Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Website Optimization

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This section deals with those aspects and elements of your website that should be optimized for Google in order to increase relevancy. You want to maximize how relevant your site and pages are to a given search query for a given search phrase.

In addition to optimizing your site for Google, you should also strive to incorporate some best practices into your website design and structure.

Before we begin, make sure you don’t overlook the obvious:

Your website must contain high-quality, useful, timely content that people will actually want to read and take a next-step action on.

It is amazing how often this statement is ignored. You should spend more time creating useful and relevant content, and less time on fancy graphics, gratuitous animations, or Flash – especially on your home page. Remember that Google uses automated software to analyze the text on your site. It will ignore graphics and other multimedia elements on your site - and often your customers will too.

Think of SEO as a long-term investment in your site “infrastructure”. Once your site is optimized, it stays optimized and keeps its ranking over time (but not forever – you still need to update your site on a regular basis). This means free traffic over time. Compare that with paid advertising such as Google AdWords or Yahoo Search Marketing (formerly known as Overture) where the minute you stop paying for your ads, your traffic goes away – it is a recurring expense.

As this section builds on the previous chapter, it is highly recommended that you complete the tasks described in the last section.

Structure by Theme and Topic

The general subject or category of your website dictates it’s theme. Loosely stated, the theme of your website is generally your Primary Keyword Phrase.

Ideally, your site is only about one major subject or category. If you have more than one major subject for your site, say, for example, you sell baby diapers AND garage door openers, you should strongly consider creating multiple sites, one per subject.

The main idea is to separate content onto different pages by topic (keyword phrase) within your site. Suppose that a site sells house plans online and that is the theme of the site (it’s Primary Keyword Phrase). This site also sells country house plans, garage plans, and duplex plans, and let’s say for this example that each page of the site mentions all three plan types.
However, what is each page's specific topic? The different plan types have been mentioned on multiple pages, so each page contains the keywords country house plans, garage plans, and duplex plans. None of the three plan types would be strongly relevant on any of these pages for Google.

The correct way to structure this site is to have one page that discusses only country house plans, another page that discusses only garage plans, and a third page that discusses only duplex plans. Each page is now strongly relevant for one keyword phrase. No “dilution” occurs in any of the pages, and each page should subsequently fair better in the rankings for its particular keyword phrase. This is important.

Next, you would add links on each page so that garage plan pages link only to other garage plan pages, duplex plan pages link only to duplex plan pages, and so forth. By using the applicable keyword phrase in the link text (the clickable part of the link), you can also help strengthen the importance of each page. We’ll discuss in greater detail later how to link pages correctly between pages. To properly structure a site that offers different products, services, or content categories, you should split the content onto different pages. You ideally want a single topic, or keyword phrase, applied per page.


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