The term, “search engine optimization” is often referred to as an acronym, “SEO.” When executed correctly, a well-researched SEO web site will generate massive amounts of traffic. However, if you’re not familiar with SEO tactics and you do something incorrectly with your web site, you could get penalized by the search engines and that would mean diminished traffic to your site.
To help you not make those newbie-type mistakes, this article attempts to give you several fast track lessons of what not to do.
If you’re not using a site map to inform the search engines of what’s included on your site, make sure you don’t link many lines of hyperlinked keyword phrases in the footer of your web site, especially if each of those linked pages contains less than 300 words of fresh content. Pages without sufficient content stand a chance of not getting indexed.
It’s a tedious task, but it’s important that you don’t forget to check the internal and external links to your site. If your hyperlinks are broken or do not point to a live web page, it’s very common that your site will not get indexed into the search engines.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your SEO efforts is to skimp on web content on your pages and to display mainly banners, affiliate links, or pay-per-click advertisements. The search engines will not deem your site as helpful to visitors if all that’s displayed in 90 percent of adverts rather than written content that will help the customer.
When you do not work at getting back links from high page ranking sites that contain the same keyword that’s included in your HTML source code, the value of your site sinks rapidly.
Do not try to manipulate the keywords on your web site to get more recognized hits by using a famous person’s name or a product’s brand name when the products or services you offer have nothing to do with famous people or products. Google especially looks down on that type of misrepresentation.
Be careful with your page’s naming conventions. Avoid using abbreviations, shortened versions of words, or words that don’t pertain to the content or products on a specific page. For example, if your page is about golf lessons, then create a web page with the name: golf-lessons.html rather than lessons.html.
This is part two of a five part series on search engine optimization (SEO). Search engine optimization includes five key areas of work – keyword research, website conversion architecture, on-site and off-site optimization and ongoing website analytics.
Part Two: Website Conversion Architecture
For most business the key objective for search engine optimization (SEO) should not be to drive more traffic to their website. Instead the key objective of SEO should be twofold:
To drive highly-qualified, motivated visitors searching for specific products or services to matching content on the business’s website. Strong keyword research is critical to this objective as discussed in part one of this blog.
To convert website visitors at an optimized rate into leads and customers. Website conversion architecture is critical to this second objective.
What is website conversion architecture?
Website conversion architecture describes the process of designing a website layout and developing content that optimizes the percentage of visitors who complete a call to action. Depending on your business a call to action can include phone calls, appointment setting, e-newsletter sign up, completing a contact form or survey, purchasing a product, etc.
Why is conversion architecture important?
Achieving a strong conversion rate is as important to your return on investment (ROI)) as is driving qualified traffic to your website.
Increased Conversion Rate Only
Increased Visitors Only
Increased Visitors & Conversion Rate
As you can see, if you increase both your traffic and your conversion rate the impact on your business can be much larger than increasing only traffic or only conversion rate.
To be successful a website must have a persuasive purpose that is targeted to a specific customer profile. It is important to analyze your target audience to create profiles based on their behavior and needs. Once these have been identified funnel your different visitor types as quickly as possible to the information they desire. Then determine your primary calls to action to ensure your visitors meet their needs and place them so they are readily accessible throughout your site. For example, if you want people to call to schedule an introductory consultation, make sure they don’t have to click or scroll to find your phone number.
Website conversion architecture does not have to be a complex process. For many websites a few improvements in funneling prospects to the information they seek and providing them with readily accessible calls to action can have a dramatic, positive impact. After all, couldn’t your business benefit from an increase in leads and customers?
This is part one of a five part series on search engine optimization SEO.) Search engine optimization includes five key areas of work – keyword research, website conversion architecture, on-site and off-site optimization and ongoing website analytics.
Don’t just use your industry terminology. Instead think about what words and phrases your customer will use when searching for your offerings. For example you might use “photovoltaics” around the office. But your customers probably search for “solar panels.”
Try to focus on search phrases that will be used by people further along in the buying process. See the example below.
Make sure to look at monthly search volume vs. competitive websites indexed by the search engines for each keyword. The key is to find keywords that will drive optimized numbers of highly targeted, motivated visitors to your website.
Here is an example: Let’s say you are a Fireplace and Outdoor Kitchen retailer. If you were to target the keyword “fireplaces” it has a very high search volume on Google – 2,740,000 searches per month. It also has over 11 million indexed pages on Google. That’s a lot of competition and it will be a significant challenge to get the page onto the first page of Google.
The other issue with the word “fireplaces” is the nature of searchers using that word. People typing in “fireplaces” are probably very early in the buying process. This means they are just browsing for information to determine what type of fireplace to buy. They will be difficult to convert into buyers, at least in the short term.
Now let’s look at a more specific keyword phrase. Approximately 6,600 people search every month on Google for “cast iron fireplace.” While the search volume is considerably less than “fireplaces,” the indexed page competition is also less at 509,000 pages. Plus searchers are much further along in the buying process as they know exactly what type of fireplace they are looking to purchase.
By targeting the more specific keyword you win on several fronts:
It will be much easier from an SEO perspective to get onto the first page of Google.
The quality of the visitor will be higher.
You will convert more visitors into leads and customers.
What keywords are you targeting for SEO?
Our next blog post will be about conversion architecture – turning visitors into qualified leads.