Web Watch

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When you search for information on the Internet, do you bookmark the sites that deliver the results you are seeking?  Bookmarks or “favorites” on some web browsers can be big time-savers when you're looking for information that is similar to what you have searched for in the past. Savvy web surfers have been doing this for a long time. Why start at Google when you're looking for flights to Hawaii? Why not go directly to your favorite travel site to find the best fares?

One of the reasons people start at a search engine instead of a previously visited website is that they never identified the site as a favorite or made it a bookmark. If your website is a trusted resource for chronic diseases, you might want to use some of the real estate on your site to encourage visitors to bookmark the site in their browser to make it easy for them to find it again. You work hard to get visitors to your site and it only takes a little effort to make it easier to get them to come back.

Perhaps the most popular way to drive traffic to your website is buying keywords on the popular search engines. This practice seems to be getting more expensive as competing sites out-bid each other for prime keywords that will drive traffic to their sites. A study by iProspect and Jupiter Research found that being on the first three pages of search results is more important than ever. More users click on results presented on the first page (68%) than ever before. And 92% of search engine users click on a result on only the first three pages of search results. Rather than continue to the next few pages, most people change the search terms or go to another search engine. If your digital assets aren't on the first three pages of search results your potential audience is limited to 8% of people using search engines to find what they're looking for.

Dan McKillen is president & CEO of the HealthDay news service
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