The Secret Benefit Of Search Engine Optimisation: Increased Usability
A higher search ranking is what many website owners dream of. What they don't realise is that by optimising their site for the search engines, if done correctly, they can also optimise it for their site visitors.
Ultimately this means more people finding your website and increased sales and lead generation. But are search engine optimisation and usability compatible? Aren't there trade-offs that need to be made between giving search engines what they want and giving people what they want? Read on and find out (although I'm sure you can guess the answer!)...
1. Keyword research carried out
Before you even begin building your website, you should carry out keyword research to identify which keyword phrases your site should target. Using publicly available tools such as Wordtracker (http://www.wordtracker.com), you can discover which keywords are searched for the most frequently and then specifically target those phrases.
Doing keyword research is also crucial for your site's usability. By using the same keywords in your website that web users are searching for in search engines, you'll literally be speaking the same language as your site visitors.
For example, you might decide to target the phrase, "sell toys", as your website does in fact sell toys. Keyword research would undoubtedly show you that web users are actually searching for, "buy toys" (think about it - have you ever searched using the word, "sell", when you want to buy something?). By placing the phrase, "buy toys" on to the pages on your website, you'll be using the same words as your site visitors and they'll be able to find what they're looking for more easily.
2. 200 word minimum per page
Quite simply, search engines love content - the more content there is on a page the easier it is for search engines to work out what the page is actually about. Search engines may struggle to work out the point of a web page with less than 200 words, ultimately penalising that page in the search rankings.
In terms of usability, it's also good to avoid pages with very little content. A page with less than 200 words is unlikely to contain a large amount of information, so site visitors will undoubtedly need to click elsewhere to find more detailed information. Don't be afraid to put a reasonably large amount of information on to a page. Web users generally don't mind scrolling down anymore, and provided the page provides mechanisms to aid scanning (such as employing sub-headings - see point 6 below) it shouldn't be too difficult for site visitors to locate the information that they're after.
3. 100kb maximum HMTL size
If 200 words is the minimum page content size, then 100kb is the maximum, at least in terms of HMTL file size. Anything more than this and search engines may give up on the page as it's simply too big for them.
4. CSS used for layout
The website of Juicy Studios (http://www.juicystudio.com) saw a six-fold increase in site visitors after switching from a table-based layout to a CSS layout. Search prefer CSS-based sites and are likely to score them higher in the search rankings because:
- The code is cleaner and therefore more accessible to search engines
- Important content can be placed at the top of the HTML document
- There is a greater density of content compared to coding
Using CSS for layout is also highly advantageous for usability, as it leads to significantly faster download times.
5. Meaningful page title
If you know anything about search engine optimisation you'll know that search engines place more importance on the page title than any other attribute on the page. If the title adequately describes the content of that page then search engines will be able to more accurately guess what that page is about.
A meaningful page title also helps site visitors work out where they are, both within the site and the web as a whole. The page title is the first thing that loads up, often quite a few seconds before the content, so a descriptive, keyword-rich page title can be a real aid to help users orientate themselves.
6. Headings and sub-headings used
Search engines assume that the text contained in heading tags is more important than the rest of the document text, as headings (in theory at least) summarise the content immediately below them.
Headings are also incredibly useful for your human site visitors, as they greatly aid scanning. Generally speaking, we don't read on the web, we scan, looking for the information that we're after. By breaking up page sections with sub-headings that effectively describe the content beneath them, scanning becomes significantly easier.
Do be sure not to abuse heading tags though. The more text you have contained in heading tags within the page, the less importance search engines assign to them.
7. Opening paragraph describes page content
We've already established that search engines love content, but they especially love the first 25 words or so on each page. By providing an opening paragraph that adequately describes the content of the rest of the page (or the site if it's the homepage), you should be able to include your important keyword phrases in this crucial area.
As web users, whenever we arrive at a web page the first thing we need to know is whether this page has the information that we're after. A great way to find this out is to scan through the first paragraph, which, if it sufficiently describes the page content, should help us out.
8. Descriptive link text
Search engines place a lot of importance on link text. They assume that link text will be descriptive of its destination and as such examine link text for all links pointing to any page. If all the links pointing to a page about widgets say 'click here', search engines can't gain any information about that page without visiting it. If on the other hand, all the links say, 'widgets' then search engines can easily guess what that page is about.
One of the best examples of this in action is for the search term, 'miserable failure'. So many people have linked to George Bush's bio using this phrase as the link text, that now when miserable failure is searched for in Google, George Bush's bio appears top of the search rankings!
As web users, we don't generally read web pages word-for-word - we scan them looking for the information that we're after. When you scan through text you can't take any meaning from the word 'click here'. Link text that effectively describes its destination is far easier to scan and you can understand the destination of the link without having to read its surrounding words.
9. Frames avoided
Frames are quite an old-school technique, and although aren't as commonplace as they once were, do still rear up their ugly head from time to time. Using frames is one of the worst possible things you could do for your search engine ranking, as most search engines can't follow links between frames.
Even if a search engine does index your pages and web users find you through a search engine, they'll be taken to one of the pages within the frame. This page will probably be a content page with no navigation (navigation is normally contained in a separate frame) and therefore no way to navigate to any other page on the site!
Frames are also disadvantageous for usability as they can cause problems with the back button, printing, history and bookmarking. Put simply, say no to frames!
