The days of building website content for search engine bots is truly over. Today, your content should be optimized for readability by humans, not by some type of keyword-munching creature that boosts your rankings for truly terrible content. If the content on your website was created several years ago and is following some of these older standards, it could easily be hurting the placement of your site in search results. Your results page placement ultimately affects your sales and prospecting, so it’s an important topic! See how many of these cardinal sins of the search engine you can find on your website, and get ready to squash them quickly!
Don’t Link Your Homepage
You want everyone to come directly to your homepage, so all of your internal articles should link there — and ALL your ads should, right? Eek, if you’re doing this: stop right this minute! With a few tiny exceptions, ads should never link to your homepage! Why? Because you should always be driving your visitors to a specific call to action, and that is rarely found on your homepage. Instead, you should send ads to a specific landing page based on the action you want them to take. This helps your site SEO because people are less likely to bounce off the page.
Poor navigation cues your site visitors in the wrong direction. Plus, having your navigation too low on the page will tell robots that the navigation is not an important part of the site. Bots read your site from top to bottom, assigning the greatest importance to information at the top of the page. The goal is to make the site look as natural to search engines as it does to humans — and as valuable. Skipping the navigation altogether on a landing page can have merit, but it can also be dangerous as visitors do not have anywhere to navigate after submitting a form. This reads to search engines as a bounce — a metric that you don’t want to be assigned to your site!
Focus on Human Interactions
While there are some tips and tricks you can utilize to make your website more attractive to search engines, the main way to improve your ranking on the results page is simple: write better content! Human beings are the ones who test whether or not your content has merit. Whether it is interesting, engaging, insightful or educational. If the individuals reading the content on your site find it uninteresting or boring, they are going to bounce directly back to Google to look for something better. As this happens over time, Google and other search engines learn that the keywords you’re promoting so heavily are not providing users with the value that you desire.
What happens next is particularly ugly. No matter how much you advertise or how diligent you are in creating high-quality content in the future, your site has been branded as an underperformer. Unfortunately, the reality is that no matter how good your content is unless people are linking to it you’re not going to get the benefits that you need. Submit your content to medium-sized websites as a guest blog, reach out to potential partners and generally be a good partner in the community.