There are many things that you can do to benefit your website, but have you thought about the things that can kill your website? Here are my five top website killers – things you clearly should stay clear of doing to get good organic search engine placement and impress viewers.
- Don’t build your website all in Flash. It looks cool, but search engines cannot catalog the information contained in .swf files or for that matter .flv files. Google has just announced in early August that it is working with Adobe to try to rectify this problem, but that doesn’t help you now.
- Don’t ever steal your content from another website. You need unique content, don’t scrape someone else’s site. Not only will Google penalize you for duplicate content but you may get sued for copyright infringement. You can’t use the content even if you give credit – that’s still infringing.
- Don’t test your website in Firefox. If you don’t check, you won’t know and you really should. Firefox is an important browser and the browser of choice for nearly 25% of the browsing readers. If you don’t look good in IE AND Firefox, you may alienate a large part of your readers.
- Don’t make your web page layout too big. Although there are actually still some people surfing the web with 800 by 600 pixel resolution, the bulk of people are at 1024 pixels wide and larger. For my own site, still nearly 30% of my viewers are at 1024 pixels wide. Make sure you have website statistics that track this and then make sure to design your site to accommodate this important segment and not alienate viewers by having scroll bars at the bottom for 1024 pixel resolution viewers.
- Don’t use webmaster tools. Google, Yahoo and MSN have webmaster tools, make sure you are using them so you will know how the various search engines see your website. If you have problems, these tools can be invaluable in order to diagnose problems.
Even I get fatigued with staying on top of my business for the Web. It’s hard work to blog, write a newsletter, stay up-to-date in your field, tweak your website for organic placement, and manage your pay per click program on top of your regular business maintenance issues like billing, selling, and then actually doing the work you get paid for. But, if you don’t stay on top of your game, moving forward constantly, you WILL die. Well, not literally, but figuratively your business will, really. You must constantly be moving forward to stay “in the game” to win new clients for your business.
Too often businesses forget that to grow that they must be looking for new ways to reach out to prospects and clients. You simply cannot grow your business by being static or doing the same old things. Being a successful business person is all about being dynamic. That means actively growing your business, looking for new opportunities, and stretching to reach more people on the Web in new ways. Same old same old will not cut it in today’s competitive environment.
So what are the new things you can and should embrace to help grow your business and win new customers? Here are my top five web recommendations:
- Start blogging – there are too many benefits that you get from blogging to not be doing it now!
- Consider a monthly e-newsletter – keep your name in front of prospects with well written pieces and make sure to archive old newsletters on your website.
- Make sure you are using pay per click advertising – but only supplement your business by targeting the keywords where you cannot place organically. Your budget doesn’t need to be big, but consistently work on keeping your name in the marketplace in front of prospects and customers.
- Watch industry forums and post comments on the top forums and blogs making sure to link back to your own website. Choose websites that have “extreme authority”. In my industry for example, I routinely post on the Google Search blog, Microsoft’s adCenter and other top search blogs, and other industry expert’s blogs. Always post insightful commentary never spam. Google usually picks up these comments as links back to your website and they can really work for you to build authority and traffic.
- Start now with a syndicated article program. Hire a ghost writer to research and write articles for you. Post at least one a month for six to twelve months to build authority for your business and to get new one way in bound links to your website. This strategy does work, and can really help to improve your organic placement. Archive the articles back on your own website. Make sure you write to cater to a broad audience, don’t just write for others in your trade, try to write for the broadest appeal and largest syndication possible.
If you are not moving forward aggressively to build your brand through my five easy steps you should take a careful look to see if you need to resurrect your business plan for growth. Remember if you are not moving forward your business will die!
Google is all about making the Web experience great for readers. That is why their search market share has grown and is what the Google algorithm is all about – finding and rewarding websites that provide a great reader experience with unique informational content.
This past year we saw Google patent technology to identify specific authors of content. In part, I feel, down the pike Google will allow website owners and authors to tag their content with unique IDs. Google has not said anything about this, but in their patent disclosure it appeared that this was a possible future direction.
