Have you ever wondered exactly how an SEO can make your site more profitable? Well, I am here to offer you a little more insight about that very thing. You see, I am not just writing about all of the wonders of search engine optimization, I am actually helping websites achieve it. To give you an example, I would like to take you along on my SEO journey through a website. Hopefully at the end, you will see just how simple it is to turn some things around for your own site.
The Initial Consultation
So, the first thing I do is offer the customer a website consultation to find any big problems that stand out on their most significant pages. I usually spend about one hour doing this consultation. I will typically look at the meta data, the homepage, about us page, and site map.
The source code contains the meta data for TITLE, KEYWORDS, and DESCRIPTION. It looks something like this
<title>Website Title/title> <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1" /> <meta name="keywords" content="insert relevant keywords here separated by a comma," /> <meta name="description" content="A brief description of what your website is about" />
I check to ensure that the title makes sense, that the keywords are relevant for the website and are the ones they wish to target, and that the description reads well since it will be the information that appears in the search result. For instance, one of the sites I evaluated needed some help in all three of these areas. Their title needed to have a bit more structure and the site name at the beginning. The description needed to be cleaned up grammatically, and they needed to cut down on the large number of keywords and ensure they were using their most relevant ones. I made these changes and we are expecting to see increased traffic to their site over the next few months.
From their I move on to the homepage. This is where I spend most of my time. Some of the things I am looking at here are the images and the links. I want to make sure that all images have some alt text with them. This is text that will appear if for some reason the image does not load. This not only helps the user, but allows the search engine to more easily index the image as well. The code looks like this:
<img width="100" height="27" title=" Glass Tile Polished Glossy 1 x 4 Mediterranean " alt="Glass Tile Polished Glossy 1 x 4 Mediterranean" src="bmz_cache/9/9c37509ebb2cdd7df7d2997ac1bd3330.image.100x27.jpg" />
You want to make sure that both the title and alt attributes are included in your code. Every image needs both the title and alt attribute. I also look at the links on the page to make sure that they have a title attribute as well. Here is an example of link code:
<a title="Flooring Supply Shop's Shipping Return Policy" href="http://www.flooringsupplyshop.com/pages/shipping-return-policy-pv-c0-15.html" target="_self">Shipping/Return Policy</a>
The area at the beginning of this code is the title attribute. Notice how I have used the title attribute to make the link even more descriptive than the link text alone by adding the company name. I make sure that every single link on the page has this key information. Almost every website I have evaluated has been missing this key information either on their images or links throughout their site. Fixing the images and links make it so much easier for the robots crawling the website to index it quickly and effectively. It also helps your users and makes their experience more enjoyable. As always, make sure the titles you use are specific and relevant to the link and website. In addition, I make sure the meta keywords described at the beginning of this article are actually used, effectively, inside the content.
I usually take a look at this page, and ensure that all images and links have the proper attributes. I will also take a look at the information on the page and make sure it is correct in terms of language, and that it flows well. The keywords on this page should describe the company and its products and services.
I always look at the site map because it is full of links to other pages. I want to again make sure that all of the links have title attributes, and that the links are sending people to the correct page within the site. Another type of site map, usually in XML format, also needs to be present on the website and referenced in the robots.txt file so that the search engines can more easily index the website. Once I do this, my initial evaluation is complete.
Fixing the Problems
After sending in the report to the site owner, I wait to see if they agree to allow us to make the changes. If so, I begin the process of fixing all of the concerns that I pointed out in the report. I start with the links. I will add title attributes or modify them as necessary. I will then go through and add alt attributes and titles to all of the images. If any of the links take visitors to the wrong page, I will change those as well. I know these fixes seem simple. That’s because they are. However, if these simple changes are implemented, the results could be enormous. So make sure someone takes the time to go through your site and look for opportunities to make these small changes. You may find that they add up to big revenue coming in to your site.
It’s important to note that the actions described in this article fall under “internal SEO”. Many companies offering SEO services focus primarily on external SEO and this is a mistake. SEO = Search Engine Optimization and therefore means you are optimizing your website itself to make it easier for search engines to index. All this simply means is that content needs to be descriptive of what you are actually selling by using relevant keywords consistently. It also means that the actual code of the website itself needs to be marked up validly as XHTML and that element attributes are being used to properly describe links and objects on the page.
So what is external SEO? This usually consists of link building to the pages you’ve already optimized on your website. In reality, external SEO could be better described as marketing to search engines as you direct them to your site by building links. The best external SEO will focus on building links that actual people will follow and naturally, so will the search engines.