sites are not the Field of Dreams either. Just because you build it does not mean they will come. You have to do your part in promoting it. Just like using a web site to market your career and your writing, you need to use the tools and resources available to market your site once it’s up and running.

Mythbuster here: Google will not send throngs of site visitors by tomorrow. You have to work at it to build your visitor and audience.

1. Market and promote your web site.

If you're serious about writing and you know you want to make it your career, get out there and market now. Start building the traffic and the ranking in Google. It's never too early. The longer the site is out there, the more chance you have to promote and market in advance and the higher in rank will be. Plus, an editor or agent will see that you're already ahead of the game with publicity, and that's almost always a bonus in any book.

Here is the core of your work. Even before you get your site launched and publish your first page online, you’ll want to have your business cards made, your flyers/brochures created, your signature updated in your email, a list links with others who are interested in placing a link to your site, and so much more.

Some additional basic tips are:

• Get a good and easy to remember URL (usually your name or pen name)
• Put it in your signature line on all of your emails
• Add it to your signature of every post you make to a blog, message board, forum or interactive interface
• List it on any/all publicity material
• Include your link/URL everywhere; on business cards, in your email signature, on letterhead and flyers and brochures; via word of mouth, etc.
• Network with other writers and authors and seek out link exchange opportunities. The more VALID/RELATED sites that link to you, the higher the ranking in Google
• Register with the Open Directory (; sometimes takes up to 6 months to get listed; start *early*
• Format your “Meta Tags”

Ahh, meta tags. Such an odd-sounding term and such an unfamiliar but essential component of any web site. These are found in the header of the site's HTML coding—that is, the text behind the scenes of any web site that tells the web browser how to display and format a site. Meta tags are crucial for ranking in search engines and enabling people to find you when they look. All of the important information pertaining to your web site is contained here. Proper customization and completion is of the utmost importance.

When a search engine “indexes” your site, it looks for certain components in the coding (or commands) of your site. When it displays your site as the result of a user search, what you have in your meta tags is used to describe your site to others. Occasionally you’ll see site descriptions in search results that don’t seem to make much sense. These are sites without meta tags, so the search engine simply grabs whatever text it can find that it assumes is relevant to the search.

Don’t allow the computer to think for you when it comes to your site. Tell it what to think by customizing your meta tags.

The two biggest components are DESCRIPTION and KEYWORDS.

Description – a 15-25 summary of what browsers will find on your site. This is where you take everything you have and condense it down to a quick “pitch” to browsers who have done a search on a given topic and see your site among many others in their search engine.

Ex. Welcome to author Amber Miller's place. Stop by for a visit, read my blog, or check out my latest book release. Wherever you go, be touched and inspired.

Ex. Welcome to Eagle Designs, a professional design company specializing in competitive web site design and maintenance at low costs without sacrificing the quality you deserve.

If you’re not sure about your description, ask others to offer their opinions and suggestions. Do some browsing on your own and see what comes up in the search engines on related sites to what your site has.

Keywords – these are the words you would like to have associated with your site, so that when browsers type this words, your site is among the ones that a search engine will grab to display to the browser. Although it is common to want to load your keywords with everything imaginable, you do not want to overdo it. Search engines will rank your site based upon keyword relevance and frequency of appearance of those keywords throughout your web site.

So, just like with the description, you want to make sure the keywords are relevant. Then, you’ll want to go over your content to be sure you make use of those words as much as possible within the text of your site.

Ex: eagle designs, web site design, graphic design, blog formatting, web blogs, marketing, e-commerce, shopping cart, consultation, promotion, home-based business, low costs, affordable

All of these are used in a variety of places scattered through the Eagle Designs site. So, when someone types in these words or any combination of them, the chances of my site being one that is displayed are higher than if I only threw a bunch of keywords together and didn’t match them to the content of the site.

Marketing is such a broad subject. One friend and fellow author, Randy Ingermanson, has some phenomenal techniques he’s employed on his web site. He also includes a lot of these tips in his Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine. But before you turn away because of the word “fiction” in the name, let me assure you that the marketing techniques he mentions are good for anyone, no matter what type of writing you do. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do so by visiting He has over 5000 subscribers with more joining every day!

In a recent newsletter, he stated the 3 main purposes of a web site from a marketing standpoint. Those are lead development, brand recognition and product sales. The content of your site will determine the brand or feel you are trying to create. Any links you have to e-commerce web sites will establish product sales, but the number 1 focus of a starter web site is to develop your leads.

Marketing professionals will look at this above everything else when it comes down to determining if your writing is worthwhile enough for them to publish. If they know you have a mailing list of 500, and that you can notify this list of the publication of your work a few weeks before it releases or is published, they will be thrilled.

A general rule of thumb is "give them a reason to come back." Find a way to make them WANT to return and see what you have to offer. If you only update your site when a new book is coming out or to offer a free book drawing, chances are, you'll get a handful of repeat visitors. But, you won't get anywhere near as many as if you find a creative way to bring them back. A niche, a special feature, or a connection to what you write would be possible avenues to pursue.

Start a mailing list/newsletter and stick with it. Stay on schedule with updating web site visitors on what you're doing and what to expect in the near future. It can be once or twice a year, every quarter, every other month, or even every month if you have enough to share. The important thing is to stay in touch and be consistent on the frequency. Blogging also works as a stand-in for this if you are just getting started, but make sure you have a way to collect the emails or names of visitors for when you ARE ready to start a newsletter.

We’ve only touched the surface with this information, but it’s a good reference to get you started. The best advice is to do your research. Talk to others. Visit other sites. Plan out your site. Get ready for the increased exposure and make plans to be actively involved in the promotion, updates and marketing.

If you build it; they will come…but they won’t stay…unless you give them a reason to return.

No comments: