Turning Your Home Page Into A Secret Weapon
I'm going to blow away any idea, any concept at all, of what you
think a home page should be about. Your home page must be about
one thing, attracting a major search engine. Its like a beauty
pageant, you want your home page to win the highest mark from the
panel of judges, the rules of a major search engine. You will
need to redesign your web site so your new "index" or "home" page
leads to what you currently call your "home" page.
If you only have one web site, tune your home page specifically
for Inktomi, Altavista or Excite. I give Inktomi a slight edge
because several big search sites use Inktomi as their default
search engine. If you get into Excite or Altavista for a popular
keyword phrase, your site will get enormous amounts of traffic.
Let me explain how it's done. The home page should not be a
traditional index page, about the company page or table of
contents page. So get that notion out of your head right away.
The home page should be a search engine beauty that leads to the
real "home page" or "table of contents". The home page is like a
dummy, a trap door that does well in the search engine and
funnels people into your web site. Once at your web site, people
come to a table of contents, this is your real home page. It
contains all the navigational features you need to get around the
site. All the other pages end up defaulting back to this "table of contents" page. People can never get back to the actual
"index.html" file or "real" home page except through the search
If what I'm saying is not clear, get on the web and use your
browser to go to cell-west.com. When you get there
you'll find a very simple home page with a link that goes to
cellwest product page. This product page is the conceptual home
page that has links to the whole site. The real index page at
cell-west.com, you can't get back to it, there are no links to it, its only purpose was to do well in a search engine
and get you in to the site. And it does that, very, very, well.
Turning the home page into a one way valve is one of the easiest,
yet most effective tactics for a top ten page, read traffic,
leads, sales, and lifetime customers.
Now if you take this concept and apply it to more than one web
site, you could keep each home page tuned for a different major
search engine. One each for the Excite family, Altavista, Inktomi
family, Infoseek, Lycos, Yahoo... are we thinking yet?
Jump up! Shout yes! Thrust those arms into the air. Spike that
ball. Run around the room five times shouting woohoo, but don't
celebrate too long, there's still lots of work to be done.
The art of writing "doorway" or "hook" pages
We call them hook pages, the secret weapon that drives qualified,
motivated prospects straight to your web site. They have been
called doorway pages, portal pages, entry pages, and more, but
they all boil down to the same thing. Hook pages are single web
pages, full page ads for your web site, that are fine tuned to
rank high in the search engines.
The hook pages contain links back to your home page and internal
web pages. Like the secret weapon home pages we examined in the
last section, they act as a one way valve, a doorway to get users
into your site using the most popular tools on the internet, the
major search engines.
Although not as effective as they once were, hook pages are still
a formidable weapon, and one of the easiest to produce. For
example, in one month, the cell-west.com home page got 5543
visitors from Excite, 4790 visitors from AltaVista and an amazing
4140 visitors from hook pages. The site also got 2138 visitors
from Yahoo, even though cell-west.com itself is not listed in
Yahoo. I'll explain this one a little bit later.
Search engines have made it a little tougher to score top results
with a hook page. They've put in anti spam filters. They've added
extra "findability" to home pages or reviewed sites leaving hook
pages with less priority. They've added "trigger" words, words
that when searched will take you into their "reviewed" directory
and bury actual search engine results so far down you can't even
find them. Plus many of them purge and spit out everything but a
handful of pages. But all that aside there's one place where hook
pages still shine. Lean a little closer and I'll whisper it in
your ear... complex searches. Not simple phrases like "cell phone" but power phrases like
"digital cell phone batteries", "nokia 5160 lithium battery", or "motorola startac belt clip".
Here is the strategy. Not everyone searches the web using simple
phrases, true most do, but millions of people don't. Keep the
home pages tuned for generic keyword phrases. Let the hook pages
handle complicated search phrases. If someone is on Yahoo and
does a search for "cellular phones", there are plenty of matches.
Try searching for something more complicated like "nokia lithium batteries" and there are no search results. The results you see
are coming from Inktomi not Yahoo. Inktomi is the search engine
Yahoo defaults to if there are no matches from the Yahoo
directory. These "complex search terms" are where hook pages
really shine, often placing in the top 5 results.
If you have and online store carrying 10 major brands, each
having 10 products, that's 100 hook pages. Plus we need to cover
different keyword densities on the pages. Sometimes a 4.5%
keyword density is just perfect, other times its 8.9%. Then we
need hook pages that are search engine specific, designed to do
well in one particular engine. Then we have various styles of
pages ranging from short to very long and wordy.
I generally focus on two types of hook pages, generic and
targeted. Generic ones are based on multiple generic keywords
were I try to have each keyword appear a certain percentage of
the time. Targeted hook pages take a particular keyword phrase
and are designed with one search engine in mind. When you have 80
- 100 hook pages, and believe it or not, you eventually will, at
least five of them will be doing well in the search engines at
any moment in time. Just concentrate on a couple of generic hook
pages, gradually work to more targeted pages, and follow the
guidelines for creating pages that you learned in chapter 3.
In order to get started, turn to the Planet Ocean newsletters.
They often have starting percentages based on their own
observations, what page length and keyword density are working
best right now. If you've purchased GRKDA you can analyze the top
scoring pages yourself.
Just type a two word phrase in any search engine and you'll get
the top results. Visit each one of the pages and use your browser
to save the pages as html code to your hard drive. Now fire up
GRKDA and type in the same two word phrase you searched on
earlier. Look for keyword densities, phrase densities, where in
the html code the keywords were used, plus how many words and
characters make up the title, meta tags and body.
Now don't go stealing anyone's html code. Just look at the
conditions that make up a top scoring page. I personally use a
two word phrase unrelated to, and less competitive than cellular
when trying to determine what densities are currently effective.
That way I can be sure I'm looking at "real" pages, not pages
using search engine tricks or cloaking techniques to achieve top
The concept is simple enough. Look at top scoring pages, analyze
their code using GRKDA, assemble your own page, upload it to your
server, announce it to the search engines. You should have a page
that comes in the top 20. That is the theory anyway. I've over
simplified for the sake of example as there are many other things
that affect search engine positioning, such as link popularity
and cross linking. Your results will vary. At the very least,
your hook page can act as a catalyst to artificially boost the
ratings of your home page because you're linking back to it.
A key point I need to make here is NOT to tweak the page you just
announced, but to use it as a template to create a new hook page.
Keep adding new hook pages, with slightly different keyword
densities and meta tags. I can't stress this enough! Just leave
the old hook pages to mature and you never know when an old page
will suddenly be "flavor of the month", nailing just the right
title length and keyword density. When I run WebPosition to check
the status of pages, I am often surprised to find hook pages I
made over two years ago are suddenly popular once again.
A good tip I can give you, is to replicate whatever is working
right now. Run WebPosition to find your most effective hook pages
and COPY THEM. Use your logs to find out what your best hook
pages are and COPY THEM. If you're really lucky the search engine
won't change what its looking for and you'll have a whole whack
of pages in top positions.
End of free sample
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President & C.E.O.
Dynamic Media Corporation
The 1st Internet Marketing Store
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