Ultimately, your website is a marketing tool for your business. At the end of the day, it needs to work for you. How do you know that a website is working for you? Well, people should be able to find your website and successfully and quickly find what they need. Below are some tips (not tricks) that are useful for any website.
We get this question all the time: “How can I improve my search engine rankings?” One of the first things we examine on your website is content. Believe it or not, you can never really have enough content.
It is true that many web surfers don’t want to read a lot on a website, and many clients tell us “I want to be short and to the point with my content.” But the way to achieve this is not to hold back on your content. Instead, you should actually fill your website with plenty of relevant content and not worry about whether people want to read it all. With the proper structure, you can have the main points on the first pages of your website and have a simple “Read More” link that takes visitors to more meaty content. That way, you are giving people the option to read more if they want to.
Here are some tips to help you develop a website structure that allows for lots of content without overwhelming your readers:
Why so much content? The more content you have, the more keywords and pages there are for search engines to index. This ultimately raises your site in the search engine rankings. As a prime example, the page you are reading right now is not only giving you practical information that we hope you’ll find useful for your business, but it is also giving Control Alt Designs a much better chance of landing more search engine hits, so that even more businesses can learn about our helpful services.
CAD can help get you started by implementing any of these features on your website. However, it always takes a small investment on your part to actively keep your website fresh.
If any web designer promises you that he or she has special inside expertise or secret magic tricks to “guarantee” you high search engine rankings or top placement on search results, beware, beware, beware. All major search engines are now spending lots of money to fight against the very practices that these web designers are promising to you. Search engines have successfully suppressed many of these tactics already, and they are working hard to eradicate them altogether. More importantly, things like keyword spamming, extremely long meta tags, and various other subversive strategies will only make you look like a cheat, and it’s just a matter of time before search engines notice and take action.
The basic principle is very simple. Let’s take Google for example. Believe it or not, Google is a business, and like every other business, Google has a product. What is its product? Search results! What makes its product competitive? Reliable and relevant search results! If a company were able to “cheat” its way to the top of search results, then Google would not be a very reliable or relevant company, and it would not be the multi-billion-dollar success story that it is. Therefore, Google has a tremendous financial incentive to shut down any web designers who try to trick the system.
Instead of playing tricks, it’s much easier, more productive, and ultimately cheaper to just play by the rules. Search engines openly publicize the most efective ways to secure top placement in search results. Google, for example, has webmaster guidelines. It’s best to simply do what the search engines recommend.
Backlinks (or back-links [UK]) are incoming links to a website or web page. Inbound links were originally important (prior to the emergence of search engines) as a primary means of web navigation; today their significance lies in search engine optimization (SEO). The number of backlinks is one indication of the popularity or importance of that website or page.
To draw an analogy, backlinks are like referrals. Would you refer your friend to a company that you knew nothing about or a business that had poor service or bad products? Probably not. What if you could measure the quality of a company by the number of referrals it gets? Wouldn’t you want to do business with a company that gets a lot of referrals? Well, search engines can see if your website is getting referrals (backlinks) from other websites. When search engines see that a lot of other websites link to your website, it’s a clear sign that you may be a relevant and reliable business. So Google for example (concerned about the relevance and reliability of its search engine results) would be comfortable placing your site high on its search results.
The links within your site should be relevant.
Many small business owners don't have much control over the code used to create their web site (after all, they typically hire web designers for that). However, busines owners should still be aware of just how important their website’s code may be. In order for you to get the most bang for you buck with search engines, your website’s source code must comply with certain industry standards and be thoroughly checked for any coding errors that would interfere with search engine assimilation. These precautions also make your site more widely visible across varied platforms (computer types) and in different browsers.
Ensure that your web designer is writing standard compliant code that is validated for errors. A great resource in this regard is the World Wide Web Consortium, better known as the W3C. The W3C is an organization that develops authoritative standards and best practices to ensure the healthy and productive growth of the world wide web. You can also check your own website for standards compliance using free on-line tools from the W3C
The actual terms used in your domain name, page titles, page files and main headings are very important to help your website perform better. Search engines actually look for keywords in your domain name and page titles, so your word choice should be very strategic. For example, www.GallowaysPestControl.com is a much more search-engine-friendly domain name than www.GallowayCompany.com. Similarly, a web page called “services.html” would do little or nothing to improve a site’s search engine presence; whereas “pest-control-services.html” would be much more productive. In other words, when titling your pages, ask yourself, “what terms will my customers likely be typing into the search field? These considerations can greatly improve your business’s accessibility and significantly increase traffic on your site.
It takes less than eight seconds for a potential customer to “size you up” online. During that eight seconds, people are already forming opinions about the credibility of your company simply based on how your website looks. If they have never done business with you, and have never heard of you, and were not referred to you by someone they trust, then your entire first impression comes from these first eight seconds on your website. The tough reality is that, yes, people really do judge a book by its cover. You may honestly have the best product or service in the world, but if you meet a client dressed in rags, you will greatly undermine your own credibility. Websites work in exactly te same way.
Give people the best first impression that you can afford. Here are some useful tips: