Description Meta Tag – Key Considerations

I’ve just completed a new youtube video in my ongoing series teaching main street and other businesses how to more effective set up their web sites for marketing purposes.

For a site to be of value to any business it must of course be found by prospective customers.  Ideally, you want to be number one on the free organic listings.  If you are, you will get more people clicking on your listing than any other on the page, including those who are paying to have ads at the top of the page.

While every site is different, the most recent statistics suggest the top organic listing will get 43% of all the clicks on a search engine generated page compared to about 18% of the clicks that will go to one or another of the paid advertising ads.

The second highest organic site will get on average between 20-25% and the rest will go to those organic listings from positions 3-10.

For some reason, the 10th place listing does better than those ranked 3-9, presumable because some people like to start from the bottom up.

These numbers change from time to time, the most significant change appears to be that fewer people are clicking on the ads.  It used to be that they claimed a full 25% of all the clicks.  Some think that’s just a function of more people being aware of the difference between the paid ads and the organic research as more and more people gain computer literacy.

Now the first struggle is to get to page one. The second struggle is to get to the top of page one. But in the interim, what you have in your Description meta tag can help you wrestle a few more percentage points of clicks on your listing, wherever you are in the rankings from #1 to #10.

I hope you found this video and post useful. Please leave any comments, questions or suggestions in the comment section.

[tags]Meta tags, metatags, description tag, organic listings, seo, search engine rankings, page one ranking[/tags]

Local Business Marketing SEO Tips: Title Tags

The single easiest and quickest thing most local based businesses can do to positively impact the value of their web site is to change their title tags. This is particularly true for small businesses serving a local market.

The title tag is the text that appears in the uppermost left corner of your computer screen when you go to any page on your web site. This is the title of your page which was set up when your web page was first designed. It can be changed at any time.  You should do so as soon as you finish reading this article if any of my suggestions apply to you and your business.

Your title tag is set up in the header code of your website in what are called the Meta Tags.  There are several key things a business needs to know about meta tags, but we will focus in this article on the Title Tag.

Each page of your web site should have a different title tag. Many small business web sites have a home page and a handful of other pages. If you got a simple web site built for your business, your home page may well be called, “HOME.”

If this is the case you definitely want to change it.

Another common title tag many businesses use is their name. Such as “ABC Co.”  This is almost always a poor choice.

A far better idea is to use the dominant term your customers are likely to use when doing a search to find you. Thus if you are primarily involved in installing replacement windows, you want our title tag to be “Replacement Windows.”

That tells the search engines that your web site and your business are about replacement windows.  Then, when someone does a computer search for “replacement windows”, the search engines will consider your site as a possible result to display for them.

Since people from around the entire world wide web might be searching for replacement windows, they will want to narrow their search down a bit.  If they live in Atlanta, Ga  they probably want to find a contractor somewhere near Atlanta, no matter how superior the skills of your installers in Minneapolis may be.  So while they may initially search for the term, once they see the millions of results, they will instinctively add a modifier to narrow their search to their local area.

Thus if your business serves the Atlanta area, you want to put “Replacement Windows Atlanta” as your title tag.  In Minneapolis the same, “Replacement Windows, Minneapolis – St. Paul or something similar.

This geographical add on, is the secret weapon of Search Engine Optimizers the world over.  As simple an idea as it is, there are tens of thousands of small business web sites that still have “Home” as their title tag, and it’s costing them lost business.

Now your business may have more than one main product or service.  In that case you should have a separate page to your web site for each of these functions.  Every page has a title tag, and so your page on “Vinyl Siding” should read “Vinyl Siding Minneapolis St. Paul.”

This change can be accomplished in mere seconds, by your computer person or even yourself if you have access to the c-panel of your web site.  In some smaller markets, this alone may be enough to move you to the first page of results and help you generate new business.  It is a powerful tool, but only one of several steps you need to take as part of your business marketing strategy in more competitive markets.

Far too many businesses have given up hope on their web sites.  Mostly because they never see any real business as a result of them.  Many small business web sites were originally set up people who knew how to do the graphics and such but did not understand how to effectively market the sites.

