In the previous article in this series I highlighted the need for your website to be ready for the visit lest you disappoint your visitor when they come. It’s because many of the top returned sites on Google T&T don’t deserve their ranking, having ended up at the top or first page because of the lack of more worthy sites. Remember I said that in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king? Well Google T&T is replete with websites with eye patches (and even more with wooden legs).
The above is a fact and not my opinion. It’s both a good thing and a bad thing— AT THE SAME TIME…AND…to both the lucky non-deserving site and your own site that’s not there yet. Be advised: a top ranking should be because your site is the master of its domain (pun definitely intended!).
When it’s going good it’s going great…but not for long
How it’s good for the one-eyed site and bad for you
Here are a few reasons:
- It will get a lot of traffic
- It would appear to be a reputable/authoritative site
- There is a higher probability of conversions to customers
- Customers may become loyal as though the site may be bad, the company may still be good
How it’s bad for the one-eyed site and good for you
Here are a few reasons
- A monopoly on traffic is great but an unpleasant surprise awaits
- A disappointed visitor may not return thereby hindering future growth
- The disappointing visit will be mentioned to others
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) approach
I hope you’re not expecting this article series to be a technical treatise on the subject because it’s absolutely not. There’s a wealth of SEO tutorials on the how-to’s and what-to-do’s if you just, of course, Google. The purpose of the series is to establish the framework for it from a Trini perspective that would optimize your results when you apply the nuts and bolts (or have me do it for you).
1. Basic Housekeeping Rules & Basic Housekeeping RULES!
How’s that for a double entendre! There is no replacement in any sphere for simple application of the basics. In fact, many high ranking local sites would be toppled very easily by sites that did just this alone and nothing else. I can cite many analogies to illustrate the importance but I’ll just use the obvious one— building a house— the entire structure depends on the foundation. The only difference is that a one storey house requires a different foundation than for a two storey house but the key remains the same nonetheless— foundation.
a. Best Practices- The website itself
Did you know that website-types vary, like there are Static sites, Dynamic sites and Flash sites? I won’t get into explaining these here except to say that dynamic sites are more search engine friendly which is why I use WordPress and also because WordPress, by virtue of it being a Content Management System (CMS) is also user friendly, which is good for YOU, the user. WordPress also allows for a variety of plug-ins for SEO, like page caching, on-page SEO, etc.
b. Best Practices- Basic Housekeeping
If you start with a search friendly website then your next step is to apply the basic rules, and like I said before Basic Rules rule: Indexation & accessibility, site speed & performance, meta keywords & descriptions, proper page titles, use of headings, optimized images/pages/posts, use of alt tags, content (still king!), internal and external links, XML site maps, regular blog, frequent updates, all combine for search synergy if you view your site like a search engine does.
c. Best Practices- Optimize for search AND conversion
All the technical SEO soundness in the world means nothing if you’re not getting business and if traffic alone is your focus then you don’t see the forest for the trees. What do I mean by this? Just being number one doesn’t necessarily translate into new paying customers. It’s precisely the reason why I spend just as much time on my site itself as I do on SEO. I’m also not hung up much on a first place ranking (but it sure feels good!) because nobody will look at just one website on the first page of search.
2. Targeted SEO Tactics: Building upon the foundation
Once the basic infrastructure in place it’s then time to turn the attention on applying specific SEO tactics. These make the difference for when search engines rank your site. It’s not easy to fool search engines as before. Google’s search algorithm update last year (Codename: Penguin) was aimed at decreasing search engine rankings of websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by using what is known as ‘ black-hat SEO techniques’, such as keyword stuffing, link building schemes, meta tag stuffing, deliberate creation of duplicate content etc. So of course your SEO’s hat must be lily white.
Is SEO Do-It-Yourself or do you need a professional?
There are some things one with a little knowledge can do on their own. But that’s just it, there’s always a difference between a reasonably good job and an expertly done one isn’t there? Given the Trini mentality to ‘chinks’ at every opportunity the job is usually passed on the the IT guy or anyone else who ‘know about computer’ to do the so very Trini thing of ‘trying ah ting’.
There ARE technical SEO techniques that require the use of web developer tools, for example, to find and fix crawl errors, measure domain authority and pages indexed and…ahem…one also has to know how to use these tools and then apply the techniques. There is a big difference between a tune-up and an overhaul.
In my next article…
What I said above is not heavy stuff, I’ve emphasized that the place to start is with the basics and though it’s obviously obvious, it’s obviously not being observed. My next article in this series explains SEO of your website from the perspective of marketing which divides your website into three distinct parts for targeted SEO tactics. Let’s not forget that SEO is a marketing tool and not just some internet thing. It ties into your overall marketing strategy both on and offline…er…you have a marketing strategy right?