It’s not enough these days to design a beautiful, functional website that addresses your clients needs. If you truly want your client to reap the benefits of having an online presence, then SEO-friendly website design is a necessity. Search Engine Optimization is a method of improving the visibility of a website in search engines through organic search results, and is now a viable online marketing tool for a lot of businesses.
Table of Contents:
- 6 Tips For Designing an SEO-Friendly Website
- Mobile SEO – Can You Optimize For User Experience And Google At The Same Time
- A Detailed Guide To Write An SEO Optimized Blog Post in WordPress
- Are Web Directories Still Good for Driving Traffic?
- How To Clean Up And Optimize Your Existing WordPress Blog Posts For SEO
- Website’s Bounce Rate
- How to Fix Over Optimization Penalty in Order to Please Google
- A Crash Course in Creating Campaigns with Google AdWords
- Crazy Egg Review: Is Your Website Hot Enough?
6 Tips For Designing an SEO-Friendly Website
Through the following design practices you can improve a website’s SEO and ultimately their visibility. With these foundations in place, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing the website you spent hours designing (and developing) is now a top contender for search engine visibility. You may also find some of these tactics also go far in improving user experience as well.
Keywords are an important part of any search engine optimization campaign. If you’re using the wrong keywords, search engines and your target market may never find you. It’s important when starting a website to first establish what the business objectives are. Do you want to target a local area, national or global? With this plan in place you can then build pages that target these specific keywords, or decide where these pages may go down the line once the foundation is built.
The process of creating
1. Create a list of potential keywords (i.e. words that are relevant but not overly used)
2. Input your proposed keywords into a keyword research tool (i.e. Google Adwords Keyword Tool, Wordtracker, Wordstream, etc)
3. Finalize your keyword list based on research (Create a list of both broad and targeted keywords)
4. Prepare them for launch (typically go after 3-4 related keywords per page)
2. Keyword Placement
For a website to successfully integrate into Google you first must tell us what a particular page is about. It’s important to get keywords on the right position on the page, but don’t overdo it. Here are the best places:
- Title tag
- Meta description and keywords
- Website slogans
- Breadcrumb trails
- H1, H2 and H3 tags
- Bullet points
- Alt text
- Title attribute on links
- The main website copy
- Internal links
- Footer links
- File / folder names
3. Search Engine Friendly Navigation
4. URL’s and Filenames
Having an SEO-optimized URL means search engines can quickly identify what a page is about. It’s also a good tactic to include keywords in the URL as this increases Search Engine visibility.
An example of a not too friendly URL:
A better, more descriptive URL would be:
As you can see, the second option has a better selection of rich keywords, which will help the search engine in their efforts to index you.
It’s also a good habit to name your images using descriptive keywords. An appropriate file name can be the difference between your image appearing in Google images searches or not. For instance the name “1234.jpg” isn’t going to be as successful as “midcentury-furniture.jpg” when someone is looking for design inspiration.
5. Website Images
- Images are often an overlooked aspect of SEO, but play just as an important role in the process.
- You need to optimize your images to achieve faster loading times and subsequent search engine visibility.
- Try to keep your images’ file size as small as possible so mobile visitors in addition to those with slow internet connections can get the same intended, fast experience.
- An optimal image size is anywhere from 30-100kb and the best resolution is 72dpi.
- You can also set the image size as part of the corresponding tag for the image.
- It’s best to place your images on context in the page. The more relevant the text around your image, the better results you’ll get for rankings.
- Place your images inside a folder named “images” or something similar so the final URL of the image looks something like this: /images/image.jpg.
Perfect Website Optimization explains how to incorporate keywords into your alt tag.
6. Social Media
Social Media should be part of your SEO strategy as building relationships and interacting with connections can help build your brand enormously. Not only that but it gives you exposure and helps build a trusted community and gain credibility.
Link building is perhaps the number one reason to jump on board the Social Media bandwagon: the process of visitors sharing links within their own network can result in a large number of inbound links. In summary, social media can provide an organization with an affordable channel that accomplishes results.
Get started by joining:
This guide by Google is a very helpful guide in learning about SEO.
These are a few important ways to ensure your website reaches visibility in search engines. Although there are methods in place claiming you can reach the top spot in Google overnight, nothing is as effective as first having a solid foundation for a website in place first – the rest will fall into place. Of course, nothing can help you sell yourself as much as having a trusted, reliable product or service to begin with but with these measures ensure your online presence is seen. Take inventory of your web marketing goals and use the tools that are most appropriate to achieve the results you’re looking for.
Now let’s talk mobile SEO.
Mobile SEO – Can You Optimize For User Experience And Google At The Same Time
Unlike many years ago, you can’t just be satisfied to only meet your needs in today’s web environment. Instead, you need to please two factors equally: the user and the Google robots ranking you. The question, however, is which one should you try to please first?
User Experience vs Google Search Optimization?
There is no need to prioritize because you have to please both Google and your users, a practice that comes highly recommended. In doing the process, you don’t need to invest in an insane amount of resources into the process where the return might make or break you and your online solution.
By adopting these two requirements, you will be able to rank higher in Google and people will be able to find you much easier than before. With the great web user experience you give your visitors, they will want to recommend you to others.
Part 1. Start With The User
There is no need to prioritize, as mentioned earlier, but you need to start somewhere. Focusing on the experience you give your users is a good starting point for your web solution whether it is a simple website, a web application, or a complex back-end software.
At the base of each of your projects, you have to consider the user. Without the user, you won’t move forward regardless of how much you try to. You’ve heard of the term User Experience (or UX) before, but what does it mean for your product? As much as I hate to tell you this, it depends. Users will not put a price on the same elements in two different web solutions. On top of this, your audience will also react differently to what your competitor has although your product does basically the same.
Finding out what your audience reacts positively to is such a complex matter to discuss that it should have its own article; therefore, we won’t dive too much into what’s in the mind of your users. However, whatever your business is, the lack of investing into user experience will always backfire. Always! Luckily for you, wherever your users come from and whatever their pursuit is, they will always appreciate these following elements that will give them a great product experience.
Be Responsive Already – Have A Responsive Website!
You’ve probably heard this thousands of times. Unfortunately, I still see so many examples out there of websites that are not responsive yet. It has been more than three years since media queries have become W3C standards but why hasn’t everybody adopted them yet? If it’s something that gets me out of my mind, that is ignorance for the widely accepted standards. Don’t be ignorant with your web solution because you’re playing with the chances of your own project.
I have a difficult time believing that you don’t know much about responsive web design yet. But if you really don’t (dude, seriously?), get this book. Read it from cover to cover, then read it again. It’s been written relatively recently and it’s considered as “responsive web design 101” for 2015.
Responsive Design Typography
Yes, I’m still holding on to this responsive madness topic. Typography is such an important part of a website that ignoring it will score you some negative points with your readers. It is often easy to read text on desktop but God I’ve squinted my eyes a lot in the past years trying to decode simple text on mobile. I hate that, don’t make me do it – ever again! I will leave your site quicker than a Ferrari in pole-position without any chance of returning ever again.
Improving typography for portable devices is not that big of a deal. If you don’t have basic typography training, it is always a safe bet to increase the font size and the line height. Never use a font that is smaller than 14px on mobile (get used to the idea of having at least 16px, no more than 8-9 words per line) and line height that is at least 18px. This will make the text easier to read. Keep headlines short and make it clear. They are headlines so you need to use big font size and bold with a maximum of four words per line.
Web fonts are quite the big deal in typography lately and I advise you do make use of them. They will save you money and time plus, they are SEO-friendly. Just to make sure there is a check on everything, always have a fall-back typeface in case a browser doesn’t download custom web fonts.
When you write copy, make sure to break paragraphs into smaller chunks of text. Take a look at the image below and think of which would you rather read should you end up with only one choice.