While title tags are an easy start, you want to find a knowledgeable search engine optimization resource who can help you transform your business’ web site into a marketing tool and not just an internet placeholder.  The surprising news is that local businesses are the easiest to apply these business marketing strategies to. Now go and get your title tags fixed.

There are several other changes you may want to make to your Meta Tags and the actual pages of your web site. To learn more about these you may want to purchase my ebook on the topic, Main Street Rises to the Top of the Search Engines,

[tags]local based business,small business,marketing your business,business marketing strategy,local business marketing,business marketing online,title tags,SEO tips,meta tags,[/tags]

Why Backlinks Improve Pagerank

How and why one web site gets ranked on the first page of a Google Search and another is on page 23 is a mystery to many small business people. And even experts will disagree on the details.

The exact formula used by Google is a closely guarded secret that changes from time to time. However enough is known to provide practical guidance to anyone who wishes to improve their overall ranking for any given keyword phrase.

There are a number of “on page” factors that matter a lot in this ranking process. This includes a proper set of meta tags, and the effective use of keywords on the page and if possible in the URL of the site. But once these basics are properly completed, the focus of search engine optimization shifts to the creation of backlinks.

A backlink is any link from another web property that connects (or links) to the target site. These can be links from other pages on the site, but most importantly include links for other web entities.

In the simplest way to think of it, you could consider each such link to be a vote. The site with the most votes wins.

And while in general this is true, it is only part of the story.

In the internet world, not all votes are created equal. Google in particular give the votes from your cousin Susie’s occasional blog far less value than a vote from the Smithsonian. Different web sites are assigned a page rank value which is a rough estimate of its standing in Google’s eyes as an authority. The higher the page rank, the more weight in has in the equation to rank a site.

In a recent report released by Ryan Deiss called the Authority Codes, he suggests that a single link from a site with a Page Rank of 5 is roughly equal to 555 links from sites with a page rank of 1.

While I cannot verify his information, I use the example to point out that the differences in page rank are significant.

That said, one backlink is better than no backlink, and the more links you get the better in terms of your sites ranking.

Because in the final analysis, the fight for a high ranking is very much like the old story of two hunters who have a bear chasing them. One stops to tie his shoe. The other says, Don’t be silly, you can’t outrun a bear. The other says, I don’t need to outrun the bear – I just need to outrun you.

In the page ranking game you are striving not to be the highest ranking site in the universe. You just need to be the highest ranking site in your particular niche. And for most local businesses that means being the top ranking butcher in Peoria, or St Louis or what ever geographical reference point that applies to you.

Now you still do want to get the high value links when you can. Among the better values are links from .edu or .gov sites. Educational institutions and governmental agency rankings carry more weight than those of a standard .com. Why? Because the search engines tend to assume that such links are more authoritative and less likely to be “Commercially” motivated.

Google also appears to look at the relevance of the referring source. If your site is all about elephants and you are getting links from a petting zoo and a veterinarian, the links will likely help you more than a set of links from a poker site and a car dealership.

These effects are magnified on some popular web sites like Squidoo. Many know that Squidoo carries a fair amount of weight due to its relatively high page rank. However, the real power of link from Squidoo come when the referring lens is part of a group of similar lens on the same topic.

Thus a link to the elephant site from a single lens on Google may have some decent weight, its likely to loose out by a single link from a lens that belongs to a group of circus animal related sites on Squidoo.

All of this conversation on backlinks is preliminary to a series of posts I will be adding to this blog from time to time in the coming few weeks.

I am in the final stages of preparing a report on back linking strategies.
With any luck I will have it available in the next day or two.

In the meanwhile, I invite you to leave any questions you have about backlinking in the comments section. Also feel free to copy this post in its entirety to repost on your own blog or to provide a link to this.

And one quick tip. When you leave a comment here you will be building a backlink to your web site. So it pays to comment in the form of gaining a backlink. Now I do moderate the comments on my blog, and will delete any spam or irrelevant comments. But if you ask a legitimate question, or leave a useful comment, you win a backlink.

[tags]backlinks improve pagerank, improve pagerank, backlink, backlinks, seo, authority codes, Ryan Deiss, Squidoo, meta tags, page ranking, [/tags]

Breaking Barriers Starting with Basic HTML

Learning how to use the internet is not easy.

