Marketing Pilgrim's "Search Marketing" Channel

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Search Engine Optimization Tips



I spend a good part of my day thinking about and advising clients about how to increase their search engine rankings. InternetRetailer reported on ways to optimize your web site. These tips come from speakers at the ACCM direct-marketing industry conference and trade show in Orlando, FL. I’ve also added my commentary and extra detail.

  • Update your web site with good, new content. Search engine web crawlers constantly check for new content on your web site. This affects how your site ranks in natural search results.That’s why I often recommend a blog strategy for most sites – each blog post has it’s own URL and is an easy way to add new fresh content to your site. If you update it you can train search engines to index your site several times a day.
  • Put seasonal or changing information you want to be indexed in the center of the site, rather than mixed with other content. The example they gave is Christmas items. If you want it to be indexed for words relating to holiday gifts, don’t confuse search engines by putting it near your privacy policy, or unrelated information on the sidebar. Otherwise a search engine may not pick up the new content.
  • Keep URLs simple. Multiple URLs for the same site can confuse web crawlers trying to index a site. A common mistake is to have different URLs for the home page. One is what you type in a search engine, like www.marketingpilgrim.com. Then if you click on a logo or links to the home page on the site, it goes to another version – like www.marketingpilgrim.com/index.aspx. Make all the links consistent and if you change URLs use a 301 redirect to funnel all your traffic to one URL.
  • Keep URLs short and intuitive. Long URLs can hurt natural search optimization and aren’t user-friendly (beware of long strings of characters often found product pages on ecommerce sites).
  • Tell bots how to index your site and to alert you to issues that can affect your rankings. Tools you can use include a robots.txt file (see Robots.txt.org), a Google webmasters account (www.Google.com/webmasters). Submit and verify your site and then upload a sitemap. Repeat if your web site is redesigned or as it changes.You can also submit the same sitemap at Yahoo! SiteExplorer SiteExplorer.search.yahoo.com and MSN http://webmaster.live.com.

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