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Why SEARCH matters so much for business

Search is the Web's great flattening force: by offering a single window through which to jump to the Web's billions of disconnected pages, search pulls the entire Internet together. MediaPost There are now as many "media stars" as stars in the heavens!

With reality television, MySpace, blogging...and the power of Web search with Google and Yahoo, everyone can promote their business on pretty equal footing. Of course, a healthy keyword search advertising budget helps with search ads, but in general, everyone needs to pay attention to raw search strategies. What are they?

SPECIFIC Key Words

It's easy to assume too much, too broad and to narrowly in planning key words for your website strategy. Finding the RIGHT key words takes more effort than just thinking of the generic key words that refer to your business or website content.

The most effective key words are those that are searched for by specific visitors that want to ACT on your offer. If you're selling tickets to a concert, you not only want your key words to include the name of the group, but location, genre or category, and date.

When people search for something to do this weekend, they are more likely to want to find something close to them, in their general interest category than they are to search by the exact name of a musical group. So effective key words for selling tickets might be: jazz, vocal jazz, light jazz, Solarium Group, Springtown Missouri, June calendar of events...and live concert.

If you wanted to sell CDs by that same group, your key words will vary: CD, jazz , vocal jazz, light jazz, Solarium Group, 2007 CD release.

Search Engine Optimization

Key words provide searches for local, membership and public outreach.

Specific keywords narrow searches.

Specific keywords need to reflect you offer: ie: sales, or event

Repetition puts you ahead of the pack. Repeat keywords. Keywords need to be repeated. Be creative in repeating your keywords! :-)

Timing makes a difference. Tell your story early. And update your page often so that search engines can see your heart is still beating!

Thematic placement makes keywords more powerful in searches.

Keyword journals help reduce your workload over time. Keep track of your best keywords...and websites that you can publicize your offers.

Adding a sidebar table (like this one) gives you ANOTHER way to add keywords to your article!

REPEATED Key Words

If you have only one mention of "Solarium Group" on your webpage, chances are that page will not stand up to the websites that carry all their concerts, all their CDs, or are fan sites that list all the names of the individuals in the group, and wax long and lovingly about their jazz exploits.

Quality search content represents each keyword about 5% of the total words on the page. Use captions. Use "alt" tags. Reword sentences two or three ways. Add a summary. Add key search words at the bottom of the page. Add trivia abotu the group that includes the group name and the names of the band members. Repeat, repeat, repeat as creatively as you can...but do it! :-)

TIMING

Events in particular need prior planning to prevent pathetic performance. Get your "Save the Date" page up as early as possible -- even 3-6 months in advance. Add to that same page every month...or more frequently. Add photos with keyword rich alt tags. Add reviews. Quotes. Updates on their program. How your organization will use the proceeds. Testimonals. Be creative, be early, keep changing the page so that the search engines know you have a really, really live site!

Be THEMATIC

Putting a jazz concert on a waste management site is a pretty far stretch to attract attention beyond your dedicated members. Add your messages to sites that specialize in the subject of your news -- music sites, local calendars, weekend entertainment sites, your members' sites, the music group's site. And have them link to YOUR SITE. Search robots follow links and give you more "juice" with the more links you have to your site and your specific page.

Keep a KEYWORD JOURNAL

So you don't have to do the research over an over again, keep a journal of your best keywords...and how they vary by the kind of business offer you are presenting (sell tickets, sell products, membership benefits, etc.) And keep a list of the websites you are able to place news releases on, as well.

And just in case you have a nature or green event, product or service in California, let me tell you about a couple sites that will help you get "google juice".

SoCalGreen.org provides a free news service for California companies and organizations that helps you spread the word about green, nature and sustainable products, services, and events. You can even add a photo for extra attention.

For businesses across the country...and globe, for that matter...

SuretoMeet.com offers a great calendar and event promotion service. Basic promotion services are free, and you can add advanced services that help you get the word out to your group as well as the public.

Hope this helps you think about how the "search world" can be tamed and put to use. Put this horsepower into harnass...and ride 'em hard!