The Art Of Negative Space
This article is not supposed to be a crash course in graphic design but there are so many things a good graphic designer can do to improve the user experience of a website. One of them is using negative space, as this allows the human eye to rest. Your webpage will not feel as heavy if you employ this very well and I advise you to get a good graphic designer to take a look at your website if you feel that it currently is “too heavy” at a quick scan.
[ctt title=”If you want users to read your text, make sure it is readable in the first place.” tweet=”If you want users to read your text, make sure it is readable in the first place. http://ctt.ec/g0Jbf+ via @1stwebdesigner” coverup=”g0Jbf”]
Have Contact and Checkout Forms That Work
Web forms can range from sign-up forms and contact forms to input fields in a check-out process or even a search box. Make sure they work. You’ve probably already checked the code behind ten times and tested it. The forms work as they should. But do they really work?
I’ve got no doubts your code does just what it is supposed to do but this is not just about the back-end. The user doesn’t care about your code. The user wants the forms to work, to give him feedback when feedback is needed and to fill them out as quickly as possible.
By the number of websites doing it poorly, error handling in user forms must be one of the most challenging problems there is – up there with landing on Mars and figuring out teleportation. Let me tell you a secret: it’s actually not that hard.
One thing you can do to ensure less confusion is create live validation of the input fields. That means if you need a phone number from me, make sure I can’t submit the form if there is any kind of text in the field that are not digits. Additionally, if you need a number in a specific format, don’t ask me to write it that way. I don’t care if you need the number in US format but let me write a ten-character number and format it yourself with a snippet of code. How hard can it be?
If I submit the form and there is an error, you need to let me know of the exact error and what I can do to fix it. Don’t – I repeat, don’t! – ask me to fill in all the fields again. That’s where you lost a potential client.
Avoid confusion in the forms by using clear language, clear placement and clear colors. The example above is an almost perfect one. There is no doubt about what you need to correct and the error message can’t be missed.
It would be perfect if the error message would also point out the error: Please enter a valid email address. Unfortunately “.xom” is not a valid domain. It would require more code, but users will have no doubt understand why the error appeared in the first place.
If you want to get better at handling error messages in input fields, Christian Holst wrote a great article three years ago about this which is still relevant today.
It’s well known that drop-off rates for long web forms are huge, but they are avoidable. If a user starts to fill in a form, it’s because he wants to. If he stops before he is done, you’re at fault. Most of the time it is because you ask for a big investment from them – bigger than their return.
Would you subscribe to a newsletter if the form requires you to fill in the name, email, address and credit card information? No way in hell. But you would gladly give all these information away if you buy something online. It’s all about keeping a balance between what you ask for and what you give in return.
Shorter forms are always more successful.
In fact, studies show that shorter forms can even convert over 150% better than their longer counterparts. Think about it for a while before adding a new field to your form.
Use SVG Image Format Whenever You Can
Some of you might not know what an SVG image is, so I will explain it to you very briefly. SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics and, as the name says, it represents a vector image that can be scaled up an down according to the screen it is viewed on.
SVG works very well with CSS and is perfect for responsive web design. Together with responsive typography and responsive layouts it creates a great viewing experience for the user regardless of what device they are on. SVG images are better than normal, rasterized images and even better than font icons simply because they can quickly adapt to the environment while still looking great. Moreover, with font icons you are limited to a single color, while SVG files are much more adaptable when it comes to the colors.
You can use SVG graphics in pretty much everything: logos, UI elements, graphs, icons and many others. SVG is really the future and deserves an article of its own. Luckily, there’s a great one written by the team of Design Your Way.
Check On Design.. Now What Else?
Let me put it down for you: UX is not only design. Remember this. Design is just a part of this big spectrum of elements. There are many things you can do to improve the UX that do not necessarily have something to do with design. It is easy to confuse the two, because most things you create express themselves through visual queues. A good example is the navigation.
Design Effective Navigation Menu
The navigation menu has to be, without any doubt, the first thing visitors see. The navigation and the logo. Users need to know where they are and where they can go.
A website with poor navigation is like a complex freeway structure without signs. It might be cool to drive your Tesla on it with 175 km/h, but not knowing which exit to take quickly turns into a bit of a problem.
As the starting point of a website, the navigation has to be simple and clean. Don’t cram a lot of unnecessary information into it and at the same time, don’t be vague about it. You can’t afford to confuse your users.
Sometimes it is not that easy to keep your navigation simple; look at Amazon. However, most web designers never get the chance to work on such a complex system, therefore keep in mind: simple navigation is the best navigation there is. Some very simple tips are:
- to keep the main navigation at the top right (logo on the left)
- limiting the number of options to no more than 6
- using short and descriptive words (“Contact” instead of “Hit us up”)
- having the navigation in the footer if the pages are long and having a navigation that is easy to find and clickable if you are on a portable device.
Other things you can do are quite straightforward. I advise you not to make use of any kind of sneaky tactics or redirects in order to get something you want from the user. He will find out and leave and this will only make him not want to recommend your website.
Badly implemented pop-overs are also something that annoys me as much as anything else. A few days ago I was reading this article on my iPhone from a worldwide-known online magazine. A pop-up came up telling me about cookie usage. That’s fair enough. But there was no button to accept or to cancel. There was no way to exit that pop-up. I’ve clicked on it, I swiped, I pinched, I did everything there is to do.
Actually, I did more than I should have, because the website redirected me to another page (it was probably me clicking on something else without realizing because of the frustration). Now that was a really bad experience. A few seconds after… surprise: the overlay slowly disappeared on its own.
How hard would it have been for them to let me know from the start that this overlay will fade out in 10 seconds? Not much harder than a single line of code, but they still left it out and frustrate me instead.
Depending on who your audience is, there are probably some other tips I could write about but it would take a while. An in-depth analysis is on the table for an article a bit further down the road but you should be set for now. If you master these first tips, you are halfway through to a successful web solution.
Now, for the second part, what do those darn Google robots want from you?
Part 2. Make Google Happy
It is not only important to make the user happy, it is also important to make sure Google ranks your website well, otherwise, nobody will find you. You will notice, however, how following some of the tips in the first part of the article will also help with the second part.
Make Your Website Responsive (again)
According to many sources online, including Social Media Today and Google itself, it is highly recommended to have a responsive web design for your website. Starting April 21st 2015, Google is going to make some small changes to its search algorithm making it easier for users to find mobile content. Mobile friendliness is something Google looks very seriously into and although nobody actually said that Google will rank mobile better than desktop results, many experts believe this is the way the search engine is heading to. With more people browsing from mobile than desktop, it goes without saying that this is the right way to go.
Google’s Zineb Ait Bahajji was quoted saying in a Google Webmaster Help thread that they do not rank mobile better, but they prefer it because it is:
“easier to maintain, it’s future-friendly and we see less configuration errors with RWD (faulty redirects or bad user-agent detection for instance)”
By creating a website that is responsive, you make both your users happy but also Google, and this is rule number 1 to keep in mind.
Is there an SEO disadvantage to using responsive design instead of separate mobile URLs?
Don’t worry about your PageRank. A website that is responsive is better than a website which redirects the users to a m dot version (something like m.1stwebdesigner.com – a practice that was very popular in the beginning of the 2000s). Although the video is one year and a half old, Matt Cutts from Google explains below why.
Make Your Website Load Faster
Google loves quick websites, it is as simple as that. Google itself loads incredibly quick and has the same expectations from you. It has been four already years since the search engine started to rank quick websites better and today there is even more emphasis on it than ever before, with more and more people browsing from mobile. I believe this will continue to be an important factor.
Start by testing your website and see how fast it loads. Minimize the number of images and clunky code, don’t use lots of plugins and only embed necessary video. You can quickly minimize the weight of your website by following these tips, but if you want even more help, hire a professional and make use of Google Webmaster Tools.
Not only does your page speed improves the user experience because it minimizes loading times and leads to higher engagement, retention, conversions and lower bounce rates, but it is so important that Google actually developed a tool for it.
PageSpeed Insights is a set of tools that can help you identify performance best practices for your website and can help you automate the optimization process.
One of the easiest things to do for page speed improvement is paying for a better hosting plan. Poor hosting is often the main reason behind websites loading slowly. However, it is also the lack of Content Delivery Network (CDN). CDN is easy to explain. Instead of having a server in the US which everybody in the world has to access, this network makes sure the content of a website is delivered quicker to people who are located in other parts of the world via edge servers, so their requests don’t have to “travel” such a long distance.
Content Is (still) King
It is already a cliché, I know, but good content is still the best way to rank high in Google. You want to write really good content with the readers in mind and not for the sake of keywords. There is nothing wrong with having keywords every once in a while, but don’t overdo it and, again, think of the reader. Does the article offer value? Is it long enough? Does it get shared a lot on social media? All these are important if you want to rank better in Google.
“How long should an article be?”
– is a question that I get a lot. It depends but articles that are shorter than 1.000 words don’t have much value to Google unless they are a hit on social media or you are The New York Times. Moreover, if you are The New York Times, you probably don’t care about ranking anymore. However, if you still need to work on that, keep in mind: Google likes long, informational and useful articles.
I also think it is a good idea to keep a balance. I can write an article or 4k+ words at any time, but how many people will read the whole piece? Not many. The consequence will be that not many people will share it on social media. For informational articles on blogs I personally believe between 1.500 and 2.500 words is the sweet spot, so a bit shorter than this article. If you can stay in between these two, you are where you should be and are doing well.
The bottom line of this is that you need to write content that is worth sharing. Offer value, not articles filled with keywords. The guidelines I wrote for you above are good to keep in mind, but quality is still the most important of them. You can write a hit article that is 800 words long and still do better than a 3.000 words article that is written just for the sake of Google. Write for your audience; and do it well!
Learn To Love FeedTheBot: Optimize Your Website For Google
If you want to get a quick overview of your website in Google’s eyes, FeedTheBot is one of the best tools out there. You only have to fill in your website and let the software check it up. After a few seconds it will return with a string of errors that your website needs to straighten up. Start with the most critical ones, but don’t overlook the other ones. The better you do here, the more Google will appreciate your website.
Mobile SEO Action Cheatsheet
Reading an article like this one and learning what you have to do is the easy part of improving the UX of a web solution – implementing it is the tough part. Now that you know the reasoning behind every and each action to take, we have a cheatsheet for you below, so you can start working on this right away. So, what do you have to do?
- Get down and design a great website. Make use of negative space, beautiful colors and good design practices.
- Make sure the navigation is clear, easy to use and doesn’t confuse the user.
- Make sure your website is responsive. This helps both the user experience and Google to rank you higher.
- Wherever you make use of images or UI elements, try to make use of SVG instead of JPG or PNG
- Check how your typography responds to a screen change and ensure your type looks great on all devices.
- If you have any forms, check them a couple of times (both the code, but also the experience they give in form of errors and validation).
- Find a good hosting plan. If you can find a CDN server, go for it, although it is a bt more expensive.
- After creating the website, use Google Webmaster Tools and PageSpeed Insights to make the website even quicker. Aim for a loading time of under 1 second.
- Start creating good content that is useful to your users. Keep doing this all the time.
- Use FeedTheBot to check on other errors and solve the most critical ones first, but don’t forget about the other ones.
There are two factors you have to please today if you want to have an online presence: the user and Google. I feel we’ve already established that. The good part is that by only following a limited set of tips, you can please both in a short amount of time. If you are about to create a new online presence or think of how to improve you current one, this article should be the starting point for you.
We would love to hear from you down below in the comments section. From now on we’re going to publish a couple of times per month on topics closely related to UX, because we want you to become the best web designer that you can be. So let us know what you want to learn more about.
In the next section we are going to talk about SEO optimized WordPress post. Ready to learn and optimize your content? Alright!
A Detailed Guide To Write An SEO Optimized Blog Post in WordPress
If the content is the King, we can say SEO is the Queen. 1WD has already brought you a lot of articles on SEO to help you optimize your blog and make it search engine friendly so you can increase your traffic and your sales. Today I will talk about WordPress SEO Optimization, being that it’s the most used platform by self hosted blogs.
They say that WordPress is SEO Optimized which is the reason they use it, but it’s not fully SEO Optimized and so to reach the 100% you have to put in a little hard work apart from all the plug-ins we suggested already.
Its pretty easy to submit your blog or website to the search engines by just copying your sitemap’s URL and hitting the next buttons for their submission process. But in order to make the search engines pick your new posts and inject them into their site’s data we need to optimize our posts, just as we optimize our blog. It includes the keywords, that we use in our blog or website’s header as well as the Titles and the Tags. So in order to write a perfectly SEO optimized blog post, we need to think about it just as a web page and use some, or all, of my tips below. We will focus mainly on WordPress, for it is pretty easy to optimize for the search engines.
Post Title and SEO Title
Many users might not have yet realized that the title you write in the top bar is different than the one you write down in the SEO plugin’s bar. The title that you write in the POST Title bar is the one that appears on your blog above your post’s description or on the header bar of your browser. Whereas the SEO Title is the one that is tracked by the Search Engines and put up in their search results. Google shows up to 60 characters in their search results so it would be a better idea if you use as close to 60 characters as you can.
SEO Description And Keywords
I know many of the WordPress users just write a post, submit it and put it up on their Social Media thinking it will save the day. But trust me, that’s not the right way to deal with getting traffic. You need to have some organic and search engine traffic and search engines rely on the SEO description and keywords of your blog, more than the post content. You need to insert something into that description box that a reader can get the gist of the post easily, that it’s the thing they are searching for, because this description is the one that is shown below the post title in the search results. You should write up to 160 characters in here for the same reason as in the post title. And don’t forget about the keywords at all, for these are something that makes your post appealing. The words in this tab shows the search engine what the post is about, just like the description shows the reader.
Now, the real fact is that some users, just put in all the keywords related to the post inside that keywords box. But that is not going to give you any fruit, because search engines take these keywords and then search them throughout the content of the post, to confirm whether the post is truly about the keyword that reader has searched for. Now you might be thinking about what to put in that box, well here is deal, just think of yourself as a reader and look for the words that you would use to search for a specific blog post, for they are the one that will be more effective.
This permalink is what adds up to your blog post’s link to let the readers get directed towards it. Most of the users use their post title as the permalink, and so you would be wondering whats the importance of a permalink. Well take the example of this post. The post title is ‘A Detailed Guide To Write An SEO Optimized Blog Post in WordPress’, and now if I use the same as my permalink, it would hurt my SEO. The reason is that the words ‘A, To, An, In’ are STOP words, and these are skipped by the search engines, to save their disk space and speed up indexing. We need to avoid having these stop words in our permalinks, and so the permalink I used for this post is rather ‘guide-write-seo-optimized-blog-post’. Oh and by the way if you have already submitted your post, don’t try to change your permalink now, for the old permalink will give an ERROR to your readers and it will effect your blog/website’s reputation.
You can find some more stop words HERE.
This is a crucial step while writing a blog post, especially when your blog has a very high bounce rate. Bounce rate is actually the percentage of the readers that run away from your blog without jumping to another page. How we work it out is that we link the old post on our blogs to the related words on our new blog post. WordPress has a new feature now while inserting/editing a link. You can now easily click or link to existing content and write the related word that you are searching a related post for, and select it. This option in WordPress clearly shows how user friendly WordPress has become for bloggers, to easily optimize their blogs. In SEO terms, interlinking to your old posts improves your page rank and gives a new route to the search engines to crawl over your old blog posts if they may have faced an error crawling it before.