10. Quality content provided
This may seem like a strange characteristic of a search engine optimised website, but it's actually crucial. Search engines, in addition to looking at page content, look at the number of links pointing in to web pages. The more inbound links a website has, all other things being equal, the higher in the search rankings it will appear.
By providing creative, unique and regularly updated content on your website, webmasters will want to link to you as doing so will add value to their site visitors. You will also be adding value to your site visitors.
Optimising your website for both search engines and people needn't be a trade-off. With this much overlap between the two areas, you should easily be able to have a website that web users can find in the search engines, and when they do find it, they can find what they're looking for quickly and efficiently.
This article was written by Trenton Moss. He's crazy about web usability and accessibility - so crazy that he went and started his own web usability and accessibility consultancy ( Webcredible - http://www.webcredible.co.uk ) to help make the Internet a better place for everyone.
Branding Versus SEO
Branding versus search engine optimization is a marketing dilemma that larger companies will need to come to grips with on the Internet. Often companies will need to decide whether to promote their own brand name as their main keyword phrase or optimize for a more generic keyword phrase.
How to Make a Title Tag that Search Engines Will Love
Making the following changes to your title tag can help improve ranking and increase targeted traffic to your website:
Yahoo Dopey, MSN Goofy, Google is Mickey Mouse Lost in a Sandbox
Seventy-two days ago Googlebot first showed up and crawled over 250 pages of a brand new domain in an experiment that has had an odd cartoonish character to it, where unexplained things happen with sometimes dark foreboding, a kind of Fantasia online.
How to Build Massive Keyword Lists
As keyword marketing becomes more and more expensive and competitive, it has become essential when building your lists to focus on the maximum number of phrases and their variations that a surfer might enter into the search engines.
?Google Friendly? Solutions to Graphic-Intense Sites
We all know that the search engines can't "see" or "read" the graphics on our pages. We also know that we need to provide text on a page, so the spiders will have something to crawl and index.
Google Loosing Fan Base?
"Nothing last forever but the Earth and sky." - from Dust in the Wind by Kansas.
Utilizing Popular Directories as Free Link Sources
If you're a webmaster, you've probably spent almost as much time going after link exchanges as actually building your website. Gaining in-bound links, especially from websites with a higher PageRank than your own, can increase your own PageRank on Google, and help your site attain a better overall ranking in Google search results. Proposing link exchanges with other sites that have similar content to your own is a good idea, but the process can be terribly time consuming. So what else can you do?
The Small Screen SEO!
First of all, What is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the art of making your pages efficient for search engine robots in order to get your site listed in the top of their results, preferrably on the first page and within the top 10. We can easily achieve this if we know how the search engine is reading our sites, so we can further tweak our pages and make it to the top.
Now More Than Ever...You Need To Optimize Your Site for Search Engines
As the economy begins to recover in certain parts of the world, more and more online marketers are looking for affordable ways to drive qualified traffic to their sites. That's why, now more than ever, you need to optimize your site for the search engines.
Lets Make Your Website #1
Their is simple way of making your website rank top and search optimized.
SEO, not again!, you may groan. The webmaster world is inundated by articles and "how to's" with regard to SEO (Search Engine Optimization). If you are a rookie webmaster, chances are, like me, you may have embarked on a merry-go-round on the SEO circuit, depending on which article and opinion you were first exposed to.
Martial Arts Webmasters: Time to Optimize Your Site!
A few months ago I was looking through the search engines to see if my website was even found for certain keywords. Well it wasn't. I knew something needed to be done, because I was losing potential customers to my Martial Art and Self Defense Classes. As the Internet grows exponentially, the important of a web presence is important.
Why Fear? Now Change Your Filenames Without Disturbing Search Engines/Visitors And Rank Well
By now, you know that to rank well in the Search Engines,you need to have the keyword in your URL's directory nameand filename, if not in the domain name as well.
What To Look For When Shopping For A SEO Specialist
When, shopping for a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) company/specialist you need to be aware of a few things.
How To Boost Your Keyword Density On Your Web Site To Gain Top Positions At The Search Engines
Let's talk about what keyword density is and how to improve your keyword density on your web site. To improve your keyword density ratio there are three parts that we will need address.
If Content is King, then surely Relevance is Queen!
There has been a lot of to-ing and fro-ing in the searchengine world of late and there are lots of conspiracytheories as to why these things happen.
Google vs. Yahoo -- How To Rank High On Each One
Google likes incoming links, especially links from high-ranking, on-topic pages that include keywords in the link text. Google doesn't like over-optimized, high keyword densities and over use of keywords in headings, etc. like they use to.
Search Engine Optimization Strategies Guaranteed to Skyrocket your Rankings
The point of optimizing your website is so that you will get ranked higher in the search engines and receive more visitors to your site. As a result, you will increase sales and revenue. Consider the following tips so that you will be able to optimize your site and be returned as a higher result in the search engines.
Googles Back Door... Get Your Website Indexed Quicker!
It's the buzz word's going across the internet marketing guru's strategyplatform at the moment?Google's Sitemap to index your web pageswithin days if not hours.
Search Term Suggestion Tool
Overture.com offers a cool function to assist you on your quest to find unique keywords. This tool can also tell you how many times a particular word has been searched within the last 30 days. If you were to enter the word "presentation," the tool would tell you that it has been searched 954 times in the past month. The tool will then display variations of the word that have been searched in the past 30 days. These numbers only reflect the searches done through Overture.com and its affiliates.
|© Athifea Distribution LLC - 2013|