Website Design with Search Engine Optimization in Mind
The world of SEO and online marketing can be complex and mysterious. One of the main reasons for this is the rate at which it changes. Google isn’t top dog in the search engine business merely out of coincidence or luck – it has more to do with their ability to adapt and accommodate.
Early on they understood the lengths to which marketers and business owners would go in order to unlock the mysteries of ranking and alter their performance. Because of this Google developed increasingly enigmatic and elaborate algorithms through which it runs every search in an effort to provide the most relevant results. As user preferences change, social media and website designs evolve and marketers find ever more resourceful ways to outwit the algorithms, Google re-adapts and redeploys them. This constant evolution and ability to provide relevant results drives the continued confidence in Google’s search products to the point that they control more than twice the market of all other search engines combined.
Because of this we should place the majority of our optimization resources into appealing to Google and because they are the leader, the other engines tend to use them as a guide when improving the relevancy of their own search results. That means that when you optimize your content for Google you are generally optimizing it for everyone.
So how do I optimize my site?
Below we will take a quick look at three basic search engine optimization components:
1) Keyword Relevancy – Simply put, this is the practice of including the same words in your content that you feel a consumer will use in a search to find your product.
Having individual pages dedicated to each of your products or services gives you the opportunity to target the keywords that best represent that product and do so in the areas that are most important to search engines. Placing these keywords in the page title, close to the beginning of paragraphs and in heading tags is a great start, but the density of those phrases (the frequency of their use vs. the amount of content) must stay within the upper limits of what Google thinks is ‘normal’ for the subject matter. Too many of the same phrases could lead to ranking penalties and not placing enough emphasis on them may leave Google wondering who, if anyone, would have an interest in that page.
The practice of using too many of the same target keywords in a page is called “keyword stuffing” and as a result Google has recently rewarded site owners that use more synonyms related to their keywords rather than tediously cramming in the same keyword repeatedly.
Google’s constant pursuit of more natural and relevant search results as well as their ability to better adapt their algorithms has allowed site owners to concentrate a bit less on the weight of their particular keywords and a bit more on the actual quality of their message.
These keyword thresholds are constantly changing and will always be watched closely by your online marketing specialist.
2) Branded Content Creation – The actual content of your site has always had an important relationship to your search engine ranking but never like it does now.
In fact, years ago Google placed so much more of an emphasis on reputation and inbound linking (other sites linking to yours) that many site owners were creating the majority of their content on other peoples sites solely for the opportunity of including a link back to their own. Strategies like this were obviously counter intuitive to Google’s search relevancy goals so their algorithms have been ‘repaired’ and we are now rewarded more for developing and housing our own informational resources. I use the term resources because this improvement in search relevancy has helped to boost consumer confidence in search results to the point that they include far more product and brand research in their purchasing decisions. In fact, Hubspot revealed in a 2013 info graphic that site owners that adopt this inbound marketing strategy (creating relevant informational content that attracts consumers) actually doubled their website conversion rates – that means that of all the leads gained through your site, providing visitors with valuable and relevant information can double their likelihood of making a purchase.
3) Inbound Link Authority (how many people link to your site)
As we mentioned in the last section, Google has for a very long time, used a sites reputation on the web as an indicator of their importance to the consumer. Fortunately Google has recently made the realization that, while inbound links are important, they should not be pursued at the expense of creating legitimate and valuable onsite content. That said, much value can still be placed in securing links from online directories, trusted sites, social media communities and discussion forums.
Without going into too much detail, the more important the internet thinks you are (by linking to you etc.) the more influence your site has on the search results. This reflects in something called Google Page Rank or PR. The scale is measured from 0-10 with 10 being a more favorable result. Powerhouse sites like Facebook and Twitter tend to rank in the 8-10 range while sites with very little online reputation rank closer to 0 or 1. In theory, if two particular web pages had equally relevant content and a user was to perform a search in Google, the page that had a higher rank wold perform better in the results for the exact same search. Testing your page rank and methods used to improve it are a bit arbitrary because the page rank is generally only updated 3 or 4 times a year but installing an SEO toolbar like SEO Toolbar by SEOBook can shed some light on where you are vs. your competition.
On the subject of competition, if you are new to the world of SEO and looking to explore some ranking tactics on your own, the best first step is to take a closer look at who links to your competition and why. Just searching for their domain name in Google can reveal a treasure trove of information regarding their SEO practices and brand sentiment. By searching for their domain name I mean their actual domain name and not the name of their company. This search for “theirdomainname.com” can help to limit your search to actual links to their site and allow you to see who links to them and whether or not you could take steps to pursue identical links. Taking some time to list yourself in some of the same directories and business listings as well as pursuing positive sentiment and reviews in their neck of the woods can go a long way toward leveling the playing field.
Contact Fusion Website Design today for more tips on increasing your online potential.