When I used to blog for my own blog a long time ago, I usually used to ignore this step and didn’t realize that I was doing something wrong until I started adopting this method for my new blog, when I saw some traffic being generated from ‘http://images.google.com‘. This happened because I optimized the images that I insert in my blog posts. The method to do that is very simple. After you insert your image, just open its options, and add the details of the image into the tab ‘Alternate Text’. See, for example, the image above is for the image settings, so I used ‘Image-Settings’ as an alternate text. Now whenever someone will search for ‘Image-Settings’ they will land on this post.
There are many plugins to do this, but the best one is SEO Friendly Images which automatically adds the name of the image as its Alternate Text, and so for this purpose when you are saving an image, always save it with the details that are in the picture.
To summarize all the important steps above, I would want you to do take care of your post’s keywords for that is what the search engine will crawl upon your post. In order for your post to gain a good position in the search results (rather than a post that tries to scam the system by filling everything with keyword after keyword and no real content), just take care of these things below and you will notice the difference:
After choosing a keyword for your blog post, try to make sure:
- The page and post title starts the keyword.
- The h2 or h3 title the keyword.
- The permalink contains the keyword.
- The SEO description contains the keyword.
- The SEO description starts with the keyword.
- The SEO keyword contains the keyword.
- The content has the keyword with a density of at most 4.5%
- An image in the post contains the keyword as the alternate text.
- The content contains the keyword in the first 100 words.
The reason of having a keyword in the title, permalink, description and keywords is obvious. The keyword density being too low will prove that your post is not a scam. Linking to other blogs also can improve your ranking.
I believe that this detailed guide to writing an SEO Optimized Blog post will help you reach your goal and you will surely notice the difference after implementing this method. Do leave your comments below to share your experience and even if you have something to ask about.
How Keyword Research Helps To Build Good Blog?
This may be the first question you will have here, but really answer is simple – keyword research is really market research. If you have done any business plan previously you should know before starting actual business you should do inquiry, research what are your competitors, how profitable niche is and just then start to take next step to actual action.
I must admit I didn’t do any research when I started my blogging career, I just found several design blogs and slowly researched whole design community. But as this post will evolve, you’ll see how much I was missing without doing any research.
Essentially if you know your market, you know everything and that’s where Keyword Research takes place.
How To Create Popular Blog With Keyword Research And Advantages
To create a summary, let’s write down pros you’re getting by doing keyword research:
- Find out how many people are interested in topic you are writing to and what are they searching for the most;
- Find related keywords people are using in your niche;
- Find out which products and services you can review;
- Research keywords for post ideas and find out what language are your visitors speaking in;
- Research which keywords are your competitors using and why they are/are not successful;
- Research related websites in your niche to market your site;
- Finally if you do all (or just some of them) of those actions in smart way you will be really successful with search engines!
As you may see just by doing little research you can find out almost everything about market you are interested in, what keywords you should use, which topics people would want to read, which services would be worth reviewing and how big competition is in your niche.
Now we are going to talk about web directories.
Are Web Directories Still Good for Driving Traffic?
Internet entrepreneurs want to know what they have to do to drive quality traffic to their website. Web directories are a resource you can use to drive traffic and create backlinks for SEO. Like most marketing and link building strategies, people have different opinions on the quality of web directories. Instead of listening to opinions, you need to know the ins and outs of directories. Knowing what works and what doesn’t will help you decide if they are right for you.
What is a Web Directory?
A web directory is a resource that organizes links to websites. Most are manually submitted by users. The organization of a web directory is intended to help other users find sites relevant to a specific niche.
Web directories are often used as a substitute to search engines. The key difference is that a search engine helps users find content relevant to a specific set of keywords, while directories help users find content relevant to a given category. Some web directories specialize in providing links to websites in a specific niche, such as business, medical or technology.
What Can Web Directories Do for You?
Web directories provide two major benefits to users: driving relevant traffic to their website and improving search engine rankings. People may visit web directories with the intention of finding lists of websites. As effective as search engines are at finding relevant content, it could take hours to build a massive list of websites for a niche you are looking for. You would have to experiment with dozens of search terms and have to deal with the frustration that the same high-ranking sites dominate the front page for numerous keywords.
If your visitors are looking to build a short list of highly relevant content, they would probably use a search engine. On the other hand, if they are looking for a number of sites in a category of their interest, they would probably explore directories instead.
As a website owner, you may have chosen a few very specific keywords to optimize your website for. You may be a web designer who specializes in Drupal templates for entertainment sites. You may get some relevant traffic from that keyword in Google.
However, you may want to also target website owners who are looking for a much more general category. If you submit your site to a web directory, you can find visitors who are specifically interested in web design. Alternatively, you could submit to other web directories under categories such as music or entertainment. This will clearly help you reach a different audience than you would reach with a search engine.
Web directories can also provide highly relevant, anchored, dofollow backlinks to your website for SEO purposes. Depending on the type of site, they may provide a lot of value for you in the search engines.
Are Web Directories Less Valuable Than They Used to Be?
The value of web directories has degraded since the advance of Web 2.0. In earlier years, web directories were helpful because search engines were easily manipulated by black hat marketers. They provided a lot of useless results and users often turned to directories to get information that was more relevant and useful.
As search engine algorithms changed, users became more accustomed to using search engines to find the information they were looking for. Even as far back as 2002, some web professionals said their clients were seeing much less traffic from popular directories such as DMoz. Over time, the traffic stagnated even further.
Some people still use directories to find resources. However, the traffic is much less than it used to be.
Search engines used to think very highly of backlinks coming from online directories. As websites began to exploit them and many of them became more like link farms, the search engines put less value on them. Many directories are still counted as trusted backlinks, but they don’t provide as much value as they used to.
Another issue is that most active directories are much smaller these days. DMoz used to be a big factor. Website owners believed that the success of their website hinged on getting accepted into their listings. Today, DMoz has been almost abandoned. Almost the only way to get your site listed is if you volunteer to become an editor yourself. Submitting your sites to many of the smaller directories will provide little or no value.
Strategies for Using Web Directories
Web directories can still be worth using, but you need to make sure you are strategic with them. A few things you should keep in mind:
- Check the quality of the directory. What is the page rank and Alexa of the directory? Ideally, I target directories that have at least a page rank of 4. There are thousands of directories on the Internet, but many of them rank so poorly you won’t get any benefit out of them. You would just be wasting the time it takes to fill out the submission forms. Another thing to look at is the quality of the sites the directory accepts. Listen to the words of Matt Cutts, chief technology developer at Google. He says that it is okay to submit to web directories, provided they limit their listings to quality sites. He discourages website owners from using free for all directories that take anyone who submits.
- Stay away from link exchanges. There is only one thing worse than getting a backlink from a website that has little or no value. That is doing a link exchange with such a site. Google looks at these link exchanges as blackhat strategies and seriously penalizes any website engaging in them. Only go for one way links.
- Be careful what categories you submit to. Many categories are littered with hundreds or even thousands of other sites. You will have a hard time reaching visitors if your link is a needle in a haystack. Also, you won’t get nearly as much page rank if your site share the page with many other outgoing links.
- Avoid automated submission tools. There are a number of tools online that will let you push a button and submit to thousands of directories at once. These tools may be tempting, but they are another black hat tool that can penalize you. Also, legitimate directories are probably much less likely to approve of a listing that has been submitted via an automated system.
Should You Still Use Web Directories?
Web directories still provide some value for websites. You need to decide if it is worth spending your time using them. Compare the value of web directories with other link building and promotional tools such as guest blogging, commenting and communities such as forums and social networking sites. One thing is for sure. Even though web directories still have some value, they are not nearly as helpful as they were in years past.
