Articles in the SEO 101 – The Basics Category

What are SEO “best practices”? How can you ensure the search engines are able to “see” and “crawl” your website? What’s the best way to optimize your website’s content and meta data? Learn SEO basics thought our SEO 101 blog posts, and discover how you can use simple techniques to optimize your website for search.

January 27 2014

Technical SEO Checklist: A High-Level Look at What Could be Wrong with Your Website

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During many optimization projects, webmasters like to focus on on-page considerations such as content, keyword targeting and density, but none of that matters if your website has technical issues that inhibit it from being seen by the search engines. In this post, we take a high-level approach to technical SEO to give you an idea of what you should focus on before you even think about optimizing your content.

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April 16 2013

Evaluating Your Website for Usability

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Website usability is the key to a healthy, productive website and happy customers. Because a site that lacks focus, uniformity and usability can undermine the main goal of your website, it’s important to take a step back every now and again and ask yourself whether or not your website is truly working.

To do this, you’ll have to step into your users’ shoes.

This can be extremely useful, and may help you find answers to questions that frequently plague webmasters and business owners, such as:

Why do so many purchases get abandoned in the shopping cart?
Why is one page/product so much more popular than another?
or
Why is my bounce rate so high?

Ready to look at your website with fresh eyes?

If you’re ready to take a critical look at your website, take a step back and pretend you don’t know anything about your business. Maybe you have a question related to a certain product or service; or maybe you, like your users, have come to a particular page after performing a search for a keyword.

Whatever the case, it’s important to look at your site from a few perspectives. Take a look, for example, at the homepage, an interior page, the contact page, and the shopping cart.

From the homepage ask:

  • Where does your eye go? (Are these the things you want your users to look at? Why?)
  • Are you able to quickly ascertain precisely what it is the business does?
  • Are you able to easily find what you’re looking for? (From the search bar; the page links; and the header and footer navigation.)
  • Is the messaging (both visual and textual) targeted to the core audience?

From an interior page, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the second-level navigation make sense?
  • Do the calls to action make sense?
  • Are you offered links to additional, similar content?
  • Does the breadcrumb navigation help you understand where you are?

From the contact page, ask yourself:

  • Are you offered several ways to contact and “follow” the business?
  • Are you given an idea of what will happen after you attempt contact?
  • Are you offered any “next steps” after filling out a contact form?
  • Are there things on this page that might not belong? (Calls to action, 2nd-level navigation, etc.)

From the shopping cart, ask yourself:

  • How many clicks does it take to complete a purchase?
  • Do I have to sign up, or can I check out as a guest?
  • Am I able to calculate shipping costs early in the checkout process?
  • Am I offered time-saving payment options, such as a saved credit card number or the ability to use PayPal?
  • How long does it take to check out, from beginning to end?

By looking at these aspects with fresh eyes, and an open mind, you will be able to see whether or not your website’s tools, content, and organization, is truly doing what you need it to do: engage your customers with useful content while moving them seamlessly from introduction to conversion.

If it’s not, it may be time to take a step back and begin to think about how you can reorganize your website and retarget your content to make the most out of every pair of eyes that finds your site.

December 13 2012

Importance of Relevant Search Results in Google and Bing

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Relevant search results are the results given back within a search engine for a specific keyword or keyphrase that a searcher would look for.   They are a representation of how many pages (not websites) on the web are considered related by that specific search.   These results have many uses, which include helping a business understand if a certain keyword or keyphrase would be worth spending budget on to drive qualified visitors.

An example of a relevant search result would be searching for the word “movies”, compared to “comedy movies”.   Search for both of these on Google, here are the results that are returned:

You can see in both of these shots, that the relevant search results are 3.6 billion and 449 million respectively.   Obviously, it makes sense that something as generic as “movies” would have a lot more relevant results than “comedy movies”, but we can take this a step further.

Let’s look at “Will Ferrell movies for sale in Cleveland Ohio” and compare it to “Will Ferrell movies for sale in Akron Ohio”:

If I was a retailer that focused on selling movies in Ohio, I can then compare competition between these major cities, or find more niche words that do not have as many competitors.
Additionally, every search engine would give back a different number of relevant search results based on their algorithm and how they qualify content as “relevant”.   For the keywords we researched above, here are the results returned by Bing:

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