Articles in the Optimized Website Design & UX Category

What are the best practices for optimized website design and user experience? How can you design an attractive, user-friendly website that maximizes your ability to be found in the Search Engine Results Pages and drives conversions? Read our expert tips for optimized design and user experience, compelling aesthetic design, website architecture, usability and more.

July 20 2011

On-Page Content Strategy

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If you have ever worked with an SEO company, you know it is said over and over that content is king. Content is the food that feeds search engine crawlers. Having between 200-300 words, per page, of unique content is considered an SEO best practice. However, there is more to it than just the amount of words on a page. As with everything surrounding internet marketing, there should be a strategy for the content you write.

Incorporating quality content that is well researched with proportionate keyword density is a great way for your site to get recognized and ranked by search engines. Taking the next step to ensure your content is fresh and engaging will help lead to clickthroughs and conversions. Nevertheless, the foundational steps to optimizing content are paramount.   There are strategies that are more scientific, and then there are those, which are more artistic. Let’s discuss…

Writing quality content is extremely important. You want your content to read well and be free of any spelling or grammatical errors. Some questions you might what to consider when writing content for your pages are: Does it offer a reason for people to spend time reading? Does the content I am writing offer real value?

Good keyword research is also important when drafting your page’s message. You want to create content using keywords – “the search terms people are using to find your website.” Doing this, in effect, optimizes your page with content that actually “answers” a visitor’s query. From there, look to craft your message with language your industry would use.

Moving on, we come to keyword density — “the amount of keywords used in correlation to the total amount of words on any given page.” In this strategy, you want to be careful not to overdo the amount of keywords; rather, you want place them in strategic places, such as the h1 tag, and use the remaining text to compliment the keyword theme. A good keyword ratio for “best practices” keyword density is 2.45%.

Once you have completed the above steps, you will want to start incorporating your message into a flow using your own words. This would be having fresh and engaging content – the art of SEO. This strategy is what is going to give your visitors that extra motivation to “convert.” Likewise, it is going to distinguish your website in the eyes of the search engines. As this approach is more fluid, it is difficult to provide detailed insight. Rather, I can offer a few thoughts to consider when writing:

Be human when writing. Think about why people are visiting your website. Do not try to overdo, such as crafting a message that attempts to over sell a visitor. Also, refrain from copying what another site says. Simply share your message and include calls to action, such as “contact us today.” This should take care of the engaging portion. Being authentic in your writing style and that will take care of having fresh content.

All-in-all, content is king when it comes to SEO. Take your time when drafting the text for your pages. Allocate time for research before and during your writing, and be sure to get feedback from others around you. At the end of the day, the science is the science. It is pretty straight forward, but taking the science portion and making it read well, while engaging the audience to convert is the art of good optimization writing.

July 14 2011

How well does your site rank?

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When you visit Google or any other search engine and type in keywords that are important to your business, do you see your listings anywhere on page one?   If your answer is yes, great — keep up the good work! If your answer is no, it’s time to consider (or reconsider in this case) your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. When was the last time you reviewed your website from an Organic perspective? If your site is not optimized for the most important and relevant keywords, then you will not likely show up when someone searches for them. This is not to say that all you have to do is add some content to your site and poof — there you are, #1 in Google! Sorry, but that isn’t going to happen. Unlike paid search, which can garner results almost instantly, organic search takes time, patience and a knowledgeable team of SEO Engineers, who are well versed in the industry.

First, you will need to determine where your site is lacking in terms of being “Google Friendly”. We have created a rather robust document called our Search Engine Optimization Review, which I typically like to describe as a website report card. Here is how it works: Our SEO Engineers carefully review a site and provide a detailed written analysis, complete with prioritized action items, in order to get your website in better shape for organic search. This Review will look at every aspect of a website that matters to the search engines and ultimately affects rankings. Just a few topics that are focused on during this Review: domain configuration, navigation structure, content optimization, inbound and outbound link structure and much more.

No matter which tactics you employ, be sure to always follow a Best Practices/White Hat approach. In other words, do not ever do anything to trick or fool the engines. This approach is known as Black Hat and it will backfire eventually if not immediately. If you do decide to outsource your efforts to an agency, I encourage you to dig deep into their reputation, knowledge and experience as an SEO firm to ensure that they are not engaging in any tactics that would be considered unacceptable by Google or the other engines.

May 26 2011

Meta Tag Optimization 101

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Optimizing your web page’s meta tags come with a few additional considerations besides keyword selection. In this blog post, lets discuss some Best Practices for optimizing your meta tags for search engine crawlers.

1). The Title Tag — The Title tag is among the most important factors Search Engine Crawlers look for in SEO. It is meant to define what your page is all about, for both search engine crawlers and users who are searching for your site in either Google, Yahoo, or Bing. Here is an image to see how your title tag appears in the search index.

Meta Tag Optimization 101

It is an SEO best practice to keep your title tag to 70 characters long, including spaces.

2). The Description Tag — The Description tag is also an important factor for SEO. The description tag should reinforce the title tag and provide a little more information about the page to both the crawler and the user who is searching for your site. When writing your description tag, make sure to include your chosen keywords for the page and clearly define what the pages are   about. Also be sure your sentences are grammatically correct, as users will be reading the description in their search results, as the example image below will show.  

Meta Tag Optimization 101

The SEO best practice length for the description tag is roughly 150-180-characters, including spaces.

3). The Keyword Tag — The Keyword Tag is currently not accounted for by search engines, so stuffing a bunch of words you want to rank for is not going to help. A good practice would be to include the keyword or key phrase you are optimizing the page for, just in the event that one day Google makes a change and starts to again account for the keyword tag in their algorithm.      

Once you have selected your keywords, following these guidelines will ensure you are using Best Practices for optimizing your meta content. There is no need to over-do-it when writing meta content. Simply do your best to optimize each page with a single and unique keyword or phrase. Make sure each page has unique meta tags related to that keyword and you will likely see increases in your rankings.

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