Next up is to clean up your blog posts. Old content can get you into trouble with Google. So let’s look at this issue.
How To Clean Up And Optimize Your Existing WordPress Blog Posts For SEO
So you wrote a lot of great posts over the past few years which still receive a lot of traffic from search engines, but you’re always wondering how long it will last. Or maybe you were affected by the latest Google Panda or Penguin changes and lost some traffic to that old content? Perhaps you have noticed that you have been affected by these issues, perhaps not. Whether you are affected or not, one question remains: how do I clean up and optimize my existing blog posts?
there is one more very important aspect to deal with: see that your articles are getting updated! Ever heard of the concept “evergreen content”? It’s best to write content which never becomes outdated, but in reality it is nearly impossible. Things change so fast now, new technologies are released, programming languages are changing, everything is changing every day! You need to keep up with that! And while you can write more new articles, it is much harder to get good rankings to new pages than it is to just update your old ones! Makes sense?
But how do you do that? What tools can you use to make post editing and optimizing easier and faster?
Ok, let me point out some of the most common issues with old posts:
- Some tips and techniques aren’t relevant anymore
- You have broken links in your posts, where sources you linked to aren’t there anymore
- Even with anti-spam plugins, you have some bad comments on your old posts
- SEO in posts do not exist, or is bad or average, but definitely could be improved
How do you find content worth updating?
If you don’t have that many posts, it may not be an issue for you, but in case you have written 100, 200, 1000 posts in the past, it quickly can start to become one. If you have a few number of posts, you should update all of them as soon as you can, because it won’t take too much time.
However if you want to save some time or it’s not realistic to update all your articles, you should take a look at your Google Analytics (or any other tool you are using to monitor your traffic) and check which of your posts receive the most traffic. With Google Analytics you can easily export this data to an XLS or PDF document so you have something to refer to.
Here are some easy steps to get your information from Google Analytics:
- Sign in to Google Analytics, pick a range of one to three months
- Browse through Content/Site Content/Landing Pages
- Check show rows (50, 100, 200 – your pick) on the bottom of landing page list
- Export document and you have your list!
Since those pages drive the most traffic to your website (and usually those aren’t the newest pages), it makes sense to update those posts to let them perform even better and to improve your visitors experience!
At least in 1WD analytics, we have the most traffic coming from Google, where people’s attention span is really short. Either they find what they are looking for or they go back on Google to keep browsing. Your goal is to provide visitors with up-to-date information, to increase the likelihood that they will stick around more.
Let’s start focusing on each aspect one at time, so you have clear action list what to do to update your old articles, pages.
Issue No. 1: Some tips, techniques have changed and aren’t up to date anymore
There are different kind of content and each type requires a different approach, but let me summarize. Basically you have two paths you can take:
- Changes are small and in few minutes you can update the post and it is all good again
- Changes are huge and it is easier to quickly update the biggest changes and create a new followup post about the same topic.
The first step would be awesome because it doesn’t require a lot of time, but unfortunately usually we will have to take the second route. We still should update information in old posts which are really not appropriate anymore, but just make the most necessary changes to save time.
And yes, it is actually better to write a new post (unless that’s not landing page, but you should update it regularly anyway) and just interlink those articles. But don’t think it’s that bad! If an existing article received a lot of traffic on a specific topic, chances are a new article will perform even better!
By the way, looking through past articles is a great source for new article ideas too! And by interlinking articles, you’ll have nice SEO bumps to the new one already increasing chances for new post to rank well.
Issue No. 2: Fixing broken links
With old posts you will often have some broken links which lead nowhere and makes the user experience worse. In this post I will assume you are using WordPress and list some useful plugins and online tools you can use to find those broken links.
Xenu’s Link Sleuth checks web sites for broken links. Link verification is done on “normal” links, images, frames, plug-ins, backgrounds, local image maps, stylesheets, scripts and java applets. It displays a continuously updated list of URLs which you can sort by different criteria. A report can be produced at any time.
This is the most popular broken link checker, but it’s only on Windows.
ScreamingFrog is my favorite because I am a Mac user. The app interface is a bit better and processing is really fast compared to other software and online solutions.
The Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a small desktop program you can install on your PC or Mac which spiders websites’ links, images, CSS, script and apps from an SEO perspective. It fetches key onsite page elements for SEO, presents them in tabs by type and allows you to filter for common SEO issues, or slice and dice the data how you see fit by exporting into Excel. You can view, analyze and filter the crawl data as it’s gathered and updated continuously in the program’s user interface.
How to find broken links:
- Download and install software
- Enter URL to spider, press start and wait while processing is done
- Check external links and filter:all (I thought it should be HTML, but it’s not showing all the links there)
- Order list by status, and check for statuses with errors like DNS lookup failed, connection refused, etc.
This Link Checker looks for issues in links, anchors and referenced objects in a web page, CSS style sheet, or recursively on a whole web site. This is an option you can use in case you want an online tool, however it is much slower while processing data and results aren’t showcased in a clean list like other downloadable tools.
I guessed you would also like to have WordPress plugin for this task so I found a very popular and recently updated plugin with more than one million downloads.
This plugin will monitor your blog, looking for broken links and let you know if any are found. I would recommend to use this plugin for overall site monitoring and link checking, but not exactly for old article cleaning up process. It has some handy features, but it’s not that effective for our task.
- Monitors links in your posts, pages, comments, the blogroll, and custom fields (optional).
- Detects links that don’t work, missing images and redirects.
- Notifies you either via the Dashboard or by email. Makes broken links display differently in posts (optional).
- Prevents search engines from following broken links (optional).
- You can search and filter links by URL, anchor text and so on.
One possible route you can take is just have Broken Link Checker find those links and just unlink them, so you are not linking to non-existent sources and Google don’t have anything bad on you link wise! Downside is that you still can, and will, receive complaints that some links are not working (especially if it’s roundup article). But this technique is a quick solution for SEO purposes, even if not recommended.
I used this plugin to scan all of my broken links and to unlink all comment links where target sources were nonexistent. It was very handy for this task, however I didn’t unlink broken links in articles, because I want to clean them up manually (recommended).
Here you go, with these tools you can easily find broken links in posts. Updating these links can be a bit messy and time-consuming, since you need to actually find the link in the article and then Google its new destination.
- Open post in WordPress dashboard so you can edit it
- Use your preferred software to search for broken links in posts (recommended: ScreamingFrog)
- Open broken links in browser
- Copy broken link and search for it (Code view: CTRL+F for search) on WordPress post, so you can see how previous headline was called or get some keywords to search for
- Use Google to search for these keywords to find if link has changed destination
- If you find that article/resource, just replace links in WordPress post and you’re done
- If you cannot find past posting, just pick new article or remove link completely
This is quite a messy process that you need to do, but I haven’t figured or found a way to do that faster and not sure if you can do that at all. If you know of a better solution, please let me know – I will be very, very thankful!
Issue No. 3: Cleaning up comment section from SPAM
Ok, this is a really huge issue – no matter what you do, there are still some spam comments that get through even the best plugins and there’s nothing you can do about it other than coming back and cleaning up the mess.
I would advise to close comments to old posts, because most visitors just come and spam there hoping to get some link juice, they don’t usually don’t come to contribute or be helpful. Visitors tend to leave valuable comments in new posts, but as posts become older they start to attract spammers.
Unfortunately after extensive research I couldn’t find any plugin to rely on to clean up existing spam. I found one plugin which checked existing comments, but it hasn’t updated since 2009. There are also some database queries you can create and use, like banning some users by ip, website or email, but they are a bit risky. With database editing you greatly improve chances to mess something up, so if you consider taking this route, always backup your database – better to be safe than sorry. Since my site wasn’t heavily targeted by one spammer, I didn’t consider banning IP’s an option.
Some tips I suggest:
- Close comments on WordPress after 60-90 days.
