Get the Most from Your Website – 10 Simple Steps
In many cases, when we log on to the internet, we are looking for something. While our individual needs may vary, they are usually satisfied with the same instrument, a search engine. In the United States alone, the top search engines pull in over 200+ million searches per day and over 6 Billion searches per month. With statistics like this, it would only make sense to optimize your site to be as search engine friendly as possible to get a bigger slice of the search engine pie.
Search engine optimization is the key to greater efficiency. And there are several ways in which it can be achieved without hiring an expert.
1. Do proper research and planning for the keywords you wish to target. You will want to be sure you are targeting the correct keywords. You want keywords that are highly targeted to your site. For example, say you have a site that sells supplies for indoor/outdoor signs. When planning your content, you may want to target the keywords ‘ink and sign making supplies’ or ‘wholesale ink and sign making supplies’, rather than ‘sign ink’ or ‘sign supplies’.
2. Target the proper niches within your category. Several search engines identify specific theme, or niche areas of websites. By targeting certain niches within your target category, you can gain top spot for top niche keywords. Many times your subpages will hold top rank for these excellent keywords. This is very important, using the above example, if you do not rank as well for ‘wholesale ink and sign making supplies’, one of your subpages may rank well for ‘felt pens’ or ‘jumbo refillable marker’.
3. Review your site navigation and content. Once the targeting category of the website has been planned it is important to review the structure and content itself. After all, once searchers find your site, you will want quality content to keep them interested, and easy to use navigation to help them through their purchase. Poor structure and content will inherently imply loss of efficiency in reaching out to your customers in general as well as through the search engines.
To improve navigation, a site map is of great help to both the customers and the search engines. A properly designed site map will allow the search engine spider to index your site efficiently, while allowing your customer to find the exact page/topic they are looking for. Be sure to design it with care.
Good content has to appeal to both the customer and search engines alike. This can be extremely difficult to balance, as it is nearly impossible to satisfy both 100% of the time. However, a good rule of thumb is to cater to the customers first, as they should be considered most important. If you get to #1 on Google, but your visitors are immediately turned away by poor content, site design, and layout, how many sales can you expect to get?
**While reviewing your content, keep an eye on your site’s ‘keyword weight’ and ‘keyword density’. If the ratios are too low you will not rank very well for your targeted keywords. However, if the ratios are too high, some search engines may view this as keyword stuffing and penalize your site for this.
An excellent way to monitor your site is with a program called WebCEO. There is a great free trial version with no time limit. Just search for WebCEO in any search engine for the free download. Using this program, you can do a full review of your site. I would recommend following the advice very closely, as I have used the trial version to get my site to top rankings on all major search engines.
4. Meta Tags. Your site’s meta tags are still an important part of your content. Although some search engines are placing less weight on these, I would still recommend optimizing your tags as they still hold some weight. You will want your keywords to appear at least once in your ‘title’ and ‘description’ tags, preferably at the beginning. I have found it to be just fine to make your title and description tags identical.
Same as with your content, with your meta tags you will want to cater to your customers first. Be sure your title is easy to read and demands action. Usually, your title tag will be what is displayed in the search engine result pages. Be sure your title attracts a click once a person reads it.
The description of your website, especially the description tag, is also important, as several search engines will refer to it. If you decide to make each unique, be sure to carefully maintain the balance between catering to the customers and catering to the search engines.
5. Be careful when you decide to use certain technologies on your website. You may not want to sacrifice your sites rankings to make your site prettier. Many technologies such as flash, allow a page to be clearly seen by a human eye while presenting a blank page to the search engine if it is not optimized properly. Be sure that the technology you decide to use does not harm your rankings in an indirect manner.
6. Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. You will want to conduct a search on the keywords you are targeting, and attempt to mimic the strategies used by the top ranking sites. You can view the source of many sites, allowing you a sneak peek at their title, description, and keyword meta tags. You can also use the WebCEO program to view other sites’ keyword weights and densities. There is no need to try to reinvent the wheel. Find what works, and copy it.
Here are more tips to tap into your sites’ potential:
7. Keep an eye on your customer feedback. When a customer makes a purchase on your site, ask them for their opinion or feedback. They may give you insight on another advertising angle you can use, or which advertising program is providing the best results and why. You will not believe the effectiveness of several ideas suggested by customers until you see it. This tip could improve your profit by as much as 50%.
8. Constantly review the stats of your website. Use a tracker to keep a detailed summary log of your customers. Some hosting companies include this along with their hosting package. You can also use a third party tracker such as Statcounter.com or Thecounter.com. Using a good tracker, you will be able to view how your customers find your site, what pages they visited, how long they stayed, the operating system they used, the time of day, and much, much more. Be sure to review the keywords they used, and your top referring sites, as this is very important information you need to know about your customers.
9. Review your advertising stats. Whenever you run an advertising campaign, it would make good sense to keep a detailed log of your results. You could create a spreadsheet to track information such as how much the campaign cost, start date, completion date, profit or loss, advertisement used, among other details.
10. Lastly, do not be satisfied after reaching a good position in the market. With some of the highest levels of competition in the history of the search engine optimization, and search engine’s constantly changing algorithms, you cannot afford to become complacent. The only way to stay ahead is to keep running harder than you ever have before.