Despite the claims of all the eBook peddlers selling their alchemists stones, the reality is that there are many barriers to success online.

There is much to learn.  And it appears to never end. At least I still have a variety of hurdles yet to overcome.  I have made some progress though, and will in the next several posts here discuss how I made it over some of the hurdles that may still be holding you back.

These will be pretty basic for some of you, and for others hopefully just what you are looking for.

The first discussion is HTML.  The code that sits behind much of the web.

I am not a programmer, and have no desire to become one. But as I got serious about establishing a presence online it soon became clear to me that I needed to learn at least some basics.

You can get by not knowing HTML by using various WYSIWYG services to design, highlight, bold etc you text and even insert images. But as time goes on, you will eventually come to the place where you will want to learn how to create anchor text, insert photos, create ordered lists, etc. by the use of HTML.

If you are depending on “your computer guy” to make tweaks to your pages, a lot of tweaks end up not getting made, or get made wrong as a result of the time lag and communication barriers. When you can do it yourself, you are freer to make changes, and then change things back. And that ability to tweak a page is critical to your success in the long run.

I found myself looking things up on Google, which worked well. But my retention of information wasn’t very good.  And it seemed that there were actually too many places to get free help. All arranged differently, all with a different level of assumed prior knowledge.

In my case, I did not really break through until I came across the chance to acquire rights to a short ebook called HTML in Simple Terms. I originally got it for my own use. Over past few years I have given it away and or sold it to almost a thousand different people.

I printed a copy of it out, and keep it by my computer, and use it as a quick reference. As time went on, I learned the bulk of the material by doing it over and over again.

I may be old style yet. But I have found it easier to look up items on paper.  It seems easier to find my place again, when I am going back to double check things.

HTML in Simple Terms will walk you through the steps needed to create your own web page. It explains basic tags, how to add links, work with images, using tables, setting up meta tags, using fonts and colors.

I still don’t know it all. But I know I can find it when I need it, as my copy is always handy. That’s what I like best about having my own copy. I know where it is when I want it.

I am selling copies of this useful text at HTML Guide

Off Page SEO Factors II

Getting to the top of the search engines VII

In out last post we suggested that the key to getting ranked higher in the search engines was getting back links.  Today, we will look at that a little closer, but first we are going to discuss my perceptions as to what Google is looking for when it ranks web sites.

Now keep in mind that Google is just one of about 40 major search engines. And what applies for Google doesn’t always apply to all the others. But also keep in mind that Google has about 60% of the search market in the US, so it really is the elephant in the room.

The key distinction that lead to Google’s ascendency in the search engine business is not just the speed with which it found relevant sites, but the relevance of the sites it found.

Google understands this deeply, and it remains their paramount objective to deliver the most accurate results to their search engine customers as possible.  Most of the people who go to their computers to look up something are looking not for something to buy.  Most are looking for information. And most are looking for free information, if they can find it.  I bet that true of you as well.

Now if Google finds more than one site that appears to be relevant to a particular keyword search, they need to find a way to determine which one is the more valuable site.  There ability to do that is what has made them famous.

One of the factors is size.

That’s why we suggested you might want to get your main page up to at least 425 words of text when we were talking about on page factors. That suggests to Google that your site contains some material of relevance. It’s also why we suggested that you try to have your keyword appear from 1-4% of the time.

When you do that you are offering Google an indication that the CONTENT on your site is relevant to what the searcher may be looking for.  In internet marketing circles the mantra is, “Content is king.”

It’s one thing for you to say your site is about the keywords you put in your meta-tags and on your page. Too many people have tried to fool Google before by stuffing keywords on the pages and in their meta tags. Google learned and adapted.  It now looks outside those factors to what others have to say about your page. Do those outside factors confirm what you have listed on the page?  And who is it that is confirming the authenticity of your site and your keywords.  We will discuss all of this, but the first message I want you to understand is that the more and better the content of your site meets the needs of the searcher the better your chances of ranking higher in the search engines.

You may think your visitor is looking to hire you. Maybe they are, but what they are more likely interested in is information about the type of product you are selling or the service you are providing.