- In the beginning of this post I advised you to get a list with the most popular monthly articles from analytics, remember? Visit these posts in WordPress dashboard and check comments there. Since they are the most popular pages, it is the most likely that you’ll find the most spam comments there trying to hurt your rankings. Just clean the most popular articles from bad comments and links getting maximal impact from smallest effort.
- However if you are really hating SPAM like I do, go to WordPress comment section and work your way through ALL the approved comments, mercifully deleting all of them looking like spam (or ones which didn’t add anything to discussion). I have 30,000 comments on 1WD, but today I spent 4 hours to go through 2,000 of them, and surprisingly almost half of them where SPAM (even Akismet plugin didn’t catch them).
These tips may sound stupid and time-consuming, but I really couldn’t find a better solution. You can try some automated ways, but no matter how good your software or plugin is, it won’t find comments, which are submitted manually in very sneaky manner.
Make sure new SPAM doesn’t get through
Ok, while there aren’t any good plugins to check existing spam comments, thankfully there are a lot of awesome plugins doing a great job to make sure you don’t get new spam!
To make sure you don’t get new spam, you can improve WordPress’ built-in settings and use a few handy plugins to take care of it.
Here are my WordPress Discussion settings:
What do we have here?
- I do not allow ping backs and trackbacks anymore, because usually these just make my site look spammy and do not spread the word and help as it was intended in past.
- Automatically close comments on articles older than 90 days. I picked 3 months – more than enough. Believe me I know that most comments to old posts are being created with the intention of gaming the system and are spam.
- I always approve each comment manually, with the exception that a comment author has a previously approved comment. This technique is encouraged because you should reply to each good comment anyway and by keeping track of them, you make sure you notice it and respond!
What AntiSpam plugins you should use?
No brainer really, even with all the criticism about this plugin lately, I still think it is a must-have plugin. It gets most of the spam out of the way and it has several handy features in comment panel like the Check for Spam button for example.
If you completely hate Akismet for whatever reason you can alternatively get Antispam Bee. It uses a similar system to Akismet, but instead of sending comment to Akismet, you send comments to Project Honey Pot which is community based.
You can get an API key to HoneyPot and join the fight against spammers by reporting spammers and learn from other people’s spammer reports.
Defeat automated spambots by adding a client side generated checkbox asking the comment author to confirm that they are not a spammer.
Very simple plugin, but it has a unique checkbox instead of classic CAPTCHAs. Spammers have tools which help break captchas, but they would need to put extra effort to get that checkbox checked. And personally I hate to fill captcha’s when I just want to leave comment on my favorite blog, I would prefer a simple checkbox instead. Tried it on 1WD and it works.
If you still want a CAPTCHA on your blog, this is the most popular plugin for that. This plugin adds CAPTCHA anti-spam methods to WordPress on the forms for comments, registration, lost password, login, or all. For WP, WPMU, and BuddyPress.
With these plugins you will be very well prepared for future SPAM coming to your site!
Issue No. 4: Improving SEO on past posts
Chances are, if your posts are ranking well, you did something right with your SEO or social promotion. There isn’t much you can do on old articles, because articles are already ranking well for specific keywords.
You can still check which keywords your articles are rank well for and you may find that you are targeting the wrong keywords with your existing SEO plugin. If you want to find out which keywords bring traffic to exact posts read below.
Follow these steps if you have Google Analytics:
- Go to Content/Landing pages and click the post you want to research;
- Select secondary dimension:Keyword and you’ll see which are the top keywords used to find your post;
- Use this information to change, improve existing search key phrases you are targeting in post SEO settings. Oh, you can update SEO headline and meta description too;
Recommended SEO Plugins To Choose For WordPress Optimization
I am not sure which SEO plugins you are using now, but here is what I suggest. In the past I used the All in One SEO plugin, but a few months ago I switched to Yoast WordPress SEO plugin and have never been more satisfied!
Improve your WordPress SEO: Write better content and have a fully optimized WordPress site using the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.
With this plugin you can easily optimize your new and existing content by setting SEO headlines, focus keyword, meta descriptions. This plugin really helps to get your posts and whole WordPress website ready for SEO.
I won’t give any tips on how to use this plugin because all the training you need is included in the WordPress dashboard itself!
This plugin won’t do any wonders for your SEO, but it will help you analyze if you have optimized your articles enough. This is a paid plugin, but I suggest you try it for a month or two, get familiar with positive SEO practices and then do it on your own. Scribe will help you do keyword research, analyze your content and help crosslink content within your own site. Optionally you might be set just with this excellent Chocolate Donuts optimization guide from SEOmoz.
Their analyzing feature is why I recommend Scribe, using it myself on 1WD. Keyword research is better with the Google Keywords Tool, but their analyze feature is irreplaceable!
That’s it about the SEO plugin part, I tried a lot of different plugins lately, but those are the only ones I find really helpful while optimizing articles for SEO.
However, if your site is really badly affected by Google, you might take a look at the article I wrote before. It’s all about spotting red flags on your site overall, and there is also an extensive list of tools and plugins which can help you with the process. Here is the Google SEO article. Enjoy!
Let me know how you clean up and optimize your existing articles or spam comments! I would love to hear your techniques and tips so I can improve this post even further! I would love to hear your feedback in the comment section!
Next one is a bit short, but important. Let’s look at bouncing rate.
Website’s Bounce Rate
One thing a blogger or an owner of a website needs to take into consideration of is its bounce rate. This is very important for it tells you on how many visitors are “bouncing” away on your site. A bounce rate determines the success or failure of a website.
Wikipedia defines bounce rate as:
A term used in web site traffic analysis. It essentially represents the percentage of initial visitors to a site who “bounce” away to a different site, rather than continue on to other pages within the same site.
Image by: ddablogimages
With this definition, we may say that the lower the bounce rate of your website is, the better. For this means that visitors are exploring more through your website’s content.
Reasons on Having High Bounce Rate
These are the common reasons why a website may have a high bounce rate:
1. Loading and Error Issues
Viewers are impatient when it comes in loading a website. If it takes too long to load, users tend to just close the window or find another site related on what they are looking for.
Image by: Doomgiver…
Few Reasons That Can Slow The Loading Performance of your Website:
- Too much Flash effects.
- Huge sizes of images.
- Videos that automatically buffers.
- More requests submitted on the server.
Have you experienced where you went to a site and all you see is a code instead of the content that was supposed to be shown on the screen? Of course you will feel bad about it, so you just close it and find another website.
Image by: pneff
2. Poor Web Content
Another element viewers are looking for on a website is a good content. Good and enticing content gives your viewers a drive to read more and explore your site from one page to another.
Here are some characteristics a web content must have:
Viewers are good at recognizing if a website offers a well-informed content, for they are trying to find the most relevant and quality content related on what they are looking for. Put all the relevant information that is needed by all kinds of viewers. Also, always start from the most significant information. Your text is one way of promoting your site, so your better put relevant information on your content.
Grammar is very important to consider in writing an effective web content. When viewers see that your content is in good grammar, it gives them an impression that you are knowledgeable. A content that is well-written tend to bring viewers back again and again on the site. Also, it must be constructed well to give a professional look on your content.
- Brief and Precise
Your viewers are impatient to read a lot, and they are always excited to have the information they want and go on. Make sure your content is brief, maybe at least 300 words and 600 at most. Also, you should balance your content to have a brief yet well-informed content.
It should also be precise. Your site’s content must give a clear explanation on what you want to convey.
- Interesting and Entertaining
Even contents must be interesting to the eyes of your viewers and must give an entertainment. In this way, your viewers will have that excitement to read and explore on what your website offers. This also lessen the boredom they would feel even they are purely reading a text.
- Original and Unique
Originality and uniqueness matter in everything.
