Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is now the buzzword since the Google Panda update and the recent changes in search result algorithms by major search engines like Google and Bing. Most small businessmen and entrepreneurs are overwhelmed by huge amount of information on SEO and in most cases land up being confused about what is necessary and what is additional value for ranking on search engines results pages. We thought we would compile a quick list of the same for your quick reference.
So, if you have a website which has less than 50 pages, then this will be most helpful for effective SEO of your website. Ensuring SEO hygiene will increase your chances of ranking your website on search engines and thus bring in organic visitors which will help you average your cost of acquisition.
To begin with, ensure that you action a 301 redirect to preferred domain. Let’s say your domain is virtualsnipers.com, then you will have 2 versions, the www and the non-www. You need to ensure that you are using only one of these. Why 301 or why not 302? – Because 301 is a permanent redirect and tells apps and search engines to transfer all indexing properties from the source to the target.
Verify website ownership by signing up for Google webmaster tools. If you have been signed up by your SEO for Google and Bing Webmaster tools, then you are missing a lot of information which would help you optimize your site better. Better do it right away or contact us and we will do it for you. While on the Google webmaster console, signup for email forwarding. This allows Google to send you important notifications in case the website is hacked or if there is malware or is having crawling issues or if there are a high number of unreachable URLs (spam).
Perform background check on the domain name. This is very important in case you have purchased the domain from another owner. If the domain was previously owned by spammers then the possibility of ranking is really low. One good way to check – is to see the keywords, the website is getting visitors from in the webmaster tools (note unwanted keywords you may be ranking on) and also check to see the pages of the site which are already indexed. This can be done by performing a ‘site:yourdomainname.com’ search on Google search. If you notice any problems, then you can approach webmaster support for a probable solution of contact us. The webmaster guidelines can be checked on http://gool.gl/5cCLw. For questions about penalties and reconsiderations you can visit http://gool.gl/NEKwV
Activate fetch as a Google bot feature : An interesting feature, this allows you to check if the redirects on the website are are working properly and the content that has been downloaded by the bot. This once again helps you understand if your web pages are being crawled as you expected them to be. An interesting add-on – you can tell Google to not just crawl but to submit to index for that URL. In this way any time a page is updated or a new page is created you can trigger the entire process thereby making the fresh content available on the search pages faster. Getting better isn’t it.
Include analytics code whether it is Google or any other analytics on all your website pages. Start collecting data even if you are not going to use it. Trust me you are going to need it when your business grows and hire someone to manage your internet marketing. Data is the key to decision making process for online marketing success.
Spend time on Strategic site design – You must aim to create a great experience for the visitors to your website. Every website gets people of different types and personas. Consider the target audience – individuals, parents, kids, investors, enthusiasts, media etc when building the site and its content.
Some quick tips here:
Work on Navigation and usability features
Ensure fresh, logical and focused content.
Just adding content for the sake of SEO can get penalized if your website is seen and being over SEO’d.
Keep pages small. Long pages with too much information will drive the visitors away.
Define conversions – This is critical for you to understand the success of each page. Essentially you define user actions for each page. This helps you track user behavior and conversions from each page better. for e.g. a newsletter signup, buy a product, try a product, share the link etc. Relevant conversions on each page will make it possible to understand what is working and what is not and you will not force users to make extra clicks.
The Content Dilemma – Content is the buzzword. Do some smart website content planning well in advance. Keyword relevancy on each page is very important. These keywords are like query terms which normal people are using to find product or services you provide. Do a robust keyword research and find the most common search terms and include them in your content naturally and not forcefully add them in the content (this can be viewed as spam). Quick tip – consider misspellings too – many user misspell keywords and these can be quick to gain rankings on. Understand what the customers will be looking for in the content. This will ensure that visitors always find what they are looking for and this increase time spent on your website and also better conversions.
Some good questions to consider from a visitors perspective are:
Is the product reviewed?
What possible uses can the product be put to?
What if the product doesn’t work as claimed (customer satisfaction policy)?
Are there any do’s and don’ts associated with product / service usage?
Is there a guarantee / warranty?
What else should every page have?
Unique title (this displays in search results)
A unique meta description for the search results snippet
If you have a non dynamic website then you should have keywords in the file name in lower case and hyphen separated.
A much forgotten but interesting aspect is to have a “descriptive anchor text for every link” for both internal and external links. This can be keyword rich and adds to the internal link juice thereby boosting SEO.
Some tips which you obviously know and if you didn’t then you will now
Do not hire SEO’s who guarantee results in a period of time. You might end up on the losing side. We can help understand more when you contact us.
Do not participate in link schemes or buying links to pass page rank in expectations of a faster ranking. You might lose ranking just as fast.
Focus on website content and layout more than fanciness. Good website design surely helps but not if you do not have the right content.
Page load time: How many times have you wondered about your websites page load time? I am sure it’s not been at the top of your mind. This aspect is generally overlooked and not understood clearly, especially from the perspective of SEO. Google aims for half a second page load time but anywhere between 1-5 seconds would be good.
Basic keywords Ranking : You must check that you rank for your company name and then understand how you rank for other terms using webmaster tools search queries (http://goo.gl/VM31L) Quick Tip – To rank well and to stay on top, provide an awesome product / service and generate buzz. The more the visitors to your website from relevant sites and keywords, the better and faster are the changes of ranking.
Social Media Marketing : We all are in a socially connected world and It’s terrific, really!. Not only does social media allow you to diversify your marketing approach but presents a really unique opportunity to spread the word. While there are many social media platforms, you need to focus your energies where your audience is. Remember to play your natural strengths – With limited resources, small businesses do not have the ability to hire social media experts and thus it’s wise to look for some internal experts and if you look closely, you will find them for sure. If a colleague likes to tweet, then let him go ahead and promote or a sales team member loves Facebook let him take charge. This will add more excitement to the job and ensure better productivity.
And remember that the final conversions happen on your site, so stay focused and stay ready.