Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Better For Visitors. Better For Search Engines

SEO isn't about tricks in your code to make it look better for search engines, or about stuffing in unnecessary content. Websites can optimize for search engines the same way they optimize for customers.  Below are five ways to optimize your website for both search engines and your customers.
  1. Speed It Up. I know I harp on this a lot, but having a slow-loading website will make your customers get impatient and leave, and will be ranked lower by search engines. Streamline your website so that your web pages load quickly for pleasurable viewing.  Especially since mobile browsing over a mobile network rather than internet is becoming more popular.
  2. Make It Engaging. Having exciting content on your pages, and clear calls-to-action are both good for your customer so they want to stay on your website, and for search engines to easily 'see' what your page is about.
  3. Give It Good Structure. This step should come before starting your website, but since many merchants already have their site setup, I am going to assume this is post-initial website setup. Take a good look at your website from a customer's point-of-view.  What does your customer want to find?  What links is your customer looking for? If you don't have a large majority of your customers calling you on a regular basis, don't include your "Contact Us" link in the header.  If Google Analytics says that customers rarely search by brand, don't have a "Brands" option as a main search option.  Use your interactions with your customers, and your information from Google Analytics to make your most popular pages, easy to get to, and the focus of your home page.  Do this for all your main landing pages. Also, during this process make note of your site's top keywords or what you want your website's top keywords to be.
  4.  Use Proper Tags and Code. Your pages should be structured in a way similar to a written out paper (yes, we are using some of those skills from English class).  Place the title of your page in a heading tag <h1>Title here</h1>.  Subtitles should be in <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, etc, tags respectively. Headings should not have "Description" as a title, but should incorporate keywords for that page such as "Sock Materials."
  5. Helpful URLs. Each page should have its own keywords, which are included in the page title, possibly some subtitles, the meta tags on the page, and then again used in the page file name. File names should be helpful for the customer and descriptive for search engines. Uses dashes to separate words, and keep pages as close to the root of your domain as possible.

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