Considerations when building a new site
I have just completed a simple sheet of information for a couple of clients who are looking to build a new website. They needed a little guidance as how to identify keywords and how to use them effectively... If you are a very small, or start up business who can't justify buying in someone like me, then the advice I gave to them will probably stand you in good stead for your website.
Targeting the right market – Keyword Selection
- What Key Words or Search Terms are people using to find products and services similar to those available via your website?
- Which of these keywords already drive acceptable levels of traffic to the site?
- Which of these keywords aren’t working for you, but you feel (or evidence suggests) that they work well for your competitors?
A simple measurement of website success is the ratio of visitors to enquires or sales. The process of a web visitor turning into a web enquirer or a web buyer is we call a ‘conversion’.
- Which keywords currently provide most conversions?
Now create matrix or chart that analyses the terms you believe are valuable and compares traffic, relevancy and the likelihood of conversions for each. This will allow you to make the best informed decisions about which terms to target.
The keywords selected must be used appropriately throughout the website in the main navigation, copy and text links.
This is not a one off approach, analysing your website’s traffic logs will provide data which can be used to refine and improve on keywords selection and targeting.
Optimal Keyword Usage
Wherever possible the most appropriate keywords must be used in the folder name and file name of each page. With a little additional planning this is quite simple to implement in the directory structure of the site. Content Management systems that place question marks (?) and ampersands (&) in URLs of the web pages should be avoided, while search engines are becoming more adept at getting around these symbols, it is best practice to stick with forward slashes (/), underscores (_) and dashes (-) if possible.
"http://www.car-dealer-website.co.uk/php/a3_offer.php" might perform better as "http://www.car-dealer-website.co.uk/new/audi/a3_offer.php"
"http://www.car-dealer-website.co.uk/php/special_offers.php#swindon" might perform better as
A menu across the top of the page or down the left of the page is optimal for both usability and search engines. A text based menu is preferred for the menu items, as this is more accessible and also improves the weighting for the landing pages. However, if an image based menu is used a duplicate of this as a text menu must be placed in the footer of the page.
This is what will show as the ‘headline’ on Google so it’s is important to make this attention grabbing copy while using the most appropriate keywords. At the time of writing using a maximum of 100 characters and a maximum of 3 keywords is optimal.
<title>Car Dealer Website > New Cars > A3</title> might perform better as
<title>New Audi A3 UK Special Offer – Discount Audi A3 – Order Online</title>
Page Meta Tags
- Description – compose as a sub heading to the Page Title, use up to 100 characters and 3 keywords
- Keywords – use 3 keywords without repetition or punctuation
- Robots – a must to include to show spiders and robots the pages you want indexed
<meta name="description" content="Choose your new Audi A3, select the options and see the discounted price ">
<meta name="keywords" content="audi a3 uk discount">
<meta name="robots" content="index,follow">
- Copy – using keyword rich copy will improve the weighting search engines will apply to the page.
- Links – using keyword rich links will improve the weighting search engines will apply to the landing page. Utilising the ‘Title’ attribute will also improve this.
- Images – acceptable ‘Alt Text’ is essential for accessibility.
An html sitemap will encourage spiders and robots to index pages that might be quite within the site. Sitemaps (XML & TXT) should also be created and uploaded to Google & Yahoo! upon launch of the new site, with regular updates at least monthly.
Old Pages – Redirect
Prior to launch, all pages listed in the major search engines should be listed and then mapped to relevant pages on the new site. The old pages should then be redirected using search engine friendly 301 redirects and the new pages will likely inherit the PageRank attributes of the old ones.
Every site is different, so there is no real one size fit
s all approach, but hopefully this will help you if you aren't up for getting in an expert like me to help... if you do need some help, then talk to me about my search engine optimisation service.