They are searching for information, and that is what Google wants you to be giving them. The searcher has questions in their head, they may not even be fully able to articulate them. You must answer those questions on your site, in your content.

Google looks to your site and those sites that link to you for clues about the quality of the content on your site. If you appear to be answering peoples questions, you will rise in the ranks compared to other sites.

I hope I have made myself clear.  Way too many web sites are brochures about the company or person portrayed. Instead they should be about the questions their likely visitors have in their minds.  Google isn’t a mind reader, but they do everything they can to figure out if your content answers those questions or not.  Make sure your pages do.

Thus for my home staging friends. Your page will perform better if you answer the questions, “How much does it cost?” and “Is it worth it?”  Or, “Do I need to de-clutter my house fist and then invite the stager in, or can I call her fist and get her to help me,” and a myriad of others. If you spend at least some of your time answering these questions, Google will notice the content and you will probably rank higher. More importantly, you will be giving prospective customers the information they want and need.

There are a lot of tactics to getting links to your pages, and thereby improve your ranking in the search engine. The first and foremost item is providing worthwhile content on your site.

Due to the Memorial Day holiday in the US, the next post on this topic will be scheduled for next Tuesday, May 26.  We’ll get into more nitty gritty next week.

Now I have been doing my homework in an effort to share with you the lessons I have learned about SEO. While I’ve learned alot about the topic, the experts in the SEO field are the guys at Stomper Net.  They are probably the number one resource used by professional internet marketers on the topic. They have just released a FREE 7 lesson course on SEO that you will find interesting.  While it covers some of the same material as I do, I think you will find their presentation to be more than worthwhile, and as I said its free. Go to

Getting to the top of the Search Engines IV

In our last article, we discussed the hidden or invisible “on-page” factors that can help or hinder your ability to rank high on the Search Engines. Today we will look at some on-page factors that matter as well.  By on page I am talking about the text that people can read on your home page.

From a search engine optimization standpoint, the key factor for any web site is your selection of keywords.  These are important in both the visible and hidden portions of the page.  They should be in your meta tag title tags, keyword list and description.  They must also be on your page.

If the search engines see keywords in the hidden code that aren’t on your page, they will discount them and possibly even penalize your site.

Specifically you want to have your primary keywords appear in the first 50 words of your page text at least once.  In the past some internet marketers tried to game the system. They would stuff their keyword on the page over and over to get a high ranking. Such tactics worked for a short while but Google and the other search engines changed their algorithms to punish keyword stuffing.  The rule of thumb now is that you want your main keyword to appear between 1-4% of the time.  If you have a thousand words on your page that would mean you would use your primary keyword from ten to forty times. For five hundred words of text that would be five to twenty times.  This is called keyword density in the trade.

This is usually not a problem for most sites, but it does require keeping in mind which keyword you want your web page to rank for, and them being sure to use it when you are writing your page.  When working with a home staging client, I noticed one occasion where they used the term “home stager” repeatedly, while the focus may have been better put on the term “home staging.”

By the way, if you have a top three or four keyword variations that people search for, you may want to have one page of your site optimized for one term, and another for the second, etc.

So, my home stager above might have stressed the term Home Staging on her home page, but talked about House Staging or Home Stagers on another page talking about services provided, or a third page on her certifications, Qualifications etc. This takes a bit more time, but helps raise your sites ability to rise to the top not just on your main keyword but on other keywords as well.

The final topic we will discuss today is total word count.  It appears that the magical number of words on a page that the search engines like to see is 425.  In my experience most business web sites don’t have that many on their home pages, while most information sites do.  The search engine bias is toward sites that provide more information, so it’s not hard to understand that they would tend to reward sites that appear to be “meatier.”

For many of the sites I have reviewed in my WART Analysis program I have had to suggest they add a paragraph or two of text to their front page.  And since I am an advocate of using geographical keywords in the meta tags I encourage them to consider adding their geography to their home pages as well.

Many of them have followed this suggestion and added a final paragraph on each of their pages.  A butcher for example might include on the bottom of each page a phrase like the following: “South Minneapolis’ premier source of quality meats serving Minneapolis, Richfield and Bloomington as well as the Highland neighborhood and the rest of St Paul.” This adds some words to the page, and also the geographical keywords to complement those in the meta tags.

