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Last Thursday I (Jerry) participated in the Nashville Technology Council’s Search Engine Marketing Roundtable. Along with two other Nashville Internet marketing professionals, I answered a number of questions posed by a moderator as well as from the crowd. Word was we had broken a record for pre-registration for an NTC event, and the room was packed, so I take this as a strong sign that there is growing interest in search engine marketing.

At the end of the event, we looked at a couple of web sites of people in the audience. Based on what I saw from those sites, as well as the questions asked by many members of the audience, it is my opinion that people in general really don’t understand a very primary rule of search engine marketing:

Your web site should have lots of well-written, keyword-rich content, and that content should be packaged in web pages with as little else as possible.

Two sites we looked at represented opposite ends of the spectrum of web site design, and they both missed the mark from an optimization perspective. The first site was a very slick, dynamic site developed in Flash. The problem with the design, as good as it looked, is that it had little text content for search engines to spider. My advice regarding the site, beyond redesign (and the company had just launched the new design, so that was not a good option) was to make sure that titles and any available HTML elements were optimized, and to engage in an aggressive link swapping campaign. The way to overcome weak on-site optimization is with lots and lots of relevant linking.

The second site was much more bare bones and had much more content, but it was constructed from a clunky, table-heavy design. My advice to this site owner would be to have the site redesigned using div layers to minimize the amount of HTML and maximize the content. Do that, and pay close attention to the page titles and optimization of other HTML elements, and the site would have a good chance of success, especially if done while engaging in a linking campaign.

So remember: it’s all about content and clean design (from an HTML perspective). Concentrate on those two things and you can have a very nicely optimized web site.

For help engaging in your own search engine optimization campaign, contact Work Media at 888-299-4837 or info@workmedia.net