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Website Promotion: How To Get
Top Billing From Search Engines
 
By Jodi Krangle
Voice Talent & SEO Expert
 
Why have a website? If you’re busier than you’d like to be, and all your business is local, then that’s great!
 
But if you’re like the rest of us, you want to reach a larger audience, and it doesn’t matter where in the world they are.
 
You want your business to be GLOBAL.
 
Having a website is the best way to do that.
 
TO BE SOCIAL
 
Even social media needs a place to send people.
 
And social media is necessarily split up into small, easily digestible chunks. It can’t get into the nitty gritty of who you are, and why anyone should care.
 
It also isn’t always the best place to demonstrate your skills - i.e., show off your demos. Not that this isn’t possible, but it’s just not the ideal environment, with all the “noise” competing for people’s attention.
 
UNIQUELY YOU
 
So how do you cut through the noise? You create a website that reflects your unique personality – and you make sure it can be found in the search engines.
 
Here are some reasons why the search engines are the best way to get your site noticed:
  • 100 billion searches were made each month in 2009 (source: comScore).
  • Around $160 billion was spent online in 2009 (source: eMarketer).
  • People do their research online.
  • 89% of consumers research online before making offline purchases (source: comScore). Voice seekers who aren’t receiving their auditions from agencies or casting directors – and there are many of those! – will do the same.
  • The mobile phone market also includes search engines. People are increasingly searching from any medium they have available.
Social media sites are great for helping your site’s ranking in the search engines – but they just can’t replace having a website of your own.
 
WHAT'S SEO?
 
What is Search Engine Optimization, anyway?
There are a lot of definitions – the one I like is this from the wiki page:
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the "natural" or un-paid ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results. Search engine MARKETING involves targeting paying options also – like Google AdWords and other paid advertising methods online.
TURN THE KEY 
 
So where do you start? In a word? Keywords.
 
One of the best keyword research tools is an online service called WordTracker. You can get yourself a free 7 day trial here: www.wordtracker.com/trial .
 
This tool will help you estimate the likely number of people searching for a particular keyword in a month.
 
SEEK LESS COMPETITION
 
When you make a search, save the relevant keywords to a list (within WordTracker), then ask for “additional metrics” and it will tell you things like The Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI).
 
Basically, the lower this number, the more competition there is for that keyword.
 
So ideally, what you’re looking for is keyword phrases that have more searches, but a higher KEI – meaning there’s less competition for them, and it will be easier to get a higher ranking in the search engines for that term.
 
CHOOSING PHASES
 
How do you choose the keyword phrases to look up in the first place?
 
It’s all about “voice over” right? Yes - and no.
 
Yes, “voice over” will be a keyword phrase you should use - but you need to qualify it with other phrases, too.
 
The more specific you can get with these keyword phrases, the easier it will be for you to place with them.
 
FOR EXAMPLE ...
 
Think about how you’re unique and put it into your keywords.
  • Are you a singer too?
  • Do you do impressions and impersonate particular individuals? (This can be a great way to get attention in the search engines, as people search for celebrity names all the time!)
  • Do you do production also?
  • What does your voice remind people of? (moods, particular foods, items of clothing, etc.)
  • What roles are you typically cast in?
  • What categories of voice over do you find yourself doing more often than not? (commercials, corporate narration, telephony, animation, etc.)
All of these can help to generate unique keywords that are specific to YOU.
 
NEXT: META TAGS
 
The reason you’re looking up likely keywords? For your site’s meta tags. Make sure it has them!
 
What you really need is a title and description meta tag.
 
The rest are kind of extraneous - though you can put a keyword meta tag in there if you’d really like to. Just don’t make it half a page long.
 
In the code of each of your web pages, the meta tags go in between the < head > and  < / head > tags.
 
For our purposes, you really don’t need to know anything other than where to put the code.
 
GET YOUR CODE
 
To generate the code, visit www.addme.com/meta.htm.
 
When you fill in the blanks and press the “get tags” button, it’ll give you text to copy and place in between your and code at the top of your web page.
 
