If you know anything about SEO, you know it’s a big, complex subject with a lot of elements that feed into that final rank. Even better, the rules vary from engine to engine and they are constantly changing. I have blogged about writing SEO web copy, but today I am going to give you the 411 on a few other quick and easy fixes you can do (probably today – or possibly tomorrow if you have to get your designer involved) to plug up some common SEO holes.
Finding your SEO blind spots
There are a couple of sites that offer this service, but the one I use is http://whois.domaintools.com/ . Go there now, and type your web address into the big empty box on the landing page. I’ll wait.
Look at the first section, called “Front Page Information.” For a sample, I picked Visa USA, just to show you how even a really big company with a lot of money to spend on SEO can miss the “gimmees.”
What to look for
Here we can see that Visa has pretty low scores on relevancy for all of their meta data. What this means is that the search engine matches the website's reported (meta) title, description, and keywords against their actual site content. A poor score alerts the search engines that Visa might be stuffing its meta data to mislead searchers, and negatively affects its rank.
The two other lines we are going to worry about today are the “Links” and the “Images.” Links are how many internal and external links you have in your site. The more of these you have, the better, especially the outbound links. Images are literally the jpegs and gifs that make up your website. Alt-tags describe the picture for your visitors, in case it doesn’t load correctly.
Most of these fixes can be done very easily with a simple html editor. You can read a pretty good article about creating and adding your own tags here http://www.fg-a.com/MetaTags.htm. If you don’t “do” your own website, gather your changes together and send them to your web designer.
Meta Keywords: Visa fell victim to a lot of mistakes in their keyword selection. The first being that they seem to think potential customers are going to type “more people go with visa” or “print advertising” into Google when they want a credit card. The second being keyword diarrhea: trying to fit every conceivable search term into the keywords, instead of focusing on the top six. Check out my recent blog post about picking keywords for more information. Once you have the right keywords selected, you will use them to rewrite the meta description and the meta title.
Meta Title: Visa went with their company name and tagline for the title of their website. This is good branding, but not necessarily good SEO. So that the search engine will consider the title more relevant, they have two options. That can either add their name and tagline to the footer of each page, so that the search engine sees the terms being used throughout the site, or they can change the title to reflect their improved site keywords.
Meta Description: This is the text that will show up under your website on an organic search. Visa went with a very conversational sentence here. The problem is that if they don’t repeat many of these words regularly throughout the site, they will get dinged. The easiest fix for this would be to re-write the description to be keyword dense.
Images: Alt-tags are one of the easiest fixes. Click the image (inside the web editor) and select “properties.” The alt-tag box will be empty. Write something in it. Use a keyword if you can. If you are going to do this yourself, consult the help section of your editor for more exact instructions. Otherwise, throw it over the wall to the web designer.
Links: The search engines love links. Internal ones are good, external are even better. Links should be made on keywords whenever possible. For example, “Find out more about Visa credit cards.” Instead of: “Visa offers a wide range of credit cards. Find out more.” Go through your website page by page and look for places where you can link keyword terms to other pages within your site. Also look for places where you can link out to other sites for more information or complementary products and services.
These five fixes won’t guarantee your site will be at the top of the list, but they are the basics that will get you headed in the right direction.
Have you discovered any other quick SEO fixes?