We all have a mental list of things that bother us about websites; things that send us scrambling to another site. The web is huge, competition is fierce and the best thing a webmaster can do is to adhere to the KISS principle. (KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID). Users of the Intuit-Homestead SiteBuilder program to design sites need an awareness of what does and doesn’t work on the web. Read the rest of this entry
Category Archives: Search Engine Optimization
This is something we hear often. I get all these visitors to my site, but they don’t buy or they don’t fill out a form or they don’t do whatever it is that I am hoping they will do when they visit my site. These webmasters have well-optimized sites, all the t’s are crossed and I’s are dotted, they show up well in searches, but still the number of visitors far outweighs the resulting purchases or form filing or whatever action is hoped for.
Granted there can be mechanical or design flaws that might be preventing a visitor from becoming a customer/client, but that would be very obvious when some sales turned to no sales.
So how can it be that so many visit and only a few give us the results we had hoped for? Converting visitors to clients…
I’ve been watching with interest the number of SiteBuilder webmasters who are using tag clouds or so-called tag lists on their sites. This started in blogs, you can choose to use a tag cloud that shows up in the sidebar on blogs. Each time you write a post you add tags and the tags then show up in either the list or the cloud. The more often a word is used the bigger the font gets. All of these words in the cloud or list are active links. Click on one and any post that used that particular word or phrase in the tags will be shown. Interesting concept, but unfortunately the search engines don’t necessarily see it that way. Consider that Google’s blogging platform, E-blogger, doesn’t employ this technique. That should be an immediate heads up for any webmaster or blogger.
What do the search engines see? A conglomeration of words and links that may or may not have anything to do with each other, In ‘the old days’ this was called keyword stuffing and today, while they may be called tags, the search engines can still view the practice as keyword stuffing.
Webmasters need to employ the same good SEO practices with tags and tag clouds as they do with key words in order to stay in the good graces of the Search Engines.
Google’s guru, Matt Cutts, has a short video about tag clouds that will shed further light on Google’s view of tag clouds.
Besides the school-yard spitting match going on between Google and Bing (For more on the spitting match just do a search for Google and Bing click fraud – everyone has jumped on that posting bandwagon.), the latest news concerning Google is that they are about to shake up search results in an effort to reduce the incidence of spammy sites coming up prominently in those search results.
Beware! If your Homestead – Intuit site or article or post is essentially duplicate content, either something ‘borrowed’ from another site, or an article you’ve written and submitted on multiple sites you could well wake up to find it non-existent in searches. Sites that are predominantly links with little original or useful content are also apparently on the hit list – FINALLY
I’ve longed for the day when sites that offer visitors little in the way of original content and consist of nothing but links and clickable ads that will bring the site owner in $$$ and webmasters who copy and use other’s work, would end up in the nether-world of the www. Perhaps that day is coming.
Google’s Matt Cutts quoted on his blog, “The net effect is that searchers are more likely to see the sites that wrote the original content rather than a site that scraped or copied the original site’s content.”
It’s time to take a good, hard look at your Site Builder website to be sure it is going to stand up to the new search standards.
- Does the site have informative content? A bunch of links and ads are not informative content.
- Is it original content? Have you duplicated that content elsewhere? On a blog or in articles posted to different sites? Or perhaps it is content taken from another site?
- Does the site employ black hat techniques?
- Has the content been written for the human reader or the search engines? Sites written for search engines tend to lean toward keyword stuffing
Keep an eye on your site placement over the next several weeks. There are no absolutes and nothing to say that the new algorithm won’t make mistakes and drop a good site. How to request reconsideration of your site.
Simply having a website does not guarantee that the world will beat a path to your door (I’m sure I’ve said that before, but it bears repeating!). There are hundreds of millions (billions perhaps) of websites, so competition is fierce to try and place prominently in search engine results. Face it, if you aren’t on at least page 2 of the SERPS chances are good you just aren’t going to get much traffic.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a must if a site is ever going to improve in positioning. There are many basic components involved in optimizing a site – it can become a full time job and even then you can’t be assured of reaching the top of the heap. And the Search Engines make it harder all the time. In my opinion, they’ve gone over the edge of what truly constitutes a top site.
Things started going downhill when the SE’s began putting importance on the number of backlinks a site had. Supposedly it meant that the more backlinks a site had, the more visitors found it worthwhile which meant that it was a top notch site. Seriously? Is that really going to determine a quality site? You can buy backlinks so how does that prove the value of a site? And, really? how many webmasters are going to link to 100’s or 1000’s of other sites when it’s incoming links to their own site that are more valuable and particularly one-way links (non-reciprocal links – meaning they link to you, you don’t link to them) There’s something wrong with this picture.
It proceeded to get more convoluted with the advent of blogs. All of a sudden Blogs were the be all, end all. Everyone needed one and the SE’s began to put blogs on the list of how to improve link juice to your site. As a side note here I have a couple of clients who belong to a blog for a particular profession. They have begun allowing members to re-post other member’s previous posts. Why? Well with thousands of people posting about a specific profession I believe they’ve run out of original things to post about so they’re recycling! Go Green I say. Many blogs have really evolved into semi-websites. There are some awesome blogs out there, but for the most part they are just posts with little value and are merely taking up space – kinda like this one! 🙂
The advent of social media sites was one things really tanked. Once again the Search Engines went off the mark and began putting emphasis on the nutworking sites as I call them. Again I can only say SERIOUSLY? Anyone running a business has their hands full already – the last thing they need is to have to belong to a dozen social sites where they have to tweet, or write on a wall or dig something EVERY DAY in order for it to do any good. And guess what happens? The information highway becomes more and more diluted and ridiculous. Tweet this! Many of these sites have their value for people who have nothing else to do than be social butterflies, some are a great way for families who want to stay in touch, but for the most part they are valueless. Get rid of them? No, because they do serve a purpose for some people. Make them part of SEO juice? NO!
Essentially there are four kinds of websites:
- Informational sites – sites that provide information about a specific topic or topics. Authority sites, government sites, library sites and so on
- Sites that offer a limited variety of products or a service they are selling such as real estate sites, pet sites, etc., but also provide information about the service or the target for their products.
- E-Commerce sites – These are internet stores that sell products and offer little or no information other than product descriptions
- Personal and Organization sites – Sites about family reunions, sports team sites, organizations, and the like
This is where the true value of the internet lies, not in twitting or facebooking or digging or stumbling. While those types of sites may hold interest or entertainment for some, I don’t feel that the Search Engines should be placing any value on whether or not a website is tied to one of these social networking sites.
Webmasters keep your focus and continue to make those websites strong, with good content and useful information. Add pages, update, add the site to directories and keep giving your visitors what they are really searching for.