3 Common Website Optimization Weaknesses That Hinder Organic SEOPosted by oicadmin on 10/06/12
Tags: citation , meta description , page title , duplicate content , sitemap , tips , website optimization , local seo , seo
Many marketers have come to realize the immense advertising potential that organic SEO has to offer. This has made optimizing a website a marketing mission for many businesses.
But what many fail to realize is that search rankings are mostly determined based on factors that are off the website, primarily from inbound links and social signals (e.g. Google +1's, Facebook Likes, LinkedIn Shares, etc.)
So no matter how well you optimize your website, it's probably not going to rank until your do some off-site SEO work (which takes a lot of time and effort.) However, that doesn't discount the website optimization process from being important.
Website optimization is still incredibly essential for SEO, but more importantly conversion rate optimization (OIC's Marketing & Operations Manager, Chris Everett, explains it well in his article Why Top Rankings Just Don't Cut it Anymore. In short, a properly-optimized website "sets the stage" for SEO and the future influx of search engine visitors.
In this article, I want to share with you 3 common weaknesses that most marketers can address to better optimize their website. Unlike other tips that are more intricate on a specific aspect of website optimization, these weaknesses are big (but rather easy to fix,) and will have a momentous impact on you organic SEO efforts.
1. The Ever Important Sitemap
The HTML sitemap is considered the second most important page of a website (next to the homepage.) In essence, the sitemap is the search engine spider's roadmap to your website, directing the spider to crawl and index all of the optimized pages of your site.
Not having sitemap is like not having tire's on your car. It tries to move forward, but is inefficient at getting anywhere. The sitemap should contain links to all of the pages found on your website. Additionally, each link on the sitemap should use semi-optimized anchor text. For example, if you build a page on your site optimized for "Men's Road Bikes," it's wise to use that exact phrase as the link's anchor text when linking that page on your sitemap.
Lastly, make sure the sitemap itself is linked on all pages of the website, preferably in a set of footer links or navigation links.
2. Duplicate Website Content
Upon taking on a local SEO project, I was confused as to why this website was no where to be found in the search engines. It was decently optimized and offered great content, but the only page ranking was the "about our staff" page, and that was in the middle of page 3 on Google.
Come to find out, the owner of the site had another website. "Oh s**t," I thought to myself. "We got duplicate content." Sure enough, his other website was a complete mirror image of the site I was working on.
Duplicate content is a common issue that plagues a lot of websites. And it's not just an issue that involves duplicate content on other sites, but in most cases, it's having duplicate content on similar pages throughout the same site. This is especially common on ecommerce sites that have thousands of pages, many of which that overlap in relevancy.
Perhaps the most common culprit involving duplicate content stems from the page title and meta description. These are two elements that are both very important for organic SEO and can often become auto-generated based on CMS software. This auto-generation can cause duplicate content without the website owner even realizing it.
Fortunately, there's a pretty easy way to pinpoint duplicate content on your site by checking your website's Google Webmaster Tools. In the left hand navigation, click the option "Optimization," then "HTML Improvements." Here can you drill down on the specific pages that have either duplicate page titles and/or meta descriptions.
3. An Accurate Citation
The three pieces of information that define the citation of your business are its name, address, and phone number. The most essential place to mention the citation is your website's "contact us" page. However, I recommend including the citation in the footer so that it's present on all pages of your website.
Including your business's citation on your website is important to display credibility to Google. This is especially important if any of your search engine traffic derives from local search. In a nutshell, Google spiders will crawl the citation on your website and align the information with other citations found about your business on other sites (such as your Google+ page, LinkedIn page, YellowPages listing, and various other social sites and web directories.)
In summary, it's important to have an accurate citation on your website that exactly matches all other citations of your business found around the web. Any misalignment in citation information will cause Google confusion, and you definitely want to avoid that.
Well those are just three website optimization weaknesses that may be hindering your site's organic SEO performance. To discover more insights on how to make your site rank higher in Google, visit our branch of website optimization specialists and sign-up for a free organic SEO assessment. They will audit your site and provide you with honest recommendations to further optimize your website.
This article was produced by Tyler Tafelsky, Illinois SEO and Internet marketing manager here at OIC Group, Inc. You can contact Tyler Tafelsky directly via email at Tyler@oicgroup.net, or connect with Tyler on Google+.