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Building web sites that appeal equally to prospects and search engine spiders

Let's face it, to be successful on the Internet your site must appeal to two important, yet very different targets: your prospects and search engines robots also known as spiders. The problem is that it is virtually impossible to please one group without aggravating the other.

Case in point: the optimization techniques employed by most web promotion shops are so extreme that they hinder a web site's chances of converting visitors into customers. While optimizing a page's META TAGs to achieve higher rankings makes perfect sense, altering the page content to increase the occurrence and frequency of a particular keyword ruins any chance of presenting a powerful and useful message to your audience. The only thing a visitor sees is a keyword repeated all over the page -- hardly the type of information that will help her solve a problem or satisfy a need.

On the other hand, if you don't optimize your pages for indexing, the chances of receiving traffic from search engines are low.

Enter gateway pages. These specially designed pages serve as a new point of entry into a web site. The difference is that these pages have been designed around keywords. The gateway page offers a link to the appropriate site section, and are submitted to search engines for indexing. The goal is to get the best of both worlds: spiders can properly and favorably index the gateway page while prospects will with a click reach content that can be understood by humans.

In designing these pages, make sure that the links are reciprocal. The gateway links to the appropriate web page and vice-versa. Otherwise, search engines might simply ignore the pages.

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