Opportunity #1: The Importance of Link Building Link building is by far the single most important SEO tactic that can be applied to increase search engine rankings. A Web site could have the exact same content posted as its top competitor’s site, with the only difference being the number of in-bound links that Google has indexed for the two sites. For instance, an in-bound link is a link to your Web site that is located on someone else’s Web site.
For the sake of this example, let’s assume that Google has indexed 100 in-bound links to your Web site and 500 links for your top competitor. Despite the content being identical, Google will rank your competitor’s Web site higher, and potentially significantly higher, based on this critical measure of site popularity.
We used Google for this example because approximately 41 percent of all Web searches take place on Google. This is a staggering number. Google’s nearest competitor is Yahoo with 28 percent market share and MSN is a distant third with 9 percent.
To find the number of in-bound links to a Web site, go to Google.com and enter link:www.insertyourdomain.com into the search field and click Search.
Opportunity #2: The Power of Page Titles How many times have you visited a Web site and the Page Title (the white text within the blue bar found in the upper-left corner of your browser window) reads “Home,” some variation of the company name, or maybe a generic header for the content section just entered, such as “Products”? This is a significant missed opportunity, and here’s why.
Google uses the Page Title within a Web site’s code to develop and display its search results. For example, the links representing each of the sites within Google’s search results are pulled directly from the Page Titles of the various sites. Figure 1 shows the results of a search for the keywords “Kohler wholesale” on Google. An AVS Group client is displayed as the number 2 ranked Web site out of 834,000 competing Web sites. The Page Title within the site’s code is “Discount Faucets | Discount Kitchen Sinks | Discount Toilets.” Google pulls this information from the Page Title to create its search results.
Opportunity #3: Use Specific and Relevant Keywords We consistently find Web sites that use a blog of generic or very broad keywords within the META keywords section of the site’s code. A long list of keywords does not provide value because search engines look for connections between the keywords and the content on the page. With too many keywords, there can be little or no connection between the content and the keywords.
You and/or your subject matter experts likely invested significant time and effort to develop quality content. Not taking the necessary time to develop some keywords specific and relevant to each page of content is a missed opportunity.
Opportunity #4: Use Indexable Search-Engine-Friendly Content One of the current Web design trends focuses on achieving more with less by basing the site design around a generous amount of white space, combined with less text and/or content. This design style results in a Web site that looks clean, sophisticated, and high-tech savvy. The Apple.com Home Page is a great example of this style.
However, from a search engine optimization perspective, this design style limits a site’s optimization potential because the amount of high-quality, text-based content within a site is one of the measures search engines use to establish the value of a Web site. Search engines cannot index white space. On the other hand, Web sites that are full of text with little style may appeal to search engines but not to your target audience. As is the case with most things, it is important to maintain a balanced perspective between design and informative text-based content.
Again, Apple.com is a good example. The site’s Home Page is clean and uses an abundance of white space, fine lines, and high-quality images. If a visitor clicks into the Education section, the text-based content becomes rich and plentiful.
Consider it an excellent opportunity to design your Home Page to create the right first impression with your target audience, by communicating your Brand Story and then providing visitors and search engines all of the indexable content they need within the site.
Opportunity #5: Build a Site Map Search engines can only index content that is properly linked through a site’s navigation or anchor text links appearing within content. A properly formatted site map essentially directs search engines where to go within a site, making the process of indexing site content more efficient. Because of this, the site map is literally one of the most important pages of content on a Web site.
A good guideline to follow is to keep the site map to approximately 100 links or less so that it is fast and efficient for search engines to index. If a site map grows beyond 100 links, consider breaking it up over multiple pages. For best results, include a link to the site map as a footer link so that it can be found throughout every page of the site.
In closing, this article highlighted five top opportunities that can deliver great search engine results. Ultimately, effective Search Engine Optimization is more complex than just these five topics. Please contact us if you would like to learn more about SEO. Our team of experts will provide you with a free SEO report and Web site analysis.
The AVS Group has designed, developed, and optimized Web sites since the beginning of the commercial Internet over a decade ago. During this time, our experts developed a proven and powerful Search Engine Optimization (SEO) model. This SEO article shares advice from our SEO experts regarding what they consider to be the top five opportunities that companies should take advantage of when building an optimized Web presence. As an additional reference, we encourage you to also review an earlier AVS Group article entitled Three Steps to Improved Search Engine Rankings.