Google likes unique and in-depth informational content. Websites that offer a rich informational experience for their readers will place higher organically than website that are simply “web brochures”, branded affiliate websites that repeat parent site content, or those that show content that is widely syndicated in an industry. There is simply no fooling Google on these issues. When Google indexes billions and billions of web pages and has the technology to weigh content, keyword density, and assign an organic placement score, don’t think that they don’t know that you and 2,000 people share the same content! Google is very smart.
Problems with shared content are important issue for lawyers, real estate agents, and affiliates to consider before purchase. Google has recently aggressively target affiliate websites as these are typically websites that share the same content with many other affiliates on the Web. Real estate agents and lawyers sometimes buy syndicated content that is widely shared by others as well. The content that they buy for their website will not help them with Google placement and overtime, Google may actually remove any pages from their index that shows this content. Google does not like to show duplicate content in their index; it affects the user’s experience and as a result hurts the Google reputation for quality search returns. If you as a website owner understand this before purchase, that’s good, but if you don’t and think that this syndicated content will help you with organic placement, think again!
When it comes to Web content, the best rule of thumb is to invest in your own. Make it unique, make it informational and you will overtime improve your organic search placement, end up with more links to your website, and develop the Web Authority with readers that you really have been seeking in the first place.
Content, style, tone, and message are king on the Web. If you have great content and market your website through a variety of channels you will build web authority as well as website traffic over time. Getting one way inbound links is just one great way to build web authority for your website, but this may take an investment of your own personal time.
Whitepapers are typically researched and documented unique content. Typically one that you or one of your employees has done based on the unique trends of your business or marketplace. It is very difficult for a professional writer to write a whitepaper for you. Whitepapers will usually document data that has been accumulated over months of observation and then savvy analysis that pulls it all together proving a conclusion point. A whitepaper is not a derivative work of data that is available on the web; it should be unique and created about a specific topic.
The time that you invest in researching and writing a whitepaper for your business can turn into a marketing goldmine. At my firm, I will typically write one in-depth whitepaper once a year. I tie a subscription to my monthly newsletter to the whitepaper, meaning that you will need to give me your email address in order to download my free whitepaper. In a short time I have added several hundred names to my e-newsletter subscription list effectively extending my reach. Some whitepapers I offer free and other websites and web authorities drive traffic to my own website just for this content. One in particular is a paper that I did on how to stop spoofing of your domain name. Internet service providers routinely link victims to my site for our research and commentary on what to do when you are spoofed.
I have found that not only creating whitepapers on topics that interest me that I would like to learn more about, but by archiving them I am providing very authoritative quality content that not only provides a service to readers, but educates them, is widely discussed on the Web, and adds to my own personal knowledge base. I have never sold access to my whitepapers but do use them as marketing vehicles and promote them on my website, blog, and e-newsletter.
If you don’t have the time to invest in research and writing of a whitepaper, don’t despair feature articles written by professional writers may be the alternative for you. Check out our post tomorrow for more information on how you can build web authority with this technique written by professional writers.
If whitepapers are not for you as mentioned in our previous post then feature articles or linkbait articles may be the best option for you. With these types of articles, you can easily pay a good web content writer to create a 600 to 800 word article for you on topics that dovetail with the services you provide.
Once created, you can register the articles with a variety of article directories for syndication on other websites, in ezines, or on other blogs. The articles will provide a one-way inbound link back to your website and will appear in Google on the article directory site.
For some clients, we recommend the additional installation of an article directory back on their website as a repository for this created content. If your blogger has written these articles, the research and topics will provide additional content creation opportunities. Additionally these articles can be pointed to by links from within your own website and blog either at the article directory or in your online article repository.
By cross linking all you do with specially created content, you help to point search engines to the content that builds your own authority.
Personally I have found that Google does not really factor in the one way inbound links that you get from article directories to improve your organic position with this technique, but Yahoo and MSN will move you up on the search results page with feature articles registered at the various article directories.
Now the very pointed question, if doing articles, which can be costly, doesn’t help you with Google placement why do them, you should do them to create authority for your website. This is one reason why we recommend an article repository back on your own website; so you build credibility in your readers’ eyes as well as for search engines. We know that articles of this nature do not give you an important immediate organic boost, but much of what builds authority and organic placement is not about immediate results but long-term results for readers PLUS search engines.