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Why does my site need SEO – Part 1/2

Why on car

Why on car (Photo credit: openpad)

And how is that going to help me get better rankings, more visits and more money?  And who needs SEO anyway?

If you want to be number one in Google for a given term, you need to start from a couple of things that SEO cannot give you:

  • get a mission,
  • build a brand,
  • produce amazing content and
  • share it with the rest of the world

Oh, and don’t forget to let Google know.

So – why does my site need SEO?

If relevance and importance are what you need to be at the top, you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot by blocking all that from Google’s view. In this two-post series, you will learn about the possible SEO pitfalls that may limit your ranking in the search engines, and how to fix them.

  1. You have too many non-text elements.
    Flash Javascript, AJAX, they make your site look fancy, and your designer sure did a good job, but they have a problem: they’re not text, which is what search engines crawl to understand what a page is about. So unless you are a very well established brand like Armani or KFC (in that case visitors will use your name to get to your site), remove those elements, or at least keep them to a bare minimum.
  2. You use the same title tags and meta description in every page.
    Every page needs to have its own piece of content with its own unique title. Google already knows the name of your site from the home page, so don’t use it every time. The same applies to the meta descriptions (the snippet that appears under the link in the search results): make them unique and compelling to click on.
  3. Your URLs are dynamic.
    OK, we’re getting a little technical here, but bear with me. An URL like www.example.com/category/wedding-dresses is static (meaning that the page doesn’t change unless you edit it), and will give the search engine a pretty clear idea of the content of the page. On the other hand, when the content is pulled from a database and is the result different parameters, you will get a dynamic URL with those parameters in it. There are two issues with that: first the search parameters are non-descriptive (they read something like item, sectionid, option  and so on), and this won’t give Google any information about the content. Also, when different parameters give the same result, there can be two or more URLs for the same content, leaving the search engine wondering which one should be indexed.
  4. You have one home page, but different URLs.
    Even when your site is not database-driven, your home page might still have different URLs pointing at it. For example:http://example .com – http://www.example .com – http://example .com/index.php – http://www.example .com/index.phpThe result of this division is that the page rank for the home page will be divided in four, thus diluting your efforts of building authority to your site.The solution to dynamic and multiple URLs is an HTTP code called 301, which redirects all the different versions to the canonical one, making it more clear for the search engine.

The list doesn’t end here; stay tuned for the second part…

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Why does my site need SEO? (Part 1)

And how is that going to help me get better rankings, more visits and more money?  And who needs SEO anyway?

If you want to be number one in Google for a given term, you need to start from a couple of things that SEO cannot give you:

  • Get a mission
  • Build a brand
  • Produce amazing content
  • Share it with the rest of the world.

Oh, and don’t forget to let Google know. That’s where SEO can help: if relevance and importance are what you need to be at the top, you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot by blocking all that from Google’s view.

In this two-post series, you will learn about the possible SEO pitfalls that may limit your ranking in the search engines, and how to fix them.

SEO Issue:  You have too many non-text elements

Flash Javascript, AJAX, they make your site look fancy, and your designer sure did a good job, but they have a problem: they’re not text, which is what search engines crawl to understand what a page is about. So unless you are a very well established brand like Armani or KFC (in that case visitors will use your name to get to your site), remove those elements, or at least keep them to a bare minimum.

SEO Issue: You use the same title tags and meta description in every page

Every page needs to have its own piece of content with its own unique title. Google already knows the name of your site from the home page, so don’t use it every time. The same applies to the meta descriptions (the snippet that appears under the link in the search results): make them unique and compelling to click on.

SEO Issue: Your URLs are dynamic

OK, we’re getting a little technical here, but bear with me. An URL like www.example.com/category/wedding-dresses is static (meaning that the page doesn’t change unless you edit it), and will give the search engine a pretty clear idea of the content of the page. On the other hand, when the content is pulled from a database and is the result different parameters, you will get a dynamic URL with those parameters in it. There are two issues with that: first the search parameters are non-descriptive (they read something like item, sectionid, option  and so on), and this won’t give Google any information about the content. Also, when different parameters give the same result, there can be two or more URLs for the same content, leaving the search engine wondering which one should be indexed.

SEO Issue: You have one home page, but different URLs

Even when your site is not database-driven, your home page might still have different URLs pointing at it. For example:  http://example .com – http://www.example .com – http://example .com/index.php – http://www.example .com/index.php

The result of this division is that the page rank for the home page will be divided in four, thus diluting your efforts of building authority to your site.  The solution to dynamic and multiple URLs is an HTTP code called 301, which redirects all the different versions to the canonical one, making it more clear for the search engine.

The list is not complete – stay tuned for the second part…

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