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"A frustrated actor who recites his lines in the hidden auditorium of his skull."
  – Rod Serling

Word of the Day: Orchidaceous

orchidaceous \or-kuh-DAY-shuss\ (adjective)

1 : of, relating to, or resembling the orchids
2 : showy, ostentatious ("There's no clutter; no outlandish designer flatware or china; no orchidaceous, wordy wine lists . . . and, blessedly, no chef treating the dining room as if it were his personal salon." – James Villas, Town and Country Monthly, March 1998)

In its most technical sense, "orchidaceous" means "belonging to the family Orchidaceae" -- that is, belonging to the orchid family, a very large family of plants. "Orchidaceous" was first used in its botanical sense in 1838; less than 30 years later people were using it in the broader sense of "resembling an orchid" (which usually meant "showy"). Thereafter, one would read not only of "orchidaceous plants," but also of "orchidaceous writing," "orchidaceous colors," and "orchidaceous ladies." "Orchidaceous" is a rather flashy term. It is used far less frequently than common alternatives "showy" or "ostentatious," but it continues to show up now and then.

[Source: Merriam-Webster.com]

Is your Web site orchidaceous?

Well, okay: There's the biggest search engines -- Yahoo!, AltaVista, LookSmart, Open Directory Project…but of course, LookSmart and Open Directory aren't really engines but directories…but so's Yahoo!, although it does have an engine powered by Google…but Yahoo! provides results to Netscape, which is a member of the same network as AOL…

Confusing? You bet it is.

But search engine optimization continues to be an important element in Web site design, creation…and marketing. "Build it and they will come" worked fine for Kevin Costner, but when it comes to making your Web site, well, orchidaceous, it's no match for a good, solid optimization plan.

Making sure that your site is included in the directories and engines is actually the last step when it comes to rankings and submissions. Before you click that "Add URL" button, it's important to know several other factors:

  • To whom is your site being marketed? Who is your target audience?
  • How are they currently finding your site? What words/phrases are most frequently used that lead them to you?
  • What, in a nutshell, do you essentially provide your clients? What single words would you use to describe your business?

Once you've determined what (you think) are the key words and phrases that describe your business, you have to refine once more. If you're in the business of manufacturing widgets, simply deciding that "widgets" alone defines your business isn't going to help you rank well. What kind of widgets you make, i.e. business widgets, sales widgets, etc. helps to narrow your focus even further. Also studying what words and phrases people are currently using to find your Web site (available through your site statistics log) helps you to understand what keywords are working for you -- and which ones aren't.

The bottom line: With an effective optimization plan that's thoroughly planned and carefully thought out, your site will rank well and stand out in an otherwise crowded field.

Web site optimization doesn't have to be confusing or even frightening. It simply requires the same careful consideration that you put into every other aspect of your business: determining to whom you're selling and the benefits of you.

Now get out there and make your site orchidaceous!

kally.ink is the nom de plume for Kally Mavromatis, a freelance marketing communications writer based in Akron, Ohio. Services include email marketing using GreenLiteOnline, marketing communications planning, writing services, and search engine optimization. For more information, contact kally@kallyink.com.

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