How do you get found in search results

How do you get your name out there and associated with a particular phrase? That was Jill’s question:

I was just wondering what I need to do to get my name out there. I’m a seamstress specializing in country/western style wedding attire. I google “Oklahoma seamstress” and no one pops up. How do I get it out there so that if a person needs a seamstress in Oklahoma my name pops up?

Jill aka Territory Mom


Keywords
The first step to getting found is to pick your keywords and phrases. Jill has decided on “Oklahoma seamstress.” That’s a pretty good description of what she is. But to pick the right keywords, you have to also know what people search for. What is your customer thinking when they sit down to search for the solution you offer? They don’t know your name, or your business yet. All they know is their own problem. In Jill’s case, other good phrases could be “custom sewing,” or “country wedding dresses.” 
To help you find the right keywords for your business, it would help to know which terms get searched for most often. For beginners, I recommend the Google Search-based Keyword Tool (though technical types may like the precision of Google Adwords Keyword Tool). Put in a phrase you are considering, and it will show you how many searches use that phrase, and many related phrases to consider.

Make a list of a few of the best phrases that represent the solution you offer. You’ll use that list in the second step… 

Spread the (Key)Word

Now that you know what phrases you want to be known for, get them out there everywhere.

  • Use those phrases in a natural way throughout your website. 
  • Start writing blog posts with those phrases. 
  • Get others to link to you using those phrases. 
  • Put them in your profiles on different services, like Twitter.  
  • Go multi media, and include the key phrases on sites like Flickr and YouTube.  
Jill already has a simple blog for her sewing, New Territory Co, where she can start to include her keywords and phrases more often. She could also post pictures of her dresses on Flickr, and include her key phrases “Oklahoma seamstress” and “country wedding dresses” in the descriptions. She can even put a link back to her site.

Sometimes, you don’t realize that you are leaving out an important word. One client leads safaris in Africa. Well, we didn’t say “Africa” very often on the site, because from every picture and everything else we said, you could just tell it was in Africa! But, the search engines couldn’t just tell. We had to go back and find natural places in the text to say the word “Africa.” Watch for this type of problem in your own writing. 

Suggestions for Jill
Consider taking a look at Jill’s Oklahoma country wedding dresses site, and see what else you might suggest. (You did notice that I linked using her keywords, right? I thought so.) 

SEO and the Art of Getting Found
The art of getting found in search engines is called “SEO” or “search engine optimization.” I asked for basic guides to include here, and I think the best came from my friend Bhupesh Shah, @ethnicomm on Twitter. He agreed to share this presentation he created for a local small business group.

He said, “SEO seems to be a daunting task but then again so is surgery if you’re not experienced. :) “

Thank you, Bhupesh.

Comments?
If you’d like to offer some suggestions for Jill, I’m sure she’d love your comments. And if you have links to other great basic SEO resources, please add them in the comments.

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Comments

  1. Josh says

    I’d suggest taking a look at Google Places, and other local listings. If it isn’t a terribly competitive market (as she suggests) I’ve seen the simple act of claiming your listing get a map link at the top of the results.

  2. James H Shewmaker says

    Jill,

    Are you looking simply for “walk by traffic” or for buyers? The suggestions that have been made to you, in this article are similar to renting a store at a high traffic shopping center or mall.

    However, if you had an opportunity to go to a specialty sales venue which was frequented by your target audience, you might desire to go there instead.

    Keywords and SEO do not produce visitors from a targeted market.

    Continuously fresh content which focuses on providing your target market with information that helps them “rock” is the key. Notice that I did not say information on why “you rock” but rather information which helps them rock.

    Your articles should not focus on selling to your audience but rather on empowering your audience. This means that the subject matter is not always about you or your service or your industry, but rather about “their world.”

    Once you start getting repeat visitors then you need to focus on responding to comments, building conversation and an internet community.

    Modern search engines are “smarter” than the search engines of 2005. The search engines now evaluate not just whether people visit your site but also what they do while they are visiting your site. Satisfying your visitors and empowering your visitors is key to keeping ahead of the pack in today’s Search competition.

    The former internet consultant known as Qwerty.us

  3. says

    Thanks Becky for posting this article. Great suggestions so far. I will check back for more wonderful suggestions. There are good people out there. Have a great day.

  4. says

    Josh, thanks for that added idea.

    James, you are absolutely right that producing content to help your customers is a big key, especially in more competitive markets.

    Jill, thanks for dropping in!

  5. says

    This post was helpful for me, especially the tip about the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. I saw that the term “online video” is searched for much more often than “web video.” So I’ll use that phrase more in my new blog, which is called Seeing Your Story (www.seeingyourstory.com). Thanks for the tip!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] The Big LimitationThe big limitation of statistics packages is they can only collect data from people who actually visit your site. You never know about potential customers who never make it to your site. To find out what those folks might be thinking, re-read How do you get found in search results? [...]

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