One final comment on words on the page. Words that are placed on images or graphical elements such as on your header are usually invisible to the search engines and don’t count as keywords on the page, or in the total page or first 50 word counts.  If you put your cursor on your header and right click and do not see View Source or View Page source in the box that appears, you are probably on an image that cannot be read. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you need to keep it in mind when designing your page so it can compete in the search engines.

That’s it for today. We will continue with on page visible factors in the next article. After that we will explore off page factors.

Getting to the Top of the Search Engines 2

There are two main areas of attention when discussing how to move your website to the top of the search engines. The first are the on-page factors and the second are the off-page factors.

The on-page factors are the easiest and quickest to deal with and are where we will start to focus our attention. They are critical but not the most important. The off-page factors will in the long run carry more weight. But that said, if your on-page factors aren’t set up properly you can and will lose much of the benefit your off-page efforts could supply.

We will talk about 10 on page factors. Of these four are invisible, and of the six that are visible, one may already be cast in stone for better or worse.

The invisible elements are the Meta Tags. The meta tags are in the hidden code that the search engines can see, but your visitors normally don’t see. You will learn how to see them, and anyone else’s when we discuss them in detail in our next section.

The meta tags include your title tags, your description and your keywords. The fourth of the invisible items is called an H1 tag. The results of it are visible, but since it’s also HTML code (of the simplest kind) I am listing it as one of the invisible factors. Almost all of you will be able to make improvement to these elements on your web page. For some of you this alone will make a significant difference in your page ranking. So stay tuned.

I’ve been surprised at how few websites I’ve reviewed have had adequate meta tags. Even those done by expensive web designers are often poorly done or in some cases missing altogether.

The visible elements include your first 50 words specifically, and the total number of words altogether. The total keyword count within your text and the percentage of the whole they comprise. We call this keyword density. The visible elements also include the internal links you have on your site and the way you link them, as well as the originality of your content.

The one item that may already be locked in stone is your domain name itself. As we will discuss, you will do better with the search engines if your web site includes you main keywords in it. If your site is already up and established you may not want to change it. That’s understandable. But if you are just now starting up and or are considering a complete makeover of your web presence, give serious thought to including your keywords and geography if appropriate in your new domains.

In our next article we will focus in detail on the hidden items. That will be followed by a look at the visible elements. Once we have covered those we will move on to discuss the off-page strategies.


P.S. I have just launched a new service I call the WART Analysis and Consultation

I have been testing it over the past week or so with home stagers and it has been very well received.  I’ve got the service rock bottom priced for a short while, but will be raising it soon, so check it out now and take advantage while the price is so low.

Which is Worse no Meta Tag Keywords or the Wrong Ones?

This afternoon I am giving my short version of my “trade show as web pages” talk to the board of a local business group. My goal is to find additional speaking opportunities where I can present to larger audiences of business people. Because as my report says, I think most small business web pages stink!

In preparation for the meeting, I checked the web site of the host location as well as the associations meta tags. I offer businesses a free worthwhile tip just for listening to my pitches and felt I should offer the same to these good people as well.

It turns out the association had no keywords or site description in their meta tags at all.

But perhaps even worse was the host locations web site. It is a private housing facility offering student housing. Its meta tag keywords were totally irrelevant to its web site and mission. It included keywords of voting, survey, course evaluations, census, segmentation, and others that clearly were intended for a totally different site.

Presumably someone copied a desirable format as a template and plunked the residence halls content on someone else’s framework.

I’m not sure which is worse to have no keywords or bad ones. What do you think. I’d appreciate any comments you might have as I will probably use it as a bad example in future presentations. I will of course keep the people involved secret so as not to embarrass anyone.

As I spend more and more time looking at local business web sites, I find such omissions and or errors are not uncommon. Usually, people just plain have ineffective keywords.

Some will argue that meta tags don’t matter, but they would be wrong. While Google may spend less attention to them than in the past, a good 40% of all computer searches still use other search engines that do.