You can do this for each page of your site, or you can just generate it once and change the things that need to be changed - like having a different title and description for each page.
 
And though they can follow certain naming conventions, they should be different.
 
WHO CAN HELP?
 
Will your Website Designer know about Search Engine Optimization? Actually, that’s not really part of their job description.
 
It’s always a good idea to speak with a designer who is aware of SEO and doesn’t make you a website that is completely invisible to the search engines.
 
But SEO and web design are two completely separate things.
 
There are some design services that also offer some SEO - and that’s great - but it will cost you extra.
 
In short, don’t expect your web designer to also be your search engine specialist.
 
That’s VERY unlikely to happen. Or if it does, that person will command premium prices (with good reason)!
 
BUILDING YOUR SITE
 
Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re building a website that you want to see do well in the search engines:
  • Don’t have an “entry” or “splash” page. Get to the meat of your site when people type in your url.
  • Don’t build a website that’s entirely flash. That will make it all but invisible to the search engines.
  • Don’t have audio start when someone first lands on your site. (Actually, that’s more of a courtesy than a search engine thing.)
  • Make sure there are meta tags in your site (at least a title and description) – even if you add them yourself (as mentioned above) – and make sure they’re different for every page.
  • Make sure your site actually has some text on it. The search engines grab on to text specifically because that’s where most of the keywords are located. Without text, they can find very little to use. That makes it very difficult for your site to rank anywhere.
YOUR MAIN PAGE
 
Make sure your website’s main page is actually accessible by your main url.
 
For example, if your website is mywebsite.com – don’t put the first page of your site at mywebsite.com/mywebsite/home.html.
 
Put it right off of your main url - usually, that’s an “index.html” file - so that when someone types mywebsite.com into a search engine, they immediately get to the first page of your site. No redirect. They’re just there.
 
It’s a simple thing, but the more you make the search engines work for it, the harder it’ll be to get them to pay attention.
 
And if your page isn’t accessible directly from your main url, the search engines are inclined to believe that the page isn’t all that important - definitely an erroneous assumption!
 
IT'S YOUR DOMAIN
 
When you decide to make a website, buy your own domain name. You’d be surprised at how many don’t bother to do this.
 
Search engines don’t rank free services very highly because it’s too easy for junk sites to be generated through them.
 
So do yourself a favor and choose a domain name that’s all your own.
 
It’s great for branding (you can even include keywords), and in the end, it’ll work a lot better for you as far as promotion is concerned.
 
It looks far more professional to your potential clients, too! And it really doesn’t cost all that much. Visit Dotster or GoDaddy and you’ll see what I mean.
 
WHAT'S WORKING 
 
If you want to know what’s right and what’s wrong with your site, you need to find a way to measure your visitors - how many you get, where they come from, what browsers they use, how long they stay on each page in your site, etc.
 
Google Analytics (www.google.com/analytics) can give you that information.
 
Essentially, you copy a bit of code that they give you, onto each of the pages of your site.
 
If you’re building your website yourself, build this in (it won’t show up in your design at all – it’s only code that allows this free service to track your site’s stats).
 
If you’re getting your site designed by someone else, ask them to include this code in their design before they “hand you the keys.”
 
Most designers, even if they know next to nothing about how to promote your site, are aware of Google Analytics and how it works. Or at the very least, have heard of it and can add the code for you.
 
LINK TO OTHER SITES
 
Once you have a website with some content in it, get other sites linking to yours!
 
When you have good content on your site - or at the very least, enough information there so that potential clients can make an educated decision, you’re ready to start promoting the site to the web at large.
 
The more links you have pointing to your website (that are received in a natural way (i.e., not too quickly or from sites that have absolutely nothing to do with yours in any way), using keywords in the link that are descriptive of what keywords you’d like to be found for, the more likely the search engines will feel your website is worth paying more attention to for those terms.
 
WHAT OTHERS THINK
 
The search engines give higher priority to sites they believe to be authorities in their field.
 
It isn’t you that says you’re an authority - it’s other people. That’s why those links to your website are so important.
 
