Ok, You’ve set up a logical link system that’s easy to navigate, you’ve taken the time to make sure that you are not using frames for your site, you’ve ensured that you have a robots.txt file set up properly, you’ve used alt tags to describe your images and links and you’ve optimized your meta keywords, titles and descriptions. Now what?
Lets talk about copy, come on, we’ve all heard it, copy is king. But what does that mean? The fact is that copy is what helps distinguish you as an expert in your field, any field, if what you’re saying is relevant to your topic and informative to your website visitors. I know what you’re thinking, “I’ve had informative copy on my site for a long time and it is relevant to my field, why should I change it when it’s bringing in pretty good results”? You shouldn’t.
When developing a website it is critical to have unique and relevant copy to inform your potential customers about your product or service. Another great reason would be to allow the search engines to better understand your subject matter. One of the more common ways I have seen business owners displaying their content is through the Adobe’s PDF format. A PDF format gives the user the ability to download the information in a clear and structured format. While this can be a great way for your visitors to find and read the copy you develop, you could be inadvertently causing yourself harm.
For example, let’s say you have five PDF files which house a majority of your content. The search engines will most likely index the PDF files much like a normal page on your website. This means there is a possibility that when a searcher is conducting a search on a key phrase you’re targeting, the five PDF files could surface within the natural results. You’re probably asking yourself, how could it possibly be a bad thing to have my PDF files indexed and being displayed within the search result pages? While the search engines crawl through the copy of the PDF file and index the content, critical functionality such as a primary navigation is absent. Thus the PDF acts as a dead end for search engine spiders. The same can also be said about the searchers who find themselves at the PDF versus the actual website. If a searcher clicks a natural listing which happens to be one of the PDF files used to display content, they would lose the ability to navigate to other areas throughout the website. This could ultimately result in a loss of a sale as well as a diminished branding experience.
Recently, a coworker asked me an SEO question, “If I have a blog, is it better to have it on my site or do I get more credit for having an external blog link to my site?” This is an excellent question.
From an SEO perspective, I think it is better to have the blog on your own site for the following reasons. When you create good content, people will link to it (a blog, if written well with keywords in mind, is good content). If you host your blog on an external site, you will only have 1 link to your site (from the external blog site to your page) and other sites will link to the site where your content lives (giving the external blog site credit for those links in the engines). When considering organic engine rankings, multiple links to the content on your site will always benefit you more than having only one link from an external blog site.
Its simple, when building a website with SEO in mind, it is important to build community and content. The more topics you can add to your blog, which are relevant to your site, the more reach you have. When people see the content is relevant to their site as well, they will link to it, and when they link to it, you are more likely to reach your target audience. This is all contingent on relevant copy of course.