Originality makes your content, as well as, your website to stand out from the rest of other related websites as yours. You can get ideas from others but never copy the same content.
Also, viewers does not want to read a content that is the similar with the most. They always want something new. Always try to put a twist on what idea you have in mind to make it unique.
- Relevant and Attractive Headings
Headings are very important, because these are the first phrase your viewers will read. It should be relevant, where it directly describes your topic and if possible sums up everything you write. It should be attractive and drives curiosity on your viewers. You may read our article about writing effective headings here.
3. Poor Web Design
There are a lot of ways where you can decrease the amount of your bounce rate. But before anything else, start from the thing where you have all the control on what to choose from. Start decreasing your bounce rate by designing your website properly.
The design of a website is a great factor where you can decrease your website’s bounce rate. I have here the different components of a website and some tips on each to help you in getting a lower amount of bounce rate:
Image by: piestobis
A domain name is a combination of letters, symbols or numbers that labels an entity on the Internet. It should be specific, unique and captivating. Remember that your domain name must reflect on what you are advertising for.
- It should be brief. One or two words with five to eight letters could be enough for your domain. Viewers does not want to type a long URL, this annoy them so much.
- It should be easy to remember. Your domain name is your trademark that reminds your viewers that this name has this kind of website.
- It should not be complicated. Do not make it too complicated to pronounce and understand, so your viewers will easily remember your address.
A website with a boring design makes viewers look like this:
Image by: Chelsea
I know you don’t want your viewers to feel bored when viewing your site. Each viewers are expecting an attractive web design to make them feel excited to explore.
Usability is also one factor viewers are expecting on a website. A site with a user-friendly interface and navigation is a thumbs up on your viewers. This gives them comfort in browsing your website.
Creativity should also include on your component when we are talking about web interface. A beautiful background can attract viewers to explore your website, just make sure that your background is related to what you are promoting for. Also, never use more than one background on each page. This gives a thought to your users that when a background changes, they are stepping on another website.
Image by: Donna *deestea*
Colors are also one way of bringing your viewers to go on your web page onto the other. Capture their attention by using attractive colors that is relevant on what you promote. Never use bright colors, this can irritate their eyes. Also, choose a color combination that could reflect your business or personality.
The first things your viewers may notice on your site is the header. Today, many websites have artistic or creative headers. In this way, you catch your viewers’ enjoyment and able to explore your website. So if your website does not have a nice header, they just tend to leave your website.
Take a look at these websites that have attractive headers:
Navigation is very important on your website and for your viewers, this is their way on browsing the rest of your pages. So, if your navigation is not well-designed your viewers will just “bounce” away on other site.
A navigation should be:
- Noticeable. As what I have mentioned awhile ago, navigation is your viewers’ way to explore your website. Making them easily noticed gives your viewers the urge and curiosity to “bounce” on one page to another. The color of your buttons must contrast your background’s color, so it can be easily noticed.
- Easy to understand. Navigation must be easy to understand by your viewers. The moment they see it, instantly they should know on how the navigation works.
- Attractive. One component of a website that could capture viewers’ attention is with your navigation. Make your buttons attractive by putting a hover and a release effect. Putting sound effects may attract too.
Here are some examples of websites with well-designed navigation:
The English Riviera Comedy Film Festival
The web design itself is creatively designed. With the navigations, they are put into contrast colors to make them noticeable.
This is a good concept where links are separated by using different images and circles. In this way, viewers already have an idea on what to expect when they click a button. A well-designed navigation indeed.
I find the navigations so unique to put it as a list and the font used are very attractive.
Typography plays a big role in conveying a message on your site. You can use typography when you want to focus on something. Here are some tips when it comes to choosing your fonts:
If your viewers find it hard for them to read your text, they would just close the window or find another website. Make sure you fonts are in a size where it can be read properly. Most designers use 12px for the body text and H2 for the header.
Be appropriate. For instance, if you are creating a website for a company it would be better if you
Did you know that you can be creative evener with the fonts you are using? Yes you can. For instance, if you want to emphasize something you can put your fonts in bold letters. If you want to put more life on your site, use lively font colors. Just make sure it still look readable and professional.
Here are some websites with a good typography:
The fonts are creatively done. I like how the designer use typography to make the website look attractive.
The fonts are very readable and clean. Make sure you put your font colors in contrast to the color of your background.
Even there are several fonts used on this site, I still find it very clean and well-designed.
Putting media is a great way in attracting viewers. When they got attracted, they tend to explore more of your site.
Image by: Northwest Folklife
Music is relaxing, but not appropriate for a website. It is not good to put a music on a website. First, it adds to the loading. Second, it can annoy your viewers. There is an appropriate place for music, but it is not for a website.
If you want, you may use sound effects but do not put too much. It will make the website look unprofessional.
Image by: ArtsySF ©
Images are great way in attracting viewers. Research says that viewers are more into viewing images than reading.
- Put images but be sure they are related on your content.
- Do not put images that is too large in size.
- Pure texts can be boring, as well as pure images. Combining the two can make your website look good.
If you are promoting a product, you can post a picture of that product. This is a good way of informing your viewers on what your product looks like.
Image by: Rhor
It is okay to put videos, just make sure that they are related. Also, do not put it in an automatically played setting. This makes the website load slowly.
Balancing media and text is equal to a perfect web content.
Here are also some of the components you must have and must not have on a website to reduce your bounce rate’s amount.
Image by: Snæþór Halldórsson
These are the things viewers might consider as distraction when viewing a website:
- Automatic Pop Ups
- Scrolling Texts
- External Toolbars
- Automatic Downloads
Never put these on your website. I tell you, your viewers might get annoyed or distracted and just leave your site.
External links are hyperlinks on your website’s page where will lead you to another website.
As the definition says, it leads on another website. This is not your purpose, your purpose is your viewers to stay on your website as long as possible. So, avoid putting too much external links on your site to avoid high bounce rate.
Interaction between you and your viewers is a good way on letting them be back again on your site. For bloggers, interactions can be a great way to give a good amount of bounce rate on your blog.
Here are some ways to create an interaction on your site:
Feedbacks are good ways to know on what your viewers or clients think of what you advertise. In this way, you will know what they like and they don’t. This also gives an impression that what they say are important to you.
Image by: Jorie O’Brien
There are a lot of tools you may purchase on the web in collecting feedback on your site. Here are some of them:
Comments build communication and relationship between you and your readers. The more interactive your site is, the faster it will become popular.
Image by: premasagar
I have here some comment system you can use on your website or blogs.
- Realtime comment system
- Social integration
- The Community Box
- Connected communities
A comment system for WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr and other blogging and CMS platforms.
Some features it has:
- Commenter Profiles
- Comment Threading
Click here to see more of what it can offer.
Publishers can quickly embed Echo on any site and turn their static pages into a real-time stream of Diggs, tweets, Facebook updates, comments and more.
- Increase Traffic
- Increase Engagement
- Increase Time Spent
Web design plays a big part in gathering a good bounce rate. All you have to do is to attract while advertising your own or your business. Attract while advertising. Advertise and inform.
What about you? Do you have anything to share regarding this? Feel free to share it on the Comment section.
You probably heard of over-optimization penalty by Google, right? If not here you will hear about it. Ready? Let’s go!
How to Fix Over Optimization Penalty in Order to Please Google
Let me start with a quick introduction to the recent debate on Over Optimization Penalty for those who live under some sort of information proof bunker and haven’t heard a bit about it. You will probably hear (and notice) the effects of this new discussion once your site loses all its organic traffic. SEO experts will tell you that it is the new Over Optimization Penalty from Google which has pushed your website down on SERPs. Then you will start Googling and probably stumble upon multiple articles that will teach you stuff which by then will hold no meaning just because you were sleeping when you shouldn’t be!
What is Over Optimization Penalty?
