words to the search engine ers. The ”bots, always on the
bots, Smith places short lookout for hyperlinks to add to
captions above his images search engine databases, pick up
and inserts keywords in PHOTODISC keywordsinlinks.
a hidden, ’bot-friendly code (known as “alt
tags”) associated with each image. Know your limits
This is an effective optimization strategy, Optimization alone does not cut it for
says Coll, who advocates that businesses“design some companies. To supplement free listings,
for your target market, but optimize for search or while waiting for sites to be indexed, they
engines.” In Smith’s case, the alt tags don’t pay for listings or for ads that show up above
detract from the images but they do work with or beside search engine results. To be effective,
the ’bots. the listings and ads must also be associated
■ SearchEngine Watch,
■ All About Search Engine Marketing,
■ Google Information for Webmasters,
■ Search Engine Marketing Professional
■ Submit your site to Google,
■ Submit your site to Yahoo!, http://sub
Other hidden text, known as meta tags, with keywords that prospective customers use
can also improve search engine results. Meta when searching for products or services
tags, embedded in Web design code, include offered by the advertiser.
page title, page descriptions and keywords Both Sybal and Smith have paid for ads,
related to the site. Search engines do not place with mixed results. Smith ran a Google And the bottom line, when it comes to
as much emphasis on meta tags as they once Ad Words campaign for several months but SEO, is this: It costs money to create impres-did because of meta tag abuse (such as the list- put it on hold as he was generating better sive Web sites. It does not cost a lot more to
ing of popular brand names on sites not related results with his free listing. Sybal, on the other optimize them. As the statistics demonstrate,
to the brand). However, every little bit of opti- hand, spends about $1,000 per month on Web surfers use search engines to find needles
mization boosts rank, and optimized meta tags Ad Words. She pays a fee each time a visitor in the haystack known as the Web. Sites that
should be included in any SEO strategy. clicks on her ad, whether they buy or not, so are well optimized are like shiny needles in
Keywords can also be used in hyperlinks she carefully monitors traffic and sales gener- that haystack—a whole lot easier to see. C
(hot links) on Web sites. Instead of “Click ated by her AdWords campaign to ensure
here for more information on our products,” her advertising dollars are well spent. After Toronto-based freelance writer Paul Lima
Sybal uses more descriptive links—“Postcard all, the bottom line is important for small- (
www.paullima.com) is a business writing
Printing, Webcards, Book Markers” and oth- business owners. instructor and media trainer.
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