Hack 59 Increase Search Engine Exposure

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Modify the PayPal button code on your selling pages to make search engines spider them more effectively .

The most difficult part of selling your products on the Web is getting people to find them. If enough people visit your web page, sooner or later you will make a sale, regardless of what you are selling. It is just a matter of how many people need to see it before someone buys.

One of the most popular ways people find their ways to web sites is through search engines such as Yahoo!, Google, and MSN. These search engines create indexes that categorize and rank web pages based on their content. Most web page developers focus on the web page's text and metadata (such as its description and keywords).

However, there is one powerful, though often overlooked, tool that search engines weigh heavily: the web page's alt tags. Alt tags are used by nongraphical browsers and browsers for the visually impaired to help navigate through web pages easily. They can be used for a variety of HTML objects, but they are most commonly used in place of an image. This hack shows you how to use the alt tag in your PayPal buttons to increase search engine exposure.

5.16.1 Modifying the PayPal Button Factory Code

By default, the PayPal Button Factory creates the button code with the image's alt tag information populated with PayPal's own message: "Make payments with PayPal?it's fast, free and secure!" That could be useful in search engine ranking if a buyer is searching for sites that sell your item through PayPal. However, you can refine this text to increase the effectiveness of the tag. You can change many aspects of the PayPal form code [Hack #28] and still have the button function properly.

The item in this example is a widget that you are selling for one dollar. Combining that information with a few keywords increases the chances of having your web page spidered correctly. A better use for the alt content might be: "Buy a Thompson's widget here using PayPal for just $1." Here's an example in which the standard PayPal "Make payments..." message has been replaced with your own advertising:

<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">

<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick">

<input type="hidden" name="business" value="sales@payloadz.com">

<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Widget">

<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="Wid-001">

<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="1.00">

<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">

<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">

<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but23.gif" 

  border="0" name="submit" alt="Buy a Thompson's widget here 

using PayPal for just $1">


Applying the modified form code to your page increases the likelihood that when a person uses a search engine to look for a widget using a search engine, she is presented with your web page.

5.16.2 Hacking the Hack

You should also try to include keywords and description tags in your web page head that use the same keywords as you use in the alt attribute. This will give you a higher chance of being ranked for that text. You can also create duplicate form buttons, or even duplicate web pages, that use different sets of keywords in the document data and for the image alt tag values.