Continuing on with our series of top seo factors, let’s talk about website design. If, as I tried to establish in the previous installment of this series, we can accept that a good domain name is the online equivalent of prime retail space in a busy shopping district, then we can logically conclude that a well-designed website is akin to having a tidy, well-organized store.
Interestingly enough, this is one of those qualities that you typically don’t notice until it’s missing. You’re not likely to be moved to comment on a store that you can get around in easily – after all, that’s what you’ve come to expect. But if you find yourself in a store that is constantly out of what you need, or in which there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the layout or departmentalization – toothpaste in the dairy section, for example – you’ll quickly get annoyed with the place, probably abandon the search for whatever you came in for in the first place, and likely never return to that particular establishment. Continue reading “Website Design With SEO In Mind”
This is the first of seven articles that will attempt to demystify important seo factors by drawing direct correlations between the steps you’d take to open a store on main street and the steps you’d take to launch a website to do business online.
In this installment, we’ll be discussing why choosing a good domain name is the same as picking out the perfect address for your new retail store, office building, or manufacturing facility.
Location, Location, Location
You want a prime location for your new business. Some place that’s easy to find and easy to give directions to. Your clients should have no trouble locating you in the busy retail/office/industrial space where you’re setting up shop and they should be able to easily guide their friends and family
there when they tell them what a great experience they had doing business with you.
In online terms, this is your URL or domain name. In other words, this is what people type into the address bar to get to your website (www.YourDomainName.com).
When speaking with small business owners, I often get asked what the most important SEO ranking factors are. At its core, the question is pretty simple: What can I do to my website to make it show up better in search engines?But like most other SEO consultants, I have a gift for offering
complicated answers to simple questions. So this is when I often launch into a litany of acronyms and jargon that induces glassy-eyed stares and nervous ticks in my audience.
In an effort to short circuit my “geek-speak” reflex, I set out to create a set of analogies that make rank factors easy to remember and easy to understand for any businessperson, regardless of their Internet knowledge or the industry they operate in. And, as it turns out, there are some direct correlations between the steps you’d take to build an optimized website and those you’d take to open a “real” store on the town square. Once you see those similarities, it doesn’t take much imagination to then see that the way a search engine finds and ranks your website is much like the way customers in your town would find and evaluate your business.
It would seem so, at least according to one former client. He made it clear that he wanted his phone to stop ringing and that he blamed me for causing the unwelcome disruption caused by the steady flow of prospective new customers.
I’m not making this up. This guy was genuinely angry at me because I had built and optimized a page on his website for the latest model of hybrid/electric car that was due to arrive on his lot in about 45 days.
The manufacturer had already begun a media blitz for the car and there was quite a buzz about the new technology it incorporated. It seemed prudent to make sure my client was taking advantage of that global buzz by leveraging local search marketing techniques.
Matt Cutts just gave the world of SEO a great big warm video hug. It wasn’t so much his declaration that Google “doesn’t consider SEO to be spam,” (I never thought they did) but rather his succinct explanation of SEO coupled with an unequivocal endorsement of search engine optimization as a powerful and valuable tool for getting your website found.
Of course, unless you are an SEO, you’re not likely to know who Matt Cutts is or why his opinion matters. In a nutshell, Cutts is the overseer of search quality for Google as the head of their Webspam Team. When he talks, we listen. And he’s been talking.
In a recent video blog, Cutts answers the question “Does Google consider SEO to be spam.” Honestly, I didn’t know this was even a question. After all, Google has long offered a clear set guidelines and instructions for site optimization in their “Google Search Engine Optimization Guide.” Every SEO currently working has read and referred to this white paper countless times. Granted, it’s beginner-level information, but a good rule of thumb for anyone interested in SEO is “if Google offers it, take advantage of it.”
Another good rule of thumb is “if Google is telling you how to do it, they don’t consider it spam.” So I wasn’t shocked to hear cuts offer a resounding “No” in answer to the question “Is SEO spam?”
But as you’ll see when you watch the video (below), he went way beyond just saying “SEO isn’t bad,” he quite plainly stated “SEO is good.” This was no faint praise. He made it clear that he understands what we do, why it’s important that we do it, the value that it offers to businesses and consumers, and that, when done right it, SEO makes the world a better place. He said that. Really.
Honestly, just watch the video. Cutts says it better than I can. Here are a few of my favorite quotes:
Search engine optimization can be a valid way to help people find what they’re looking for via a search engine.
There are many, many valid ways that people can make the world better with SEO.
If you find a good person, someone that you can trust, someone that will tell you exactly what they’re doing…they can absolutely help your website.
There’s a lot of great SEOs out there and I hope you find a good one to help with your website.
In the simplest terms, search engine optimization – or SEO – is a set of techniques that make it easier for people to find your website on the internet. In more technical terms, it is “improving the visibility of a website within ‘organic’ search results.”
The goal of SEO is to drive visitors to your website to learn more about the products and services you offer and ultimately purchase those goods or services.
Optimizing a website includes both “on-site” and “off-site” techniques.
Yes, in most cases you’re encouraged to take a world view while tending your own backyard. But when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), we feel it’s better to be a touch myopic — to focus on the businesses and customers that are right next door, just down the street, or on the next block.
Remarkably, in this modern age, the best way to reach those businesses and customers is to be present and visible on the world wide web. According to a May 25, 2011 Google press release, twenty percent of all online searches have local intent, which is to say that one in five people using a search engine are looking for a service, product, or business in their immediate area with the intent of making a purchase decision.