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Content is king when it comes to getting your website up there on the world’s favourite search engine, as Brenden Prazner explains

Have you ever heard the saying, “If you’re not in Google, you’re not on the Web”? When looking for something these days, we don’t search for it, we “Google” it. Google is the powerhouse of the Internet. It is the Internet’s largest search engine service that delivers traffic to millions of websites daily. But do you know exactly how Google finds your website, and do you know how to reserve your place in Google? First, let’s get a basic understanding of the types of information that appear on a single Google search result page, then discuss how to get ahead on Google.

When searching for a business or service, typically three types of search results appear: AdWords (paid advertisements that usually appear above and to the left of the main search results); Google places (businesses or services that have a physical location and are represented on a map of the region you are searching); and organic search results (websites Google has found with content that it believes matches the results you are looking for). As a website owner, you should be conscious of each of these areas. For the

purpose of this article, we will focus on the most important search engine optimisation (SEO) element for your site, which is content. Organic search results relate to unpaid or natural search results from the keywords you enter into a search engine. Ranking high (on or as close to the first page as possible) in a search result is the goal of all website owners, but how do you improve that chance? First, let’s clarify one thing – it is just a chance! Nobody can guarantee your website will appear at the top of an organic search result. Not even Google itself will guarantee that. So the next time you receive a phone call from an

SEO expert guaranteeing top placement, hang up. More than likely it is a company exploiting the lack of understanding of how Google actually works, and in many cases people fall for it. So how does it work? Not through “META” keywords or descriptions. These are HTML snippets that your Web developer inserts into your site, which, in theory, provide Google all the keywords that you feel are important for users to find your site. But the reality is that META keywords have not been used by Google at all to rank your website since September 2009. Focus on what really matters: content. In the world of Google, content is king. On the Web, content refers to rich text that is displayed on your site.

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Tags can be misleading, but it’s harder for actual content to lie. Clearly, if your website is about T-shirts, then it will be filled with real content about T-shirts that visitors can see. Therefore, it is critical that the text (content) on your website is rich with words and phrases you believe consumers might use in Google to find your site. Tshirt123.com, an Australian- based printer, has a good example of this. Here’s what it says on its website: “Tshirt123 specialises in on-demand digital printing of custom T-shirts, polos, hoodies, sweatshirts, singlets, aprons and more. Using the latest environmentally friendly digital direct-to-garment (DTG) inkjet printing technology, we are able to offer our customers short run vibrant custom printed T-shirts at affordable prices. We

have no minimum orders.” Notice the mention of products they provide (“T-shirts, polos, hoodies sweatshirts”), plus the list of printing services available. The description then goes on to list the various places in Australia it ships to; this attracts buyers who use a local search (a combination of a product or service with a city, such as “T-shirt printing Sydney”). It also lists various uses of the same word (t shirt, T-shirt), because a user may enter any one of these in a Google search. This richness of content increases the chance Tshirt123 will appear in a Google search result and will drive more traffic to the site. Here is a quick checklist you should use when drafting Google-friendly content for your site:

1 Be truthful. Only write content that relates to your business. People and Google don’t like to be tricked.

2 Mention the products you sell. Mention them generically and also mention some common brand names you believe a consumer may search for.

3 Mention what services you have available: printing, embroidery, art creation, digitising, etc.

4 Use variants of the same word – T shirt, T-shirt, screen print, printing.

5 Mention local towns and cities that you service, remembering 97% of searches for products or services are local searches.

6 Make it readable. While you are writing for Google, don’t forget you are also writing for your site’s visitors. Structure your sentences carefully and make sure they make sense.

7 Spell-check everything! Don’t trust your own writing. Run it through a spell-checker and give it to a few colleagues or friends to check over.

Brenden Prazner is a product strategist and evangelist for DecoNetwork. He can be reached at: bprazner@deconetwork.com Re-posted with permission of ASI®

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