What a whirlwind of change to keep up with! And I’m not talking about the economy. Rumors of Google and Twitter…. speculation of Facebook becoming Twitter…. rapid innovation between blog comment engines Disqus and Intense Debate with one snagging support from Mashable while the other still ignores Connect…. How is one to keep up with SEO??
Over the past few weeks I’ve had a number of conversations with organizations in need of efficiency. Startups, single owner businesses, bloggers who need SEO buy have no idea where and how to start. We talked of specific tactics such as title optimization and anchor text, speculated on link building, and even considered more challenging concepts such as the CMS you are using. One kernel emerged: SEO is discussed as directions for the latest gadget are written; by a technical writer. We talk about SEO using our own language, language that escapes most people who perhaps presume ‘anchor text’ is a Hemmingway novel. From that realization, one concept emerged which consistently made sense to folks:
Think of a search engine like a person
When approaching the optimization of your website, take a step back and simply look at a few pages. For simplicity’s sake, put yourself in Google’s shoes and grasp that Google sees your website exactly the same way you do.
Now, sophisticated SEO’s need not read much further; or if you do, don’t bother pointing out how that statement couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, in reality, Google sees much more (and less) than you do as a person through those complicated concepts such as sitemaps, alt-text, and page rank. We’re going to ignore all those and get down to basics. Without the fundamentals, nothing else matters.
Look at every aspect of the website as you can see it:
1. The title that appears at the top of the browser, OFF the webpage
2. Your address, the URL
3. Page headers or titles that appears on the webpage
If we think of Google as a person, there are some simple ways to optimize your site that will have a huge impact.
1. Is there a title at the top of the browser that is more descriptive than just your blog name? If not, why not? Are you using common parlance or whitty buzz words? Is there a call to action?
People will see that title first in Google’s search results. Google sees that title as primary importance. Make sure it is more descriptive than just your blog name which doesn’t mean anything to anyone. Don’t use cute buzzwords as people don’t search for those. And try a call to action that encourages your audience to visit your site.
Keeping this simple, I’m not going to get into HOW to change or edit the title here. Just look and consider whether or not it is ideal. If not, drop me a line and I’ll point you in the right direction to optimizing it.
2. People can only remember so much and you want them to remember your web address. So read it. Can they? Does it use strange characters and codes? Dollar signs and ampersands? Number strings that no one can possibly remember?
If a person won’t remember your web address, you aren’t helping yourself in search either. Look for information about mod-rewrites or simply stress the importance of straightforward, intuitive URLs with your developers.
3. Does the page itself have a title that stands out from the rest of the content? Is there something bold and obvious that says, “This is what the page is about”
A person wants insight to what they are about to read. So does Google.
4. Content is king. Most importantly, do you have any text on the page or is it video, flash, or product details? Without text, there is nothing to consume, nothing to index, nothing to search.
Make sure the text is unique. Again, think of Google like a person; a person only wants to read an article once and any more than that is a waste of their time. If you are rehashing content, filling space with quotes, or featuring text that appears somewhere else on your own site, you are just wasting space. Write something unique and engaging; something a person would enjoy. Most importantly, write something! Video, flash, a PDF, or a product page with few details beyond specs and prices will, 9 times out of 10, fail against a page with unique text to read.
5. Are the links within your site intuitive? Does the link to your link Customer Service say just that or refer to support, FAQs, or some other form of interaction with your business? None are wrong; rather, which is most accurate?
Do you have links within the body of the text on the page or just in some navigation? People like context and content gives them context.
Did you know I consult with startups and enterprise businesses about executive marketing strategy and online optimization? Work with me now and we’ll get started on SEO immediately.
– There, how much more intuitive is that as a link than: Consulting
Both are capable links but one is much more intuitive to your audience.
Ask yourself. Is your website designed in such a way that its makes the most sense to a person looking at it. If not, you’re missing out on some basic SEO and can make a significant impact on your search optimization without paying anyone a dime to do something so simple for you.