- Tuesday, 27 October 2009
- By Dave Wilton
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Search Engine Optimisation is one of those areas where there is much speculation about the exact ins and outs, what works and what doesn't. New tricks and methods for success are continually arising however many fail to deliver long term, lasting results. Here is some information regarding content, programming techniques and design considerations.
It's become apparent that it’s not just about programming methods or SEO tricks but rather… content. The key to long term success and for you to be Google Bot friendly is to provide and update your web presence with rich and relevant content. It comes down to owning an area of expertise and becoming an authority figure within your field. The more knowledge you can provide others with, the better your web presence will become.
There are many options available to provide industry insight and information to your audience. We have had alot of success for our clients through news and/or blog implementation. Unfortunately in many cases, we see these mediums often implemented incorrectly, without clear strategy and understanding.
Your websites content, such as the ‘homepage’ and “about us” pages, should address your company/business, serving as informational content to allow viewers to learn who you are and what you offer. Content in this case should be direct, highly relevant, and is usually written in the third person. News articles are best to contain informative company information such as new product/service releases, awards won, events, new client and/or partnership announcements etc... Again this contents ‘voice’ is professional and third person in nature. A company’s blog however is best served as a more casual voice. An extension of the views and happenings of the staff and company. This “voice” or specific tone and writing style is a very important difference between the blog and news platform. What might be suitable for the blog is not always relevant and appropriate for your news readers.
BLOGS.....You can either have a blog built within your website, or alternatively there are many ‘free’ blogging platforms such as e-blogger and Wordpress you can use. Setting them up is quite easy...but a word of warning, blogs require content and you must be prepared to allocate time to keep them up to date and relevant. This is sometimes overlooked and we often have clients commenting that they never realised how much work they would be.
Some other points you may find useful in evaluating blogging for your company...
- A Blog is a great way to create back-links to your website. Start posting information that others are interested in and you will soon find that other website are linking to you. This process is called a back-link, back-links are a great way of improving your online ranking.
- Blog items should then also be carried across any social mediums that you may have operating, eg. Facebook and Twitter.
- Above all, blog content should remain casual, regular, fresh and create a conversation with your audience.
What should I blog about?
Blog about things that are relevant to your brand, business, industry and most of all your customers. Outlined below are some brief examples of the types of things you could choose:
- I sell swimwear - start a blog about what suits different body types (show photos) and mention your products, providing in text links to the relative pages.
- I sell sports apparel - blog about your sponsored athletes, events and interviews (embedding/linking videos from youtube and vimeo)
- I market an event - blog about more informal news and updates that do not qualify for the news and additionally you may choose to do an event calendar with an RSS feed.
Below a list of programming considerations for the purpose of Search Engine Optimisation.
- Unique page titles with relevant keywords. These should not resemble spam and should be as short as possible.
- The use of h1, h2 and h3 titles.
- Create a google site-map for your website.
- Create an RSS feed for your blog and/or news.
- Ensure that your homepage features text that is highly relevant to your company and its offering.
Easy to understand and identifiable URL’s. For example:
What doesn’t work:The range here is far too great to cover everything, however featured below are some of the more common misconceptions that we have come across.
- Meta Descriptions - Google doesn’t take note of meta descriptions for any reasons related to search rankings. The only reason for Google to use your websites meta descriptions is to populate content in the listing. This is only done if no other content is available on your website. Check out this site for more information, click here.
- Keyword Stuffing - As mentioned earlier, it is important to become an authority figure within your field. By spamming readers with repeated keywords, users are likely to leave your page. To create a sticky website, pages should be rich with quality content. By repeating keywords, users will feel as though they are being spammed and this will negatively affect your brand. It is also worth noting that search engines are both a tool and also your audience. Spam can negatively impact the way search engines read your website too.
- Content Rich Doorways - These can in some cases have a short term benefit for your website, however are not looked upon fondly by Google. It is known as bad industry practice and will not work to deliver long term results.
Clients are often so focused on search engines that they forget about their clients. Site design and layout are vital factors for attracting and maintaining visitors to your website, and ensuring the brand identity is upheld. After all its not a search engine thats going to purchase your products or services, but real people. Your website should be engaging for visitors not just a bunch of keywords. With a bit of fine tuning, your website can be easily optimised to maximise user visits and repeat visitation. A product we have found useful is Crazy Egg. This is a simple tool that provides easy to read, user friendly results about visitors interaction with your site. Once applied to your website the reports allow you to gauge what features are working and what are not. The product creates a heat map over selected pages, allowing you to see where users are clicking. This valuable information will allow you to fine tune the layout and design of key pages to optimise usability, ultimately creating a flow of information that will direct your customers to the most important items.
By taking your consumers into consideration and by correctly projecting your brand online, businesses can actively improve their online presence. The online medium is a difficult one to navigate, however by understanding some of the fundamentals, success can be achieved. By effectively managing your companies outlets online, positive search engine optimisation will begin to evolve. A natural progression of increased reach and awareness will occur, allowing your business the opportunity to grow.