One of the most common tactics some SEO professionals use to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt with Website owners is the following myth:
“We looked at the code on your site and noticed there are some problems with it. It`s not optimized as well as it could be.”
To help debunk this SEO myth, there are 9 factors that are legitimately difficult for Google and other search engines to crawl through and understand when reviewing a site. In Part 1 of this 2-part series, we explored Factors 1-4:
1. Lots of graphics
2. Non-standard navigation.
3. Not using a standard layout system.
4. Store finder search box.
To finish up the series, here are the remaining Factors 5-9:
5. No sitemap. Most search engines only crawl a couple of layers deep onto a site. A sitemap is a way to have a link to every page of your site from one page. This ensures that your content doesn`t “live” 7-10 layers deep – hidden from the search engines.
6. No Content. Relevancy is key to search engines. If the content on your site doesn’t include any of your keyword phrases, then your site won’t be considered relevant. If you only have images and a few fluffy marketing statements such as – “We provide the best solutions in the industry” – there`s really not much there that makes your site relevant to a search engine.
7. No-index /no-follow. Some sites have this tag turned on by mistake. It basically tells search engines to go away and not index your site. This is so important that we do a daily check on all of our customers` sites to ensure that this tag is not turned on.
8. No title tags. That`s a big one. Title tags are programmed into your HTML code and are one of the most important spots to place relevant keywords. FYI: It’s not the same as your page headline. Read about more about title tags and why they matter here.
9. Not optimized for human interaction. A site that may be highly optimized for a search engine (lots of relevant content, few graphics or whiz-bang functionality), may not be well-optimized for your end user`s experience.
Google uses a feedback mechanism for this as well: they measure how many people come to your Website and then “bounce” back to the search results page. If people go to your site, but don`t stay, Google will often adjust the rankings down. (FYI: It’s automatic. There`s no person sitting there dragging your site higher and lower in a windowless room somewhere.)
Review these 9 factors (see Factors 1-4 in Part 1) and see if any of them are affecting your SEO. Then, if someone tells you that your Website has problems which prevent search engines from ranking your site, ask them to give you a list of specifics and see if any of these factors are mentioned.
If they can`t give you 2-3 things that are concrete, most likely they’re not being straightforward with you.
What’s been your experience? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you. Thanks.
About Guest Blogger Jeff Finkelstein: Jeff Finkelstein is the founder of Boulder, Colorado-based Customer Paradigm, an interactive marketing firm that has helped its clients achieve their goals through Search Engine Optimization, eCommerce, Web Design and various other marketing strategies. An expert on Internet Privacy and Web Marketing, Jeff evangelizes the customer experience and helps businesses design sequenced interactions that lead to loyal, delighted customers.