Winning Over those Wacky Web Crawlers
If you’re like us, the “sponsored” links that top every list of search engine results are invisible. While it’s nice that those companies can afford to pay for top links, not all advertising budgets are created equal. Below those highlighted links lies the organic. No, we don’t mean ads for recyclable sandal makers or chemical- free veggie vendors. I mean unpaid links that made it to the top via hard work and click-happy customers. Top rankings in these “organic” or “natural” search engine results are largely the result of great on-page optimization.
The search engine world is infested with creepy crawlies that prowl their way around the internet until they find things that cause them to modify search engine rankings. These “things” consist of items like URLs people can relate to, images that initiate action, and keyword saturation that doesn’t leave you with an uncomfortable, soggy feeling. You want to make sure that every “thing” associated with your website is designed to help it move up the rankings, not down. That’s where on-page optimization comes into play. While it may mean more traffic from social media sites, better brand reputation, and solid content people can’t help but share, the ultimate goal of optimization is to convert all those visits to your Port Orange Online Pet Emporium into sales.
Everybody likes pictures, so let’s consider them first. While web crawlers are great at catching certain items, they are like eyeless cave-dwellers when it comes to images…. unless those images have tags which aptly describe them. Their spider senses tingle when encountering descriptive filenames. This includes those meaningful captions which appear whenever the cursor passes over an image (title text), and those that pop up when the image can’t be displayed (alt text). Image linking (keywords in your link text) is also a ranking booster. Image optimization works because “view our Super Snuggle Sports Bra” tells customers more than “click here to view.” Without image tags, you’d might as well take all of your graphic designer’s hard work and flush it because you may be the only two who ever see it.
Optimizing keywords is another way to get pages noticed by web crawlers. This doesn’t mean haphazardly tossing in so many keywords that even native English speakers can’t understand. What you want is excellent content that incorporates keywords in ways that make texts readable and relevant. Modesty is the key to keyword density so use them wisely. You should also remember those handy little things called synonyms. Instead of using “inquiries” 47 times in a single page, throw a few “queries” and “questions” so it doesn’t sound like a robot generated random content for you.
Tagging isn’t just for graffiti artists anymore. HTML tags ([h1], [h2] etc.) do a lot to make your site more visible to web crawlers. Be sure to employ text styles like bold and italics which help information stand out and get noticed more easily. It works because when indexing tools encounter material highlighted by these tags, it assigns them higher importance. A website which makes good use of header tags and text styles is easier to read, easier to navigate, and more helpful when it comes to finding those hard to find items you’ve been looking for.
Link optimization is also a habit worth getting into. While Columbus finally made it to the New World, he definitely could’ve done it faster with some more up-to-date navigation techniques. The same goes for getting around the web. When inbound and outbound links are optimized in a way that makes them search-engine friendly, easier navigation abounds. The words you provide for people to click on when you offer them links should mean something specific. “Click here for the most amazing underwear you have ever encountered” tells people a lot more than just “Click to buy underwear.” Not only do optimized links mean more to customers, they are also more highly-valued by the search engine ranking gods.
Last but not least, we come to Title Tags. Those word-like things in your browser window are important because search engines see them first when indexing your site. They should contain information which helps them stand out to searchers and search engines by clearly identifying your site. Because search engines place more value on title tags like “Simon and Sheets-Sock Sellers-San Antonio” than simply “Simon and Sheets,” a little description can go a long way. Awesome title tags will help you do some quantum leapfrogging over the other sock-seller’s sites so you get the rankings you’ve been searching for.
Neglecting to do on-page optimization equals missed opportunities, so you want to get behind the game. We aren’t all experts when it comes to all things computer-related, so it’s good to know that there are pros out there ready to take the pressure off. If optimizing isn’t your bag, you’ll be happy to learn that Watson Media of Daytona Beach can do it for you. They tackle your optimizing needs (affordably)…so you won’t need a degree in computer science to make your website work for you.