Everyone believes they are a SEO expert these days. Everyone understands the basics, such as keyword rich content is king and that you should optimize your site for search engines to locate you. However, many have lost focus on why they are trying to have the search engines notice you, which is to get visitors to your website.
A number one spot on Google is great however many have failed to convert that spot into traffic. Everyday, webmasters strive to gain Google’s favor and get their website listed in the top spots. Webmasters get excited when they land that spot however their traffic does not increase as much as they expected. I want to talk about a few key examples I have seen.
Keyword Rich Title Tags
Your title tag plays an important part in SEO. It is a known fact that your title tags helps in your search rankings and that you should pay close attention to them. What many tend to forget is that your title tag is what shows up as your page title in search results. Furthermore, there is a character limit on how much search engines display. Google will display 69 characters, Yahoo displays 72 characters and Bing displays 65 characters. You should aim to not exceed these limits.
The biggest issue, keyword stuffing your title tag. Many believe that by putting only keywords inside the title tag that they will gain the top spot on search engines, but fail to remember that actual humans have to read these titles to navigate to your site. If your title tag is not written in a friendly and inviting way, you will be looked over in favor of a more friendly looking site, and now your top spot has been wasted.
I did an experiment with one of my clients websites. Their site had the top spot for a popular keyword phrase. They were receiving visits based off this keyword phrase however they were not as high as I thought they should be. I went in and cleaned up their page title and made it more inviting and in 65 characters, explained what the site was about. After about 2 weeks I checked back and found they lost the top spot and were now listed in 2nd for that same popular keyword phrase. I check on their analytics and to no surprise, their visits actually had gone up almost 30%. This shows that even though they lost their top spot, they still gained visitors based off the title of their page.
Content and Design
One other subject matter I want to focus on is content and design. Keyword rich content is imperative in your SEO efforts. The key is to know your limits. Nobody wants to go to a website that has a college thesis paper written on it full of keywords. When you stuff your content full of keywords and make it hard to read, your visitors, that you have worked so hard to get, will bounce away to a more friendly site. Your content should make your visitor feel welcome and as if you know the subject matter you are talking about. They want to see that you are human and that you are not just trying to fluff up your site.
Design is also a key element in your SEO. You want to work on your internal linking structure to best guide search spiders to all the content you have while also providing great anchor text. You want to keep most of your text in actual text form and not hidden inside images so that the spiders will read it. Everything stated so far is important, but remember one key factor, everyone knows a website designer. If your site looks like it was created inside of word, many will leave for a better looking site. Your navigation may make sense to the spiders, but if your visitors are not able to get to your pages because you have created a keyword anchor rich navigation system, you are the one who loses.
Remember, your site is worthless without human visitors. Having the search engines able to crawl and rank your site is most assuredly a great accomplishment, but remember you make your money from human beings who also need to use your websites features. Find your perfect balance between catering to the search engines and your potential customers.
In the comment section below, tell us about some big mistakes you have seen with sites focusing too much on SEO and not on the actual human visitors.