I’ve looked at a lot of websites over the years and helped a lot of clients, and I’ve yet to meet anyone who is totally committed to making their site as successful as it could be.
This is particularly true when it comes to search engine optimization. Most online businesses make a half-hearted attempt to get better search engine rankings, but rarely implement anymore than one or two things that could really help make their site a success.
Which of the following does your website have?
1. Unique Page Titles.
Take a look at a selection of web pages that come up high in the search engine results for any search term and you’ll notice they all have one thing in common: unique page titles. Denoted by in HTML, page titles tell the search engines what your web page is about, and are thought to be a critical factor in how search engines determine the order in which pages are displayed in the search engine result pages (SERPS) for a specific search term.
2. Descriptive Keyword Links.
How do search engines find and index your site? They follow links from one page to another, indexing content as they go. If the links they follow contain keywords and phrases that are relevant to the page content, the search engines will boost the ranking of that page in their results. You should also use keywords and phrases in the site’s navigation (menu), as those terms are (or should be) highly relevant for the page they link to.
3. Keywords in Your On-page Copy.
If you want the search engines to know what your page is about, and rank it appropriately, you must scatter keywords throughout your on-page copy. Keywords in your copy establish your site’s relevance for words searchers use when they’re looking for your product or service.
4. Clean, Accessible Website Design.
Messy, bloated HTML code, 404 errors, re-directs, too many graphics, content hiding behind forms etc., all hinder the search engines’ ability to index your site. And if they can’t index it, they can’t rank it. Follow W3C’s accessibility guidelines when building your website. Better yet, ask your website designer what he knows about standards compliant website design. If he or she can’t answer, find someone who can.
5. Focused Site Topic.
It seems logical that the more focused your site is, the higher it will rank for related search terms. For example, a site that is focused on the sale of exercise mini-trampolines will probably do better for the search term “mini trampolines” than a site that tries to sell a number of unrelated or a selection of different exercise equipment. In addition, it makes sense to create specialty websites whenever possible. That way, you don’t fall into the trap of trying to do too many things and end up doing none of them well.
6. Relevant Incoming Links.
The number of other sites that link to your site’s pages is important but the quality of those sites, and the text used in the link, carries much more weight with the search engines. For example, one relevant link from an “authority” site such as a .org, .gov, or a site that’s proven itself as a reliable source, provides more value than several links from unrelated or “unproven” sites.
Of course, there are other several other factors that go into determining a site’s ranking (far too many to go into here) but these are some of the most important.
They’re all easy to implement, so there’s really no excuse for not taking advantage of them especially if you want to make sure your site is found and visited by as many people as possible. Then all you’ll need to worry about is getting those people to buy something from you on a frequent basis.
And that’s really what it’s all about.
To your success, Julia
About the Author: Julia Hyde is an advertising copywriter and consultant specializing in search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and traditional advertising. She currently runs Creative Search Media, a full-service advertising and search engine marketing agency. You can contact Julia via her website at http://www.juliahyde.com.