Blogs by date "02/01/14"
Tags: web design , seo , usability , cro , conversion , calls-to-action , leads
The front-end design of a website, which is often associated with usability, layout and aesthetics, can have a huge impact on seemingly irrelevant factors, SEO being one of the them.
Whether your starting a website from scratch or going through a re-design, there are a few ways in which you can ensure your site's web design is SEO-friendly. We explore these avenues and considerations in greater detail below.
Without Conversions or Lead Gen, Traffic is Meaningless
It's a common scenario: a website starts receiving a new influx of organic search traffic after just a few months of SEO, however no visitors are converting into leads or sales.
In short, if your site is not converting traffic from SEO, then what's the point? Are you truly realizing your site's potential?
It all comes down to creative web design and CRO. A conversion-oriented website is the foundation to a successful SEO strategy.
Ask yourself, or your web marketing team, the following questions to ensure you're on the righteous path for success.
- have we set conversion goals or established a conversion funnel?
- are we using and testing targeted calls-to-action?
- are the site's pages boring and out-dated, thus contributing to high bounce rates and low time on site?
It's difficult to justify an SEO investment if your website sucks (and is not generating leads.) There are numerous web development and design resources available, so cost is no excuse for a crappy website.
Integrate Rich Media, Strategically
In most cases, boring, text-heavy pages typically imply a poor web design. However for SEO, text-heavy pages are often a good thing to establish keyword relevancy.
With respect to SEO, integrating rich media is a balancing act. Why?
It's easy for web designers to make pages look prettier with high-resolution images and video. Yet, such media can have large file sizes and slow page load speed as a result. Not only does this negatively impact usability, but it hinders SEO performance.
Conversely, when rich media files are properly optimized (to minimize file size,) they can actually enhance a page's SEO (and CRO). When integrating rich media, it's important to:
- optimize large file sizes to help minimize the time it takes for a page to load.
- optimize images for keyword relevancy, which contributes to better on-page SEO (and helps your images and videos appear in Google's blended search results).
- leverage rich media as creative and effective calls-to-action
Engagement Metrics Influence Page Authority (and SEO)
A well-designed website can significantly influence user engagement. Typically clean and cohesive pages that are alluring and user-centric promote higher levels of engagement. In turn, greater engagement will empower page authority and increase SEO potential.
Google looks at behavioral metrics (like time on site and bounce rate) to weigh a page's authority. So, in essence, web design and SEO are close cousins in the genetic code of a healthy website.
In cultivating any solid relationship, quality first impressions are key. When designing the pages of your website, avoid cluttered layouts and use media that's unique, engaging, and purposeful.
When crafting the content of your optimized pages, be creative with your copy. Focus on content that is inspiring, educational, and/or enlightening to your target audience. Not only will keeping your visitors engaged, but it will help accomplish your conversion goals. However, because they're hanging out on your site longer, Google will see that your site offers value (and that will grant you greater page authority.)
Tags: diy , links , google local search , meta description , page title , citations , local seo , seo
Local SEO is not rocket science, folks. Sure, there's the complex technical side of things, but for the most part, local SEO is a straightforward process that almost anyone can do with the right direction.
In this blog post, I am going to steer you in the right direction to lay the foundation for a well-optimized website that's geared for local SEO success.
These tips might sound elementary or unrelated to local SEO, but without implementing each step in the process, your website won't reach its fullest SEO potential.
Take Care of the On-site SEO Basics
The first step to optimizing your website is to ensure it's keyword relevant in all the right places. In our example, lets say we are optimizing a business' website that sells custom tank tops in Atlanta.
We'll want to include these keywords in the homepage's page title, meta description, and page copy. We keep the page title under 70 characters and the meta description under 155 (as a general rule of thumb for white hat SEO) so they don't get cut-off in the search results.
In addition to ensuring these elements are keyword relevant, we also tailor this content in such a way that entices search engine users to click the listing.
As for page copy, we don't need to keyword stuff the text. Simply mentioning the keywords a couple times on the page is all you need (too much is actually a risk for over-optimization.) We'll attempt to get the keyword in a header and couple times in a paragraph, if it makes senses.
We can apply these simple techniques to all pages on the site with SEO value. Although the homepage is paramount, we may also have a page on "neon tank tops" in which we'll want to keyword optimization. As a last tip for on-site SEO, we'll want to ensure all page titles, meta descriptions, and page copy is entirely unique per page.
Ensure Your NAP is Complete
A complete NAP in a local SEO context is full, entirely accurate citation (or mentioning) of a business' name, address, and phone number on its website. To further ensure its completeness and purpose for local SEO, including the NAP on every page of the website is critical. The header and/or footer is a perfect place to put it.
Evaluate Your NAPs
Now that we've ensure the NAP is accurate and properly placed on the website, we will then want to evaluate our NAPs on other websites, particularly directories. Any inaccuracies and inconsistencies with the business' NAP on these directories will cause confusion with Google and discredit the legitimacy of our business.
An easy and free way to do this is to hop on over to Yext and perform a scan. The scan will tell you which (of the top 50 or so) directories have any inaccuracies that need to be fixed. You can do this manually, invest in Yext to help you do more efficiently, or hit us up to fix them (or consult you on how to do it in the most SEO-friendly manner possible.)
In essence, this step in the local SEO process is called a citation audit ("citation" meaning a mention of a business' NAP.) Auditing and fixing any inaccurate citations is crucial to thrive in Google's local search results (the listings associated with the Google map and red push pins.)
Create a Content Strategy
In addition to keyword optimizing the content of the website (the on-site SEO stuff mentioned above,) we'll also put together a more long-term content strategy that focuses on consistently publications. The most popular means of executing a content strategy is via blogging. But we can take this one-step further by creating rich media content like graphics and video.
A content strategy fuels local SEO in couple different ways. By publishing content that relates to our core services in custom tank top services, we can further increase the keyword relevancy and authority of the site (e.g. creating an inspiring article about ideas around creative custom tank top designs.)
The other way in which a content strategy can help with SEO is via social media. Producing content internally gives us something meaningful to share on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterst, and any other social media platform we want to include.
Make Time to Be More Social
Whether for enterprise-level ecommerce SEO or simply local SEO, having an active social media presence is a big deal for any SEO strategy. The keyword here is active. Too many businesses create a social media account but just leave it hanging assuming it serves its purpose as it stands.
We'll dedicate a portion of our time and energy being socially active in sharing content, engaging with people, and building relationships. Not only does this layer of social credibility influence our search engine ranking potential, but we can establish meaningful connections that result in future customers as well as link opportunities.
Generate Links to Your Website
The last component to doing local SEO on your own is finding ways to generate links to your website. Performing the Yext scan above and help you pinpoint some good local directories worth getting your business listed. Most directories will provide a link back to your website (in addition to a citation.)
Other good resources for local SEO links are chamber of commerce websites (which typically require a membership, but offer an authoritative and locally-relevant link,) local newspaper sites, press release sites, and blogs. Doing some guest blogging is often effective, but under some scrutiny in the SEO profession as this practice is being relentlessly exploited by spammers.
Generating links to your site takes some time and efforts. In our example situation, we'll want to scout for sites related our local area of Atlanta, as well as topics around clothing, custom designing, screen printing, and various relevant topics. The trick is to find creative ways to reach out to site owners and webmasters in such a way that gives them a reason to link to your site. Whether you can offer some content or perhaps a link exchange, link generation is an ongoing effort that will significantly fuel your local SEO efforts.
Want to go deeper with your local SEO practice? We're happy to further educate you on applying the best practices of SEO on your website. Just contact the OIC Group's SEO department to learn more.