Outside the internet marketing niche’s internal wars, most main street businesses are too busy getting product out the door and struggling to meet payroll to worry about meta tags. Their web pages are built by their son’s or nephews of techies who may know how to put a page together but are clueless about how to market.

No wonder most small businesses are disappointed with their web pages. They don’t get the traffic they should, and then when they do get traffic, most people don’t seem to do anything.

In the resources section of this blog, I offer a report for sale called HTML in Simple Terms. It’s only $9.97 and well worth the price if only to get the information on pages 16-18 on Using Meta Tags.

My guess is that over 80% of all small business web sites need work in this area alone.

Blank Billboard for Sale: What will you pay?

Have you ever passed by a blank billboard on a backwater highway with a 1-800 number on it? Or perhaps one saying, “Your message here?” I have, but it’s been a while since the last time. Mostly I suspect, because I seldom venture off the main freeways in my normal travels these days.

In past years, I did a bit more traveling to smaller towns in out-state Minnesota and Wisconsin and I would see a fair number of them. Mostly on roads that used to be the main thoroughfare in the pre-freeway era. I suspect a good many of them still exist.

In those traveling days I used to consult with towns and counties on how to attract businesses to their communities. Today, I consult with businesses on how to attract customers. Same business, different focus.

A billboard is a marketing device some businesses use to attract customers. It’s like a display ad in a newspaper or magazine. It provides a graphic image and perhaps some keywords to people who happen to be passing by. On the highway, in their cars. In the newspaper or magazine as one’s eyes pass from one article or story to the next, one page to the next.

They have a hard job to do. They need to make an impression on your conscious or sub conscious mind quickly. It must be the sub conscious the advertiser is aiming for because there are very few such images that ever really capture my conscious mind’s attention.

Now as a kid, I remember the old Burma Shave signs because they were different and funny. I remember a number of teaser campaigns over the years that had me guessing as to what was coming next, but I can’t remember what any of them were about at the moment. I admit that I do notice some of the new billboard campaigns from time to time when they change along one of my regular routes. But I don’t remember ever buying something because I saw a billboard, do you?

My uncle Urban had a billboard on the highway from the Minneapolis to St. Cloud where he had a butcher shop. The sign read, “Gaida’s Meats” with a sausage on on fork that protruded above the sign. It was a clever enough visual effect, breaking out of the box. I suspect he got at least occasional comments from customers in the store about it. Particularly when it was new. But I doubt it brought in any new customers. It may have, however, brought in a few more existing customers. Not because it made his product any more valuable, but because it created status. A sense of importance because everyone who lived in St Cloud saw it whenever they returned home from a trip to the cities.

In my uncle Urban’s eyes the sign wasn’t meant for people from Minneapolis that happened to be going to St Cloud, it was for people from St Cloud who happened to have traveled to the Twin Cities. They would be coming back on this road. And that’s where he placed his sign.

Now I’m talking about billboards today, because in many ways they are like a business website. The clever ones may catch my attention as I browse through many related sites online. But only if they are on the highway I am traveling. If I am on the freeway, and the web site is on a dusty county road, I will never see it. And no matter how cute, creative or otherwise inspired it may be, it may as well not exist at all. It may as well be blank. In my book, it’s not even worth a toll free call to find out how much someone wants to put my message on it.

When it comes to online advertising, far too many people have spent all their effort coming up with a great image and feel for their sites and not given any thought to whether to put their site on a freeway where it will be seen by thousands or on a dirt road where only the crows and gophers will see it.

On the internet, the way you get in front of the traffic from Minneapolis to St Cloud is to make sure the keywords in your meta tags put you on the right highway. In addition, you need to use those same keywords in your message – in the body of your web pages.

This is particularly easy for local businesses, and a bit more difficult for those who compete on a national scale.

If my uncle still had his butcher shop, I would encourage him to use St Cloud Butcher Shop, St. Cloud Meats, Saint Cloud Butcher Shop, Stearns County Butcher Shop, Benton County Butcher Shop, and Polish Sausage as just a handful of maybe several hundred keywords in his meta tags.

