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Maximize your SEO

October 25, 2012 — Leave a comment

Below is a brief summary of some quick checks to maximize your SEO (Search engine optimization) and is primarily focused on Google.  It’s a great idea to start your SEO journey with Google Webmaster Tools.

  1. The first decision is whether you want visitors to see www version or the non www version of your site?  Most large organizations keep the www version.  Once you’ve made this decision, be sure to use the 301 redirect to push people that go to your non-preferred site to your preferred site.  Reason to use 301 and not 302 is that 301 is a permanent redirect and is looked upon better by the search engines.  Verify ownership of your site with Webmaster Tools.  Email forwarding is a good idea so that the Google team can get in contact with you if there are any issues.
  2. Doing a background check on your site by looking at the keywords listed in the Google Webmaster Tools and if you don’t recognize a bunch of them, your site may have existed before.  This can be an issue if the previous owner was using your site to spam.
  3. The Fetch as Googlebot feature will perform a crawl for a url that you submit.  Can tell them not to just crawl, but to submit to index so that anytime you update or create an entirely new page, can trigger then entire crawling process and have available to searchers more quickly.
  4. Including analytics code even if you’re not ready to start using it.
  5. Define your conversion and what your goals are going to be.  For some, that may be getting visitors to sign up for the newsletter or buy the product being offered.  Others will want visitors to spread the word or contact a member of the team for further information.  Whatever the goal, make sure that relevant conversion is possible on every page of your site and don’t make users go through hurdles to convert.  General rule of thumb is that you lose at least 50% of your visitors for every additional click required to convert.
  6. Including relevant keywords naturally in your text is going to make your site more searchable.  Consider using common language descriptions instead of sophisticated descriptions.  Maile uses the example of using the term ‘running shoes’ instead of ‘athletic footwear’ because that’s what people actually search for.
  7. Make sure your site loads quickly.  If it takes more than 2 seconds, people aren’t going to stick around.  I like to think that you lose ~10% of potential visitors with every half second it takes for your page to load after 1 second.  Most visitors will start thinking a site is broken and will click away at around 4 or 5 seconds to load.  Consider the chart below.
  8. Make sure to include unique topic, title, and meta descriptions.  Every link should have descriptive anchor text.  Never use ‘click here’.
  9. Check out your Google ranking for your Company name.  You can also take a look at how you rank for other terms through Webmaster Tools’ Search Queries.
  10. Social media can be a great way to drive traffic to your site.  Sites like Reddit can generate a ton of interest in your products and can start generating buzz about your site.