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Triffic traffic, shite site!

19:12 on Wed, 29 Aug 2007 | SEO | 1 Comment

SEO is all about search engine rankings and driving traffic to your site. But traffic won’t make you money. You need to convert the traffic into sales or leads or whatever you see as the goals of your site. And this is often forgotten when carrying out SEO.

Sometimes we take on sites that have had previous SEO work done by other companies, and one of the immediate things that you notice is that they have made the site for the search engines and have ignored the visitor.

No matter what people claim, it is possible to create sites that are both user and search engine friendly - that’s exactly what we do here at Further.

Here are a few things to look out for, and avoid like the proverbial plague!

Domain names no one will remember
Yes, we know it’s not easy to get the exact name you want as a .com or co.uk, but don’t be tempted by things like uk.coms, biz.nets.  Why? Well quite simply, no one ever remembers them. Stick to the common currency, the top level domains (TLDs as media types call them).

Keyword stuffing is for turkeys
Ok, so one of the client’s keywords is ‘green basketball’, so using our ‘green basketball’ size brains, we’ll go and put ‘green basketballs’ in as many ‘green basketball’ venues as we can,  in the stupid thought that the more ‘green basketball’  times the better for the ‘green basketball’ search engines.

Sorry, but it simply doesn’t work, it makes users stop reading and makes them leave. Stop looking for shortcuts and write decent content, always with an eye on a sprinkling rather than a monsoon of keywords...

...which leads me nicely onto...

Ever-so-descriptive navigation
So a visitor you’ve tried hard to lure is now on your site. She’s had a little delve around.  Now she wants to get back to the home page. Where should she click? On the link that says ‘home’, or the one that says: ‘our green basketball’, ‘about green basketball’, ‘contact us for a green basketball’, or ‘buy a green basketball’?

Point taken? The moral of the story is, forget the use of your keywords and let people find the obvious link back to your home page.

Links that don’t link anywhere
Imagine you are a user and you see a link for green basketball on a homepage, you click on it, hoping to find more information and it loads the same page.

How annoying is that? You are now confused. You try again. Ditto. You lose interest. You wave goodbye and visit another site. Pointless.
Throw out the rubbish
Rather than page after page of repetitive keyword rhetoric that will interest no one, including the search engines, why not give your visitors a treat?

Provide them with something they really want and you can bet your bottom dollar, euro or pound that they are more likely to enquire, to book, to buy from you. You cannot beat first rate, informative content. Combine it with good SEO and you have the two most influential tools in the box.

And finally, after all those negatives, here’s something positive...

See if you’ve gone OTT with your SEO
Go out into the street. Ask for a volunteer - in fact anyone who has never seen the site before. Sit them down in front of a screen and get them to visit and use the site.  Don’t tell them what to do, just watch and learn from the user. A little research even on this scale can save you a lot of potentially lost revenue.   Usability is important, so pay attention to what people do on your site.

Alternative, use a team like Further to place analytics and tracking on your site, so you can see and monitor real trends.

Comments & Discussion

(1 Comment)

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Jayson • Years ago

Nice article - these are all really good tips. Making a website user-friendly should be the first goal of any SEO/SEM and actual optimization should be second - IMO. As you mentioned, outside of AdSense, traffic doesn't make money and visitors won't come back to your site if they're turned off during the first visit.

I will admit though, stuffing keywords is tempting when you see Yahoo blatantly do it on thousands of pages and then you see them slowly outrank you on all three search engines - they do have clout (authority, age, credibility etc.), but I can't help thinking that they know what they're doing when they stuff paragraphs with keywords. Nope, all of their sentences don't make sense, but all of their pages are helpful - maybe you just need both.