The search engines are, after all, trying to give preference to the websites that will most fit the criteria of a person’s search.
 
MORE PROMO IDEAS ...
 
Some other suggestions for promoting your website are:
  • Blogging
  • Participating in online discussion groups and message boards (always with a signature!)
  • Sending out press releases (and posting them online – or at least on your own website!)
  • Writing articles for other sites (with a link to your site at the top or bottom)
  • Getting listed in various voice over directories, social communities and online services
  • Participating in social media (LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter)
These things can make sure that links to your site increase at a gradual, natural pace.
 
GOT ALL THAT?
 
In summary, if you start your website from a position of strength, the search engines won’t just add your site to their listings -they’ll actually give you the top billing you deserve.
 
But like everything worth having, it takes time. None of this stuff happens overnight.
 
In fact, good search engine standings for popular keywords can take years. But think about it. So does getting a voice over career off the ground.
 
If you start your website off right, as your skill and your business grows, so will your website’s standings in the search engines.
 
Start NOW. You’ll reap lots of benefits from this kind of promotion later!
 
ABOUT JODI ...
 
Jodi Krangle is a versatile and full-time voice actor based in the Toronto area. Clients have included Ubisoft, Toyota, Ernst & Young, The Shopping Channel, Gold Bond, BMO Bank of Montreal, Blackberry, Jewel-Osco & Fujifilm. Prior to becoming a voice over artist, she spent many years as a professional search engine specialist, and has been active on the web since 1995.
 

 

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Comments (11)
Deb Stamp
3/4/2011 at 11:50 AM
How generous of you, Jodi! Clear, concise, doable. I'm saving this as handy dandy reference guide. Thanks ever so much!
Judy Fossum
3/2/2011 at 6:33 PM
Thank you, thank you for the easy to follow steps and very useful information that we all need to know and that are essential for web sites. This is super information no matter what industry you may be in.
Jodi Krangle
3/2/2011 at 5:17 PM
Really glad you've found it useful, guys. If you'd like another session about SEO at the next Faffcon (and if you haven't attended, you should!), let me know and we can definitely tackle any particular questions you might have. This can be a tricky topic and I'm happy to share what I've learned over the years. Thanks for taking the time to read it! :)
Elizabeth Holmes
3/2/2011 at 12:12 PM
Thank you, Jodi! It's a pleasure to read such a well-written article on technical topics. Your explanations of basic concepts, and specific applications, is invaluable. I'll keep this article for reference for years to come!
Larry Long
3/2/2011 at 6:05 AM
A great article, very well written and organized. Jodi already enjoys a wonderful reputation in our business and her generosity with advice is one of the reasons. I'll keep this article as a reference guide. Thank you, Jodi. Your time and effort is appreciated by many I know.
J. Christopher Dunn
3/1/2011 at 3:25 PM
Bravo, Jodi!

Since I'm at the beginning stages of a site redesign, your article couldn't have arrived at a better time. :)
Rosi Amador
3/1/2011 at 3:09 PM
Thank you so much, Jodi, for crafting this article for the benefit of all of us! I will use this for sure. And thank you John, for sending it out in the universe in your generous way. I look forward to spending more time with you at the next Faffcon!
Pearl Hewitt
3/1/2011 at 12:43 PM
Thank you for your great article, Jodi. I built my own site with Go Daddy and have inserted some keywords in the appropriate places, but I like the idea of WordTracker to determine some additional 'metrics' as you put it.

Much appreciated. Thanks again.

Pearl
Rick Lance
3/1/2011 at 12:01 PM
EXCELLENT info from Jodi! And written in a way that we can all understand. She's given me some tips I was not aware of! Now I'll work on those changes.
Very cool!
John Weeks
3/1/2011 at 12:00 PM
Great info Jodi!
Looks like it's time to get to work on it.
Thanks for sharing!!!
Terry Daniel
3/1/2011 at 11:29 AM
Great article, Jodi! Back-links to your site makes a huge difference as well! :-)
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