Website, Search Engines, and DirectoriesToday’s internet marketing has grown away from the “tactics” previously used by optimization companies such as rewriting web content with heavy use of keywords and phrases.
Now, the content itself is king, so long as it’s NOT just a saturation of keywords.
The top engine (Google) and directory (Yahoo) are much more concerned with providing their web searchers with useful, relevant, and genuinely informative websites.
Today, content is king. It can not be stressed enough that having well-written, informative content for your website should be in your top ten list of concerns.
Businesses who hire professional copy writers are already well aware that their site content is not only important to search engines and directories, but after a professional appearance (design), it acts as part of the first impression your website viewers will receive of your company.
The Other NineBesides content, there are nine other ways to prepare your website for an increased chance of success in the search engines and directories.
- Appearances matter, even on the web. When surveyed, most internet users have mentioned that they do not feel comfortable buying or using the services of a company that has a poorly done website. Hire a professional design firm to create a look that matches the high quality of your products or services. Make sure your website is not overly cluttered, is easy to get around, and the graphics and colors would appeal to your target market. If you already have a website that has been up for more than two years, consider having it evaluated by a professional for a possible redesign.
- Page titles. Make sure each of your website pages has a title (at the top of the browser window) that explains what is on that page. Having no title, or a generic title such as, ABC Company, is of little use to search engine robots and your actual viewers.
- Description tag. Make sure that each of your website pages has a relevant description tag. This is also helpful to search engine robots as they scan your pages. The information in your description tag is often what a viewer searching the web will find in a search engine listing. Refrain from packing this tag with nothing but key words.
- Image tags. Image or tags are important especially if you have important image content (photos that need descriptions, maps, etc.) or your menu items are images. Website viewers who may surf with certain functions turned off on their browser are have visual impairments might not be able to get around your site without these alternate tags.
- Site Map. If you have a large site with many pages, it is important to offer your visitors a Site Map—a link they can click on that lists all of your site pages. Make sure a link to this page exists from your home page as it is also a great way to assist search engine robots in spidering (following and indexing) all of the pages on your site. Another site map you should create is a Google specific Site Map). You create and validate this site map specifically to help the Googlebot spider your website pages.
- robots.txt. A robots.txt file is a special text file you create and upload to your website to tell search engine robots how to index your site. When adding this file, you also add a special line of code on your page (a tag) that the robots will be able to read.
- Links. It is important to make careful considerations when linking to other websites. Is the site relevant to your site? Does the site also have a professional appearance, useful or informational content, products or services? Would your own site visitors genuinely be interested in the content, services, or products? Many site owners fall victim to what is known as “link farms”—websites with no actual content and thousands of links (most not even relevant to your business). Linking to sites like these can actually hurt your ranking in engines like Google. Also, if you have a link page, be sure to keep the number of links under a hundred so that page of your site does not run the risk of being dubbed a “link farm.” Finally, be sure to regularly check for broken links—both within your site, and those links that go to other sites.
- Blog. Blogging (Blog is shot for Web Log) is still an excellent way to keep your website content fresh and provide your visitors with useful information. For more information, see a previous article I wrote
- Compliance. The term Compliance is being tossed around more and more when talking about websites. A major retailer was recently sued because their website was not compliant for viewing by handicapped web surfers. It is important to review current ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Compliance Guidelines and see how they might apply to your website. Government, financial, and education websites are especially vulnerable to compliance violations.