Let’s talk about your Website Structure
As writers and authors, we’re obviously creative people – but when it comes to the structure of your Website, it’s important you follow one important rule: Always make sure visitors to your Website find what they’re expecting to find, in the places they expect to find it.
What that means is:
all your links should be blue and underlined.
Having a photo on your site has also been proven to raise conversion rates and increase credibility.
A Warning About Flash, Frames and the Latest Technology Like Dynamically-Generated Sites
Also, no matter how good you are at building Websites (or how creative your Website designer is) – don’t build your site with frames or extensive use of Flash – because most of the time, these design options can’t be spidered by the search engines’ robots.
And while dynamically-generated sites that use technology like ASP, Cold Fusion, and PERL can have an impact on your Website’s functionality, they often cause problems when it comes to search engine placement. (Believe it or not, the page doesn’t exist until your visitor triggers it.)… And because a search engine spider doesn’t trigger the page when it crawls the code – as far as it’s concerned, there is no page there.
And the other problem often caused by this type of technology is that it puts question marks into the URL – and most spiders can’t read a link beyond the “?” in a link. And sure, there are technological ways you can get around this – but it can be tricky. So be sure you or your Webmaster have addressed all of these issues first.
You will want to limit the use of graphic representation of text as well. Remember that spiders can’t index images – so don’t use them to represent your keywords on the page.
When it comes to the structure of your Website or blog, remember this: Don’t make your visitors search for anything (always have links back to your home page on every other page, for example), and give them the kind of high quality content that will keep them on your page now – and coming back for more later on.
The Definition of High Quality Content
High quality content is measured by how useful the information is to the visitors who come to your Website or Blog.
So the quality of your content is determined by: How well you have processed, interpreted and acted on the information you gathered to write your content in the first place.
How Content Relates to Your Meta Tags, Page Titles, Descriptions and Keywords on Writers and Authors Websites
If you remember in articles 1 and 2 of this series, we discussed what the best SEO strategies for writers and authors’ websites are, and also how to use meta tags, keywords, page titles and descriptions to your best advantage.
So now you understand that everything is interrelated and all things connect to each other to help you achieve a higher ranking on a search engine’s results page when someone types in one of your chosen keywords or keyword phrases.
Keep the Content Real, Keep it Updated and Keep it Focused
Finally, the content on your Website or blog has to be real. If you’re giving answering someone’s questions, or providing them with new information, it needs to be accurate, useful and to the point.
You need to update the information – or add to it regularly – for both the spiders and the people who are visiting your site. Since your home page is the first place to be spidered, it makes sense that it shows the latest news or information. (And if this isn’t possible then this is where having a blog that links regularly to your home page can be an excellent SEO strategy.)
And remember when you’re writing the content, it’s important to think about what the spiders are seeing – and write accordingly.
For example, don’t use links that say “click here” – because otherwise the spiders will think at least part of your page is about the words “click” and “here.”
And if you offer a service – be specific. For example, don’t just say “our copywriting services” – say “direct mail packages” or “travel articles” or “Website copy.”
Creating Your Own Link Strategy
Remember in Article 1 when we touched on having an onsite and an offsite SEO strategy for your Website or blog? This is where a link strategy comes in.
The search engines give your site more credence and a higher ranking for having multiple links pointing to your site – as long as they’re from RELEVANT third-party sites.
So if you’ve been trying to get as many links as possible – stop wasting your time. It’s not a popularity contest anymore.
The Way Search Engines Decide Which Links Are Most Important
No one knows the exact strategies used by the major search engines, but we know that they use a link analysis for search ranking placement.
So they looking at the importance of each link that points to your Website or blog, and they may also be looking at the context of the link. That’s why it’s a good idea to use anchor text with your keywords or keyword phrases.
Getting quality links from authority sites or sites that relevant to the content on your site can be a time-consuming process – but it’s worth the effort.
How To Create An Effective Link Strategy for Your Website or Blog
You don’t have to do everything at once, but a continuous and dedicated effort will go a long ways.
Step 1: Set up a link page where you can put links to other relevant Websites or Blogs.
Step 2: Decide what constitutes a “relevant” link to you. For example, it might be links from authority sites, or links from pages with a certain page rank, or links from sites that sell to your target market. (It’s a good idea to put your link strategy and guidelines in writing)…
Step 3: Do your research and figure out who you want to get links from. You might want to create a database so you can keep track of your efforts.
Step 4: Send a request to the site owner or Webmaster and ask for a link from their site. Make it interesting and relevant for them – and explain up front what’s in it for them. If you don’t hear from someone within a week to ten days, send the request again.
You should also decide if you want to pay for links – although this is a tactic that’s continually coming under fire.
When you’re posting your links on other sites, it’s important to include text links if you’re using a logo or other graphic, and use your keyword or keyword phrase as well in the “alt text” section.
And don’t forget to use a cross-linking strategy between pages or posts on your Website or blog. If you use “anchor text” for each link – such as using the title of a post or article, most robots will follow the links to the other pages and index them as well. You might also want to add a sitemap to show all the text-only links on your entire Website or blog. And again, make sure that you’re using your main keyword or keyword phrases for each page of the Website or blog in those text links.
Submitting Your Website or Blog to the Search Engines
The final step to optimizing your Website or Blog is to start submitting your site to the search engines and directories. Start with the three major players – Google, Yahoo! and Live. One of the advantages of this is that most of the other search engines will pick up your site automatically once it’s listed on the Big 3 – saving you a bunch time and effort.
If creating an effective search engine optimization strategy – and carrying it out – sounds like it’s going to be more work than you want to undertake, you might want to outsource it to an SEO expert.
Although it’s a time-consuming process, and you won’t see sustainable results overnight, I hope you see that it’s not that hard, and it is something you can choose to do for yourself.
To make it even easier on you, we’ve created a checklist you can use as you’re going through your SEO process – so you don’t forget any of the vital steps.