It’s easy to sit back and think that once your site is designed your work is done, but it’s far from the truth! The following are some overlooked or otherwise ignored proven and tested methods for making sure you get the search engine ranking you need to make a profit!
1.Flash movies are impressive, versatile, high tech and completely utterly useless when it comes to online marketing. Search engines can’t see that expensive flash movie that introduces your website, or any of the content it contains. Do yourself a favor and save a ton of money – ditch that Flash!
2.Your pages should load quickly and cleanly. If your pages take more than 5 seconds to load research has shown you are losing 10 to 20 percent of your web surfers. Pages that take more than 10 seconds to load can cut your business by 50%! 20 seconds or more, Maybe you should start thinking about standing on the street corner with a bullhorn and a chicken costume, cause that will probably get you better results.
3. Every website has errors now and then. Make the best of a bad situation by making sure you have custom error pages for 404 and 500 errors. Not only does it look professional it can also help you redirect a confused or angry customer back to a functioning (ergo – money-making) page elsewhere on your site. Check your server logs (you do know how to do THAT, right,) every week to see if there are any consistent errors and address them immediately.
4.Make sure you keep you sitemap up to date. Think of your sitemap as the map used by search engines to find stuff on your site (Duh – See, This technical stuff isn’t that complicated after all….)
5.Make sure all the copy on your site is professionally written, or at least sounds professionally written. Not sure what professional copy-writing should sound like, Get a trusted friend (or 10) to read your text before you put it up on your site. This is especially important for product descriptions! Sure a picture of your product may be worth a thousand words but none of those words are sale-making phrases like ‘Quality Guaranteed’, ‘Free Shipping’ or ‘Currently on Sale’.
Do some research and find the top keywords on the internet for your product. Use that list to search and find the top ranking sites using those keywords (AKA – The Competition). Once you’ve got the competition in your crosshairs, do a ‘link’ search on Google and Yahoo to find out who links to your competition. Once you’ve got that list, you can use it as a roadmap to search rank improvement. If you can get links from those very same sites you’ll soon start moving up in search listings against your competition.
Make sure each of your pages has its own unique and well written Meta and Title tags. Do not duplicate a random laundry list of keywords on every single page. Not only is it lazy, it can be extremely counter-productive. Search engines quickly learn to recognize and ignore inaccurate and repetitive blocks of spammy Meta text. On the other hand if you take the time to write unique tags for each page with the correct and appropriate keywords included in complete and well-written sentences you will be happy with the results that will be generated.
Find blogs that are relevant to your product and comment on as many articles as you are comfortable with giving your professional opinion. Don’t comment just to comment, rather focus on making a real contribution to the conversation. If you are not sure which blogs are the best for you to participate with perhaps it’s time to consult an SEO company to obtain a list of those blogs that can best help your improve your rankings.
Ask, cajole and beg your customers to write reviews of your products and services on relevant review sites. Look for local and national business listing services, you may not be that familiar with them but if you look you are sure to find a web directory that specializes in customer reviews of pretty much any industry, including yours.
Don’t foget to join up with social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. Don’t over do it by plastering the pages with keywords and hard-sell phraseology – keep it social. All you’re really looking for is to give your customers an avenue for keeping informed and in contact with you, not to mention the link value bump you will get almost immediately.