How Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Helps you be found
by Jim Dougherty
You can design a beautiful site. It can look stunning. But, if you have not used Search Engine Optimization (SEO), your website is lost at sea, in an ocean of other websites, with very little prospects of being found.
How Search Engine Ranking Works
Search engines use complex algorithms to decide how to list websites that are shown, or ranked, when a we search for something. The list of our search results is listed on what is called search engine result pages. Everyone wants to show up at the very top of this list. There are things search engines use called crawlers that go out and comb the vast ocean of the internet for certain criteria to decide who goes there. The criteria involved include relativity, keyword usage, both inbound and outbound linkage, site speed, site structure, and session duration (average time spent on the site).
Relevance & Session Duration
When creating a website, it is important to always include fresh information. If you are keeping your information current, the crawlers will know that there is still life in your website and take that into consideration. Updating your site with valuable information is important, anyway. Visiting a neglected site would be like reading the same book over and over. After a while, viewers will just lose interest. This effects session duration, as there is nothing new to read, and the viewer moves on to something else to look at, which could be your competitor.
Inbound and outbound linkage are also very important to SEO and search engine crawlers. These are links either going to your site from other websites or blog article mentions, or links to other sites, where you are mentioning another place to search. Make sure your links open in another window, so that consumers are not leaving your site when visiting any links. The more times there are links pointing to a site, the more these crawlers are saying, “Hmm. This seems important,” and moves the ranking of the site up on the search engine result pages.
Site structure tells the crawlers what pages or articles on your site are important. This is done through internal linking; In other words, a link from one part of your website to another part of your website. It works much like inbound and outbound linking works as a matter of relevance of mention. The more links you have to a particular section of a website, it is brought to the crawler’s attention. It is also important, as mentioned before to keep the content fresh, but also important to remove or archive old content. If content is removed, it is important that any links be removed also, so that it does not give an error message that the page or article a consumer is looking for cannot be found. That will displease the crawler, and your ranking will not improve.
Lastly, we will talk about site speed. If it is taking a long time for your site pages or items to load up, then the crawler is going to have to wait to scan your website. Just like the consumer that is not going to sit and wait for a whole five minutes for your home page to load up, the crawler is going to give up and move on to another site, too.
You can now see that SEO is very important to getting your site to show up in searches. Try to utilize the practices mentioned here and your website will be getting the attention it deserves. If you need further assistance with SEO, please contact our customer care center for live support.
Website Design 101
for Small to Medium Sized Businesses
In our opinion, in most cases, the best solution for a website design will involve simplicity. Many sites these days are designed with multiple platforms in mind, so they will look great on desktop, tablet and cell phone screens. This is called responsive design, and is becoming the norm for website developers. The look of websites has become more streamlined, and in our opinion, that’s usually to the benefit of the content whether it’s an artist’s portfolio, E-commerce site, or a carpet cleaning company’s listing of services.
Here are the basic visual website design principles we try to keep in mind:
• Easy to understand navigation
• Proper use of color
• Proper use of animation
• An easy to use layout
• Pleasing to the eye
• Appropriate to the topic
• Design elements don’t get in the way of the content
• Great content that’s easy to find, navigate, consume, and share
Clean design using a limited color palette has become popular, and allows key graphics to stand out. A well designed logo, or high resolution photo banner can then take center stage. Excellent, yet selective, high quality photography add life to well written copy. Content is key as they say.
Ease of font readability – just as in print design– is also important, and should not be over-looked. This means keeping background colors and text colors contrasting. Think black and white, or contrasting neutrals. (see graphic below for an example of what NOT to do)
Keeping things simple, less navigation is best - come up with the usually 5-10 important pages of content for your site, and use drop-down menus to represent sub section categories as they may apply to each main topic. So for example your “Services” main navigation heading might then have a drop-down menu for your list of 5 services, each having its own page of content.
Links to your social media should be easy to find - usually in the top of the layout or bottom footer area. Also link sharing can be enabled, if you’ve written content - such as blog posts for example that you want visitors to be able to easily share on their own Facebook pages. This helps increase traffic back to your website, and is part of an overall good design strategy.
When programming your site, pertinent contact information for your business is important in search engine optimization. Using your complete physical address with phone number on your homepage in plain text is often placed in either or both the header and footer of the page layout.
Words that people most commonly would use to find your business should be part of the copy for the landing (home) page. The title tag within the HTML in the header is also important for the description for your business and will be indexed by Google to list your company.
Is Social Media