Tips and how-to guides for organic and local search engine optimization (SEO), with an emphasis on DIY for local businesses.
Site organization is very important to Google. If your site contains many diverse topics then you need to take extra careful precautions to organize your content and navigation so that Google can easily understand and discern the different topics of your website. This article describes common organizational problems and provides several tips for structuring your website content for maximum Google friendliness.
Has Google traffic growth to your small/medium sized business sucked lately? Especially since mid-2011?
There are many reasons for Google traffic to decline, many of them are related to geeky search engine optimization (SEO) tactics.
Does your business and therefore your website offer many products or services?
Is your business a service-based firm that specializes in numerous areas of practice? For example a law firm offering Family Law and Criminal Law?
Is your online store specialized in one area - say oriental home decor - but you offer dozens of product categories within that area, i.e. from furniture to clothing?
Does your website combine multiple topics on single pages?
If so, Google might be unclear about the topics of your website and therefore lowering your ranking.
If your website is targeting a broad diversity of keyword topics, then your SEO program needs to make sure Google can figure out your web content.
Help Google Help You: SEO Tips for Organizing Your Website for 2012
Below are several SEO tips for 2012 and beyond to help you organize your website so that Google better understands you and hopefully ranks you higher.
Main menu tip #1: Keep it simple and easy to scan and intuitive where to click. Create a main menu with at most seven to ten choices. Many options are expected by searchers such as "Services," "Products," "Blog," "About," "Contact,"etc.
Main menu tip #2: Organize your main menu into clear primary and secondary topics, and only put the primary topics in the main menu.
Home page: The content of your home page should be about the main theme of the site. For example, if "Oriental Home Decor and Lifestyle" is the primary theme of an online store, then focus the home page on these terms and related keywords like decorating, store, ideas, shop, products, buy, catalog, modern, etc. Don't go into detail on the primary and secondary topics on the home page.
Organization: Create individual web pages for each secondary topic. A Family Law/Criminal law firm would want pages on: Divorce, Child Support, Adoption, Criminal Defense, DUI, Domestic Violence, etc.
Secondary menus: Create side menus for all the related pages within a secondary topic. I don't recommend lengthy drop down menus any more. By clearly distingushing primary and secondary sections you will help Google understand the organization of your website.
Focus page topics: Limit individual web pages to one topic. Don't have a store page called "Oriental Tables' and include Japanese clocks, buddha statues and bamboo wall hangings on same page.
Blogging: A freguently updated blog is great for SEO because it enhances visitor engagement. Create blog articles about specific topics that are of interest to your audience. If your online business is selling Oriental Home Decor, create blog articles on Yoga or Zen lifestyle and home products. If you are the Family Law Firm create articles of interest to adults who are single parents or remarried and have kids and homes. Hint: it is good to link blog articles to secondary pages and other blog articles.
Blog Organization: Keep your blog categories or tags (i.e. topics) in line with the secondary themesof your website. For example the law firm blog tags would be: adoption, custody, child support, divorce, domestic violence, etc. Don't overdo the tags, dozens of tags looks messy and is difficult to easily scan.
Sitemap: Create a visually clear and easy to understand site map that shows the primary and secondary sections of your website. I typically exclude the blog from the sitemap as blogs can become huge over time.
Don't over optimize. This is new for 2012 and beyond. Don't blog constantly on the few juicy keywords you want to rank for. Too much content about single keywords is a red flag to Google that you are trying to manipulate search results. Don't overuse your main keywords in article titles like we did prior to 2011.
Finally be sure to use the tried and true basics for site organization. 1) Include a search box 2) put action links on the right (Contact, Quote, Check Out, Coupons, etc.), display testimonials thoughout the site.
If your business is local oriented, here are some addtional SEO tips for organizing your website.
Create separate pages or even separate websites for different cities or regions. If you a Denver law firm practicing family law and personal injury law, then create individual pages for: Denver Divorce Lawyer, Denver Child Support Attorney, Denver Adoption Attorney, Denver Personal Injury Lawyer, Denver Car Accident Attorney, etc.
Create local content. Blog about your local area and include your location keywords in the articles.
Use your location keywords in titles of pages and articles.
Create individual Google+ Local pages for each city or region.
Google wants to make searchers happy.
Google will boost your rank if your content is well organized.
Searchers are delighted when they find a web page and website that matches the search terms they used to find it.
Searchers will spend more time on a website that organizes information in a simple, easy to understand style.
Google will rank you even higher for keywords that enhance searcher experience and engagement your website.