Planning, Developing, and Promoting Successful Small Business Websites

Table of Contents

Website Planning
Plan Your Web Site Effectively for Max Success

Types of Websites
Explore the types of Web Site Business Models

Site Types 2
More information on the strategic types of sites

Strategic Planning
Strategy Planning is essential to Success

Strategic Planning 2
Make sure your strategy is up to snuff

Strategic Planning 3
Technical Strategic Planning an Outsourcing Contract Work

Strategic Planning 4
More on Outsourcing Contract Work

Content Planning
Deciding what will go on your business site and who will provide it

Content Planning 2
Determing a schedule for content management

Content Planning 3
Automation for Content Syndication

Keyword Planning Suggestions on preparing keyword research for your site.

Information Architecture
Brainstorming and organizing the architecture of your website.

Information Architecture 2
More discussion on the lower tiers of site heirarchy

Technology Planning Scaleability considerations for large and growing sites.

Tech Planning 2Weighing the value of flash technology.

Budgetary Planning
Creating a budget and using it effectively

Budgetary Planning 2
What type of web host will you need?

Budgetary Planning 3
Labor related expenses for site creation

Budgetary Planning 4
Measuring financial success and ROI

Developing a Web Site

Design and Development
Establishing the importance of credibility in design.

Form Versus Function
Establishing the design priorities of a site.

Writing the Initial Code
Programming considerations for when you get down to programming.

Web Design Coding

Design and Layout


Psychology Considerations

Website Colors

User Satisficing

Validation and Usability Testing

Usability Testing

Search Engine Friendly

Webpage Development

Title Tags

SEO Variables

Promoting a Web Site

Promotion and Analysis

Offline Promotion

Pay-Per-Click Advertising


PPC Tools

Search Engine Optimization

SEO History

Google History

E-mail Marketing

Website Analysis


Planning, Developing, and Promoting a Successful Small Business Website

Small Business Website Marketing
Page 40

Google History and Increasing PageRank

Google has emerged in the search engine industry as the primary provider of non-paid search engine results holding approximately 80% market share when including partners and affiliates ( Google has recently released a document giving search engine optimizers some basis to level the playing field. The document gives webmasters and business owners some idea of what to expect from SEO companies. The Google document claims, “… things to look out for” when looking for search engine optimization firms: (Sites that)

• own shadow domains
• put links to their other clients on doorway pages
• offer to sell keywords in the address bar
• don’t distinguish between actual search results and ads that appear in search results
• guarantee ranking, but only on obscure, long keyword phrases you would get anyway
• operate with multiple aliases or falsified WHOIS info
• get traffic from "fake" search engines, spyware, or scumware
• has had domains removed from Google's index or is not itself listed in Google

While this document has surely proven useful to web site owners, it still leaves search engine optimizers somewhat in the dark as to what is, and what is not ethical. There are also some guidelines given by Google in regards to things not to do on your website including:

• Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
• Don't employ cloaking or sneaky redirects.
• Don't send automated queries to Google.
• Don't load pages with irrelevant words.
• Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
• Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines, or other "cookie cutter" approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.

The above documents do prove useful in keeping sites from being penalized by the search engines, but still do not provide much insight into what may help in the search engines. There are conflicting points of view on what should be acceptable with some people claiming that search engines are not able to keep up with the technology of sites that are not text heavy. Some experts claim sites with mainly multimedia content are seen to be at a disadvantage and should be allowed to employ different techniques such as “doorway” pages and “cloaking". The best SEO strategy, however, is to employ “organic” ethical techniques that will promote the long-term growth of a site.

The most beneficial element of any SEO campaign is establishing large numbers of high quality incoming links. Since Google is the leading provider of free search results and the other engines are mimicking the Google algorithm, oftentimes “Google optimization” and search engine optimization have become synonymous. Google has placed increasing emphasis on “off-page” factors when ranking webpages with their algorithm. In the eyes of Google, each hyperlink from a page becomes a vote for another page, in essence, creating a popularity contest on the Internet.

The official “judge” of this competition right now is the Google toolbar ( which displays a one to ten rating of a site’s PageRank. PageRank is defined as, “a numeric value that represents how important a page is on the web. Google figures that when one page links to another page, it is effectively casting a vote for the other page. The more votes that are cast for a page, the more important the page must be. Also, the importance of the page that is casting the vote determines how important the vote itself is. Google calculates a page's importance from the votes cast for it. How important each vote is taken into account when a page's PageRank is calculated.” (Craven, 2003,

Increasing a page’s PageRank and link popularity is an important aspect of creating a successful SEO campaign. The text that is used within each link is just as important as the link itself and should have contextual relevance to the page it is linking to. Linking campaigns should request that the most important keywords be used in this text. Having many links to a site with proper link text establishes the site as an authority on the subject, and helps to increase SERPs. It is also important to mention that links from “on-theme” sites are known to help a page’s SERPs rank higher as well. A site about studying for the BAR exam will gain more benefit from a link coming from a law school than it will from a link from a site about fishing. This is not to say that there will be no benefit from receiving a link from a site about fishing, only to say that there will be less of a benefit than that of a link from a site of the same “theme”.

With the increasing weight of search engine algorithms being placed on off-page factors, it is very important that any business establishes a strategy for link development. The creation of an industry directory or reciprocal link page is some of the ways that companies have addressed this issue. Link development should be an on-going process that will play a large part of the search engine optimization campaigns for more highly competitive key-phrases. When purchasing or trading links, a developer should make certain that PageRank (the site vote) is actually counted by the search engines and not hidden through javascript or other means. A developer should also always be certain that a site is credible when trading reciprocal links, as reciprocal links with “bad neighborhoods” (sites employing dodgy techniques) can incur a penalty or even banning for a website.

Search engine optimization plays an important role in the promotion of a website. The search engines provide a large portion of new visitor traffic at a relatively inexpensive price per new customer. As with any element of a website, measuring and analyzing cost benefits is critical to the success of a SEO campaign.


(All in a single document) Appendix 1-1: Overture Search Term
Research Tool

Appendix 1-2: Wordtracker Search Query Research Tool

Appendix 1-3: Google Sets Website Theme Research Tool

Appendix 1-4: Reach/ Acquire/ Convert/ Retain

Appendix 2-5: Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth Information Architecture Flowchart

Appendix 2-6: Search Engine Themes Pyramid Information Architecture Example

Appendix 2-7: Webpage Download Time by File Size Chart

Appendix 2-8: Expected Locations for Common E-commerce Elements

Appendix 2-9: Website Usability Checklist

Appendix 2-10: Text Vs.Code Ratio/ Content Near the Top of Souce Code Examples

Appendix 3-11: Overture Bid Price Tool

Appendix 3-12: Webalizer Website Visitor Tracking Tool

Appendix 3-13: AW STATS Website Visitor Tracking Tool

3-14: Clicktracks Website Statistics
Analysis Tool


Author Notes

Additional Bonus:
101 Free Search Engine Optimization Tips

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Planning, Developing, and Promoting a Successful Small Business Website

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