QUESTION:
I want to come up in Google for a pretty generic keyword phrase, but I want my site to look really sophisticated (and, that means that I don’t want a lot of copy on it!) I don’t want to just add text for the sake of ranking. Do you think that you will be able to do some programming magic with what I’ve given you?

ANSWER:
Unfortunately, there are very few things any coder can do with just “programming magic” that would really bump your ranking up to the top. Search Engines primarily look at the text on your site when determining what your site is really about. You used to be able to do more with programming, but so many people used the programming end of things to cheat that they stopped giving huge “points” to the coding, and now they assign many more points to the text.

So, now SEO is a combination of programming and actual copy – and the copy gets a bit more weight from the big players (like Google) than the programming does.

Every little bit does count – so I do a bunch of stuff on the coding side that can help, but you’re going to see big results from using your keywords in your headlines and body copy. And Google gives more weight to the headlines than the body.

So, the thing that I recommend you do if you don’t want to have more copy is to pick one or two phrases and just optimize the whole site for those. If you’ve got 1 or two phrases repeated significantly in the copy, then they’ll see that your site is focusing on those terms.

But, picking phrases with less competition will lead to more success. “Women’s shoes”* (keyword phrase has been changed to protect client confidentiality) has a lot of players who have hired SEO firms, and big corporations trying to get exposure for that term, so getting to the top 10 there will be hard. If you can be more specific, at least in the beginning, then you’ll see faster results with the ranking. And, the other good thing about being specific is that the people doing more specific searches on a keyword very close to your product are more likely to buy than browsers just looking for any kind of shoe.

You’ve also got the chance to write headlines on the home page and on the Contact page with more keywords. Just saying “Contact Us” or “Welcome” wastes an opportunity there. You have to make every word count if you’re building a site that doesn’t have a lot of them.