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I have been astounded by well meaning designers and web marketing managers who have created websites with a flair, with a stroke of artistic genius, and with a look/feel that excites not only the internal teams but their visitors as well.
Extreme graphics, use of Flash technology, smoothly streamlined, and pixel-perfectly positioned for web folks to admire, be impressed by and navigate within.
I have told them that they have done a good (great) job. I have told them that they have created works with the user in mind – NOT the search engines – which is the correct mindset, and the right place to start, always.
However – the sad truth in two recent cases (yes, large firms too) – is that when I showed them what the underlying data looked like for search engines, they felt embarassed, almost helpless, and then the ”Oh, My God” expression on their face thinking about the loads of dough they’d spent on graphic design, development and implementation initiatives.
See, the pictures I showed them tell it all – what the search engines really look for: words, content – heck, let’s call it like it is - quality content and links. (Off-the-page factors, the links are still considered the SEO trump card of yesterday, today and the future, especially for Google).
So, to protect my clients, I will show you other pictures of a recognized website that is highly ranked in Google, a well known brand. I simply typed “shoes” into Google, and received this page when I clicked the link:
It’s payless shoes! Great looking site – inviting, strong call to action, relevant and apparently well designed at first glance (thinking ‘web site visitor’ now)…
However, looking at this page from a search engine perspective, we see a different view, not as pretty, but now we’re really looking at it with “search-bot eyes“:
There is really no content here at all, only links. My quick disclaimer note is that they have thousands of incoming links and have built a long-time presence on the web, such that content for this (home) page may mean less (no pun intended) to them than you & your own website.
To find out what you can do to look under the covers – try the Lynx Viewer, which is a text-only based browser and what I used in this example. (You can also use Google itself, by clicking on the “Cached” link from search results, and then the “cached text” link on the resulting page).
It is certainly revealing, and hopefully will help you think about how you can structure content and links on your page to support your core keywords and theme(s).
It’s good practice to provide at least 200 words on a page and sprinkle your keywords/phrases throughout: “early, often & naturally”.
I recently came back from the inaugural SMX Seattle, the Advanced Search Marketing Series. It was hosted by Danny Sullivan, a supreme personality in the world of search engine marketing.
There was a lot of buzz around this article from the New York Times, which contains never seen data from the tech teams inside the search giant. For example, do you know what a “signal” or “classifier” is?
It was the first time (?) Google let a journalist into the search board rooms, and Matt Cutts appeared a little apprehensive at first, but you can see his comments here. (bookmark his blog!)
If have a chance to read it – what will change in your daily SEO task plan because of it – if any?
I was recently asked why search engine optimization (SEO) is so important for a website and online business.
When you hear people in the business speak about natural search or organic search results, they are talking about the website listings that show up in the non-paid area of your result pages.
Paid advertising, sponsored ads, PPC (pay-per-click) refers to ads you can purchase/bid for placement and are displayed around your page (top, right, bottom) *format & positions vary depending on search engine.
Search engine optimization is the art and science of tuning your site for maximum exposure in the non-paid area for your key search terms – and optimally, on page #1 of the search engine results pages.
Once a search engine visitor types a query into the search box and receives results, findings have shown that:
It is widely known that the SERPs have a higher credibility factor, and as shown on the picture below (courtesy Eyetools), subjects tend to view data on a page in an “F-shaped” fashion, top-left and staggered downward and to the right. This area has been referred to as the Golden Triangle, since being shown here for your key terms is the most trusted, and collects the highest and best action & conversion.
Explanations of HeatMap:
Red/Orange color: all subjects halted their gaze at this part of the page
Yellow color: More than half of all subjects halted their gaze here
Purple X: Shows a mouse click
Dotted line: Shows where computer breaks on the PC screen (“fold”)
Red lines: How far subjects scrolled down before leaving the page
In the next post, I’ll show you why content on your page is so important, and what the difference between what the human and non-human visitors sees. It’ll blow you away!
Why this somewhat provocative question in my first SEO blog post? (entrepreneur magazine seo blog network)
The <blank> entry in the headline may remind you of school tests you’ve taken before.
Something that makes you stop and think.
My hope is that it also can reflect the message or intention of this blog – to educate, learn and talk about how to deal with online issues, and specifically around SEO and Search Engine Optimization.
Since SEO is becoming a broader field in which to operate, I wanted to start with some fundementals, not just dive right in.
Most folks that I come across think that the <blank> should be replaced with Google, and perhaps Yahoo, or MSN. This is wrong!
The line should read: “Your Information On Page #1 of ……=> “Your Own Page”.
See, if you don’t have your own page(s) set up ‘correctly’, with quality content, relevant call-to-action statements, and with both a user-friendly and search-friendly (in that order!) architecture, you don’t deserve to be on page of Google (which probably was your choice of the <blank> entry, right)?
So, here are some quick’n-dirty tips to get your own website whipped into shape. Amazingly enough, these changes can boost ranking in search engine results pages (SERPS).
Here is a list to get you started – a Beginner’s Success Formula, if you will:
A discussion could be had around what an exclusion of some of these would mean, or what additions would further boost opportunities. For example, what if you only did #3? Would that be enough? (Hint: It’s a good beginner’s SEO Strategy)
What has been your own experience?