In fact, I would take every conceivable term like meat, sausage, etc., and pair it with every conceivable geographical term that people in the area might use to find what they were looking for in a computer search. I call such terms geographical long tail keywords. And they are designed to mimic the actual phrases people might type into their search engine. While they might type “sausage” the first time, when they see over 20 million responses they will quickly find a geographical term to narrow their search if they are looking for a place like my uncle’s where they can get good Polish sausage.

And yet if you look at most business web pages you will see terms like plumber, attorney, dentist, groceries, resort, bait, or what have you in their meta tags. Such keywords are worthless. But so too is having Minneapolis, or Saint Cloud, or New York.

As my frequent readers know, I have been working with the Home Staging Industry for the past 9 months or so. As I dug deeper into the keywords that people actually use, I have grown a list of 124 terms for the home staging industry. Most were fairly obvious, others less so. I have been offering a service to the industry where I concatenate the various keywords I have researched together with the relevant geographical modifiers for individual home stagers. It gets a bit tedious and time consuming. But the result has been a block of keywords that puts my client’s web pages on the internet freeway, while their competitors are advertising their business on the dusty back roads of the internet where no one goes.

Where do you want your billboard to be? If it’s appropriate for your business, follow my example and create a series of geographical long tail keywords. It will make a difference in how often your potential customers find you. It also will make it far more likely that you get top ranking for a keyword phrase when you are the only person who has taken the time and effort to include in in your keywords.

Don’t forget that you also want to incorporate as many of the major terms into the body of you text as well. So if you are a Homestager in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, make sure to say so in the text of your web page as well as in the meta tags.

Keywords: Missing in Most Small Business Web Sites

So far, I haven’t found a single home staging web site with good keywords in the meta tags of their web site. In my search of web sites in South Minneapolis, I have found fewer than 1 in 20 that was even close to having effective keywords. In general, that’s true of most small businesses.

This is a big mistake, as the keyword placed in your web pages meta tags are what almost all the search engines other than Google uses to find web sites to display. And while Google may have the largest chunk of web search, they certainly don’t have it all.

That’s because most people are likely to use the search tool that comes with their computer. My wife for example has Yahoo on hers. While she may say she is going to “Google” something, she actually uses Yahoo. Yahoo uses meta tags. So does MSN, ASK and virtually everybody but Google.

I have been focusing on the Home Staging Industry for the last half year or so. As part of that effort I am trying to help these small businesses improve their web sites to first draw more traffic, and then get more of those people who do visit to do something.

I have created a base list of some ten dozen key words people often use to search for home stagers in their market. I add or subtract a few depending on the scope of service of the individual home stager, and then incorporate geographical elements to come up with a comprehensive set of what I call, “geographical long tail keywords.” These are the phrases people actually use to search for to find a business in their neighborhood. For a recent client in Virginia, I ended up with 599 keyword phrases. In time this should more than double the amount of traffic her web site receives.

Every locally based business should have a comprehensive set of geographically relevant keywords in their meta tags. This is the hidden code that the search engine “bots” see, but no one else does. Unfortunately most web site developers are techies, and not marketers, and they often don’t have a clue as to what they should put in there.

Depending on the industry sector, I can create a set of geographically tied keywords for as little as $75. I will review your web site for free, in advance to determine whether or not it’s needed in the first place. email me at with any questions.

Meta Tag Tweak – Small Business Web Page Blunders

As I have been working with small businesses in the off line world, I have discovered that most of them have poor to non existant keywords in the hidden meta tag code of their web sites.  Since Google apparently doesn’t give these much weight these days, it appears some web designers skip over them.  That’s a mistake. While Google is the big daddy out there in search land, it has at best 60% of the search market, and the other 40% of the guys do use meta tag keywords to find your site.

I don’t know about you, buy I can’t afford to miss out on 4 of 10 customers.

This is particularly important for small businesses in the current slow economy.  I’ve made a special offer to my friends in the Home Staging industry, where I have done some fairly extensive research in the past and offered them a special deal.  My advantage is that I have already researched the keywords appropriate to the industry, and it’s easy to massage them to meet each individual’s circumstance.

I am open to doing additional work along these same lines for other industries as well.  A solid set of meta tag keywords can also serve as a good start on pay per click advertising as well.

Drop me an email at for more info.