You’ve got your place on the web. Now… how do you get people to go there? Using smart search-engine optimization (SEO) techniques, such as using common keywords, and updating your site are two good places to start.
FIVE WAYS TO MAKE YOUR SITE SEARCH ENGINE-FRIENDLY
If you manage your own site, Joseph Franklyn McElroy recommends you take the following steps:
1. Update it at least monthly. It keeps you in the search engine’s rotation of sites to check often.
2. Link to other sites. This is you being a good web citizen; think of it as referring.
3. Have others link to you. Incoming links give you more credibility in the search engine. Make sure all your employees link to you from their social networking pages, get a link on your local Chamber of Commerce’s site, and ask clients to link to you from their social pages.
4. Make sure the blue/gray welcome bar has your city (no “welcome” or “home”) and/or neighborhood. Don’t worry about branding as much as getting your site seen.
5. Keep your keywords top-heavy. Search engines favor words they find at the top of a page.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN HIRED WEB HELP
If you’re looking to hire someone to raise your search-engine status, Joseph Franklyn McElroy offers the following advice:
1. New sites should be created with search-engine optimization (SEO) capabilities included in the cost of the build from the get-go.
2. If your SEO or design company wants to do something new, they need to have good reasons.
3. Find a company wanting a commitment. Be prepared to spend at least six months with a SEO company. Nine months to a year is more common.
4. Run if the company offers guarantees. If there was a way to ensure high rankings, everyone would be doing it.
5. Question them if they want to do hidden text. This is frowned upon by search engines.
6. Linking strategies that sound fishy probably are fishy. Links should be done by hand; multiple blank sites just to generate links will harm you more in the long run.
7. Avoid a company that wants to do anything else that violates webmaster guidelines from the search engines. These could get you banned from ever appearing in searches! Below are each search engine’s guidelines as well as some helpful hints from the search engines themselves:
• Google: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35769
• Yahoo!: http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/search/basics/basics-18.html
• MSN: http://help.live.com/help.aspx?mkt=en-us&project=wl_webmasters
PAGES EVERY NAIL SALON WEBSITE NEEDS:
> Homepage. Include basic contact info high up on the page.
> Menu of Services. Include details listed in the text (avoid using only an image of your print menu). Search engines don’t read any text that appears on an image.
> Products. Include a list and description of all products you use and links to manufacturers’ websites.
> Nail Art. Include photos of your best nail art with text descriptions underneath.
> Employee Profiles. Include tech names, photos, beauty education, interests, hobbies, previous work experience, and industry awards.
> Client Health and Safety. Include details of your disinfection/sanitation procedures; link to state’s guidelines/ requirements.
> Contact Us. Include all information (physical address, mailing address, telephone number, fax, e-mail), a map, directions, names and links to nearby businesses.