With engineers and other technical professionals
regularly using the Web to search for components and suppliers, you
need a Web site that shows up well on search engines. In an ideal
world, optimizing your Web site for search engines is a task that
begins in the planning stages of building your site.

That sounds fine, but who has the luxury of working
in the ideal world? Your company already has a Web site, but you don’t
have the budget or time in 2007 to tear down your entire site and start
from scratch. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make your existing
site more search engine friendly.

Add Keywords to Pages

This is a two-step process. The first step is identifying the right
keywords for your business, products, and services. The second is
populating your pages with them. To help identify the right keywords
for your products and services, we suggest the article "Keyword Research Pays Off."

Once you have identified the right keywords, you
need to place them on your pages. If you have more than a few keywords,
you should have different pages on your site for different keywords.
Use keywords in the page copy, but don’t force it. Make sure the copy
makes sense and reads well. The first 50 words are the most important
for search engines. Write this block carefully, making sure you work
your keywords in. It’s also a good idea to end a page of copy with
keywords within the last paragraph.

Another way to add keywords to your pages is to use
them in links within the body copy to other pages on your site. Search
engines read and follow links. However, instead of using ‘click here’
or ‘more information’ as your link text, use ‘centrifugal water pumps’
or some other keyword combination.

Add Specialty Pages
Two useful pages
to add to your Web site, if you don’t already have them, include a site
map and a glossary of terms. A site map is a listing of all the pages
on your Web site, with links to those pages. Site maps make it easy for
search engines to find and index pages on your Web site. A glossary of
terms is a natural (and user-friendly) way to get specific, technical
keyword terms on your Web site.

Use Meta Tags
For each page on your
Web site, add meta tags for keywords in the page description and in
your page code. While meta tags are not as important as they used to be
for search engine placement, they do still matter and this is easy
enough to implement.

A few things to keep in mind: don’t stuff the
keyword meta tag with every keyword you can possibly think of. Rather,
use a limited set of relevant keywords that correspond to the content
on the page. With the description meta tag, be straightforward and
explain what useful content is on the page. Stay away from
exaggerations. The copy in the description meta tag sometimes appears
on the search engine results pages.

Re-name URLs
Simple, specific keyword-focused URLs are best, such as
http://www.companyname.com/diode-laser-properties.html. Try to avoid generic
URL names such as "../company.html" or "../products.html." If your Web
site uses dynamic pages created from databases and has long URLs with
strings of numbers and symbols (such as # or ?), search engines may have
trouble reading them. Try to create static copies of the most important
pages and give them more meaningful names.

Keep Adding Rich Content
When it comes to updating information, adding technical articles,
publishing white papers, writing Q&As, and more, we have two words
for you: never rest. Perhaps the most important strategy for getting
better search engine results is to keep adding rich, relevant content
to your Web site. Users will love it too.

Users vs. Search Engines
A final word of advice as you work to make your Web site search engine
friendly: your Web site should be designed for customers and prospects
first; search engines second. If any of the tactics you employ for
search engines compromise the user’s experience, then it doesn’t matter
if you rank well on search engines. Users coming to your site won’t
stay around very long. Remember to write well, be useful, and be


  1. An A to Z index is another way of adding keyword-rich content. You can include synonyms that do not appear elsewhere in the Web site. Also, an A to Z index helps people to find information, and complements a Web site’s search tool. For more information about Web site indexes, see http://www.web-indexing.org.

  2. This is excellent advice… especially the part about first writing content with the visitor in mind, then integrating keywords. I tell my copywriting clients to consider why people search in the first place: It doesn’t pay to simply drive traffic to your website. You want to drive the kind of traffic that will buy your products. There are three reasons why people search:

    “I have a problem and I’m searching for a solution.”
    Consider keyword phrases that represent problems on which your clients or prospects may search. For example: “better search ranking” or “more qualified website leads”
    “I have a problem and know the solution, but don’t know your specific brand.”
    This is a good place to add specific phrases like: “copywriter with search experience” or “wind powered turbines”

    “I have a problem and know your brand, but not the specific solution”
    This is where a strong brand keyword pays off. In the case above with “wind powered turbines” you might search on “GE” or “Siemens”
    Remember, people are using longer search strings—3 to 5 words—so be specific in your search strings. Don’t just say “pumps” because that could mean “centrifugal pumps,” “submersible elevator pumps” or “black dress pumps” 🙂

  3. This is very timely advice, we are going to do a desperatly needed web site rebuild in the next month or so and if you look at the current site you see a powerpoint with one page of links at the back like a bibliography.

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