Well, the over optimization penalty is another patch from Google (Bing included for that matter) to save their search results from the smartness of SEO masterminds. Last year it was Google Panda update, before that it was the paid links crackdown and this year it will be the over optimization penalty. This has now become a habit of Google. Whenever there are too many questions being thrown at Google they come up with some patch or other to silent their critics.
Google, by no means, seems interested in totally changing their algorithm architecture. Instead, they have been patching their algorithm to fight those who trick their systems. Soon Google’s search algorithm will be a patch of patches with confusions all around.
Over Optimization is one such patch which Google will crack a whip on websites that concentrate more on SEO instead of content quality. Matt Cutts, Google’s anti-spam chief, hinted the same at the recently held SXSW. Under this new penalty, once effective, Google will penalize websites for abusing SEO tricks. The idea is simple – let content be the king and Google the Demigoddess.
And the idea is basically to try and level the playing ground a little bit. So all those people who have sort of been doing, for lack of a better word, “over optimization” or “overly” doing their SEO, compared to the people who are just making great content and trying to make a fantastic site, we want to sort of make that playing field a little bit more level.
And so that’s the sort of thing where we try to make the web site, uh Google Bot smarter, we try to make our relevance more adaptive so that people don’t do SEO, we handle that, and then we also start to look at the people who sort of abuse it, whether they throw too many keywords on the page, or whether they exchange way too many links, or whatever they are doing to sort of go beyond what a normal person would expect in a particular area. So that is something where we continue to pay attention and we continue to work on it, and it is an active area where we’ve got several engineers on my team working on that right now.
~ Matt Cutts
But, Why is it Important for Google to Implement Over Optimization Penalty?
Well, lately everyone has been writing for search engines and publishing whatever their audience wants to read. That touch of innovative thoughts on articles being generated doesn’t seem to exist.
I am sure that most of you, the content developers, won’t agree with me because I am questioning how you make your living. But, for a moment, forget about it being your job and think.
- Don’t we write what people want to read?
- Don’t we write for the audience?
- Don’t we write for traffic?
- Don’t we write for better search engine rankings?
See, I am not saying that we have stopped writing innovative stuff. All that I am saying is that the innovative quotient in today’s content has gone down. We have become more and more search engine friendly.
Few years back we used to pick up our morning newspapers and skim through the headlines to find whatever was useful for us while sipping our cup of coffee. Gone are those days of newspapers. In this age of Internet we rely on Google News type websites that curate the latest news information. So, what happens is that writers notice a topic which is trending on such leading websites. The result is obvious. All of them start writing about that topic. In no time that particular topic starts trending with other important stuff buried somewhere.
In short, the media ends up shaping the news and forces the readers to read what is trending. Although that is useful for readers, in this process some of the best news is lost somewhere. This must be controlled.
We need to promote the investigative sort of content creation where writers generate new ideas and Google helps those writers stay on top. It is important for writers to write something new and then readers search about that on Google for extra information. It is important for innovation to take over spamming. It is important for honesty to take over technology. It is important for us to stay crystal clear with our readers.
So, is SEO Dead?!?!
Well, not really. Chill fellow SEOers!
Let us all read two more pointers about Search Engine Optimization. This will help us understand what SEO is and how over the years we have been missing its real definition:
- SEO is about analyzing data related to your site’s traffic in order to understand what exactly your viewers are looking for. This data will give you a picture about what search engines love in your website and what they index the most. An intense analysis of this data will help you understand how to optimize the website’s content for the reader’s benefit. Note that nowhere did I ask you to optimize the content SEO wise. I did not ask you to push in extra keywords. I asked you to generate content that readers will love.
- Secondly, SEO is about technically improving your website so that search engines are easily able to crawl it. You, as a SEO specialist, need to understand how search engines crawl websites so that you can come up with an infrastructure which is search engine friendly. Again, I don’t mean extra keywords. I am talking about good coding standards and information hierarchy.
See, as of now Google is trying hard to come up with that perfect search engine algorithm which will index pages that are actually appreciated by readers. For this all that we can do from our side is generate comprehensive content. The rest will be taken care of by Google (and Bing’s small share).
“We’re always trying to best approximate if a user lands on a page, are they going to be really, really happy instead of really, really annoyed? And if it’s the sort of thing where they land on a page and they are going to be annoyed, then that is the sort of thing that we’ll take action on.”
Okay, I agree! Now, HOW do I tackle Over Optimization and Avoid the Penalty?
I know, I have written over 1100 words of content which might make no sense if you just skim through it but it will if you read it carefully. For those who are now convinced that the implementation of Over Optimization Penalty by Google makes a lot of sense from the search engine giant’s perspective then for them here is my way out. Let us read it point by point:
- STOP keyword stuffing – See, there is no such theory as keyword density. Really. Gone are the days when a keyword density of 3-4% will take your article somewhere. Please don’t stuff keywords everywhere. I mean that you should not do it on purpose. See, it is very obvious that you are tricking the system when you stuff keywords in anchor texts, URL and title tags. Write content that makes sense – for search engines and for readers. The rest will be taken care of.
- STOP linking to websites in your network – Lately Google has been angry with webmasters who interlink to all the websites in their network. See, if you have a collection of 50 websites and you start linking to all of them from all of them then you are obviously over doing the interlinking thing. Aren’t you? Ask yourself guys! And, once you realize that you are at fault then stop doing the same.
- STOP using backlinks from useless places – Well, this what we call link spam. You, as a SEO, can do your best to garner links from comments, directories and various networks. The moment you do this manually to trick the system, you will be caught and killed. They really don’t make any sense so don’t spend time in such stuff.
- START creating content – Go back to the archives of 1stWebDesigner itself. You will notice that Dainis, the owner and only author back then, was writing content regularly. He didn’t write stuff that will make it into history books but he made sense. He provided readers what they wanted to read. The end result was pure content which was worth every word. Readers loved it and 1WD grew like hell. And, it is still growing. So, just make comprehensive content and fall in love with it.
- START interlinking to old posts – See, once you start developing regular content then indirectly you are telling Google that guys I got fresh content. I know you love fresh content and see I have it. Why don’t you crawl my website more often? Once Google starts to crawl your website then you can push in few more advice for the crawler. And that you will do with the help of internal links that will link to older blog posts of your article. By using the idea of internal linking you are actually telling Google that my other content is also useful. You can crawl that too. Makes sense? But, please don’t over do it.
- START doing SEO – So, did I confuse you? Well you got confused because you haven’t read the rest of my article. You really haven’t. Scroll up and read the “Is SEO Dead” section. Try to figure out what actually SEO is and implement that format of SEO in your website. Get it, Mr. SEO?
Google might not be God but whatever they have created is their own system. You can trick them today but in the long run they will pin you down. After all it is their own arena. They created it. They aren’t losing their own game, right? So put some sense in yourself and have fun.
Next we are presenting you with Google AdWords crash course, that will help you to get more traffic. Shall we, begin.
A Crash Course in Creating Campaigns with Google Adwords
Google Adwords is a very important tool if you want to advertise your business online. In this article, I have listed down the important & most frequently use terms in Google Adwords, which you need to get familiar while using Google Adwords. Once you get familiar with all these terms then you will have less problem creating & managing campaigns.
Campaign includes different ads groups that contain different ads which target different keywords. We can create maximum 25 campaigns, for Each Campaign we can set a daily budget. We can use campaign to target different countries or products. we can also schedule the campaigns.
Source: “Growing your business with AdWords”
It is the part of a particular campaign. An ad group contains different ads which in turn contains various keywords. We can create 100 Ad groups for each Campaign. Different ad groups can be created to advertise different products.
You can create multiple ads for single ad groups & test the effectiveness of different ads. There are three different types of ads Text ads, Image ads & WAP Mobile ads, which you can create in the ads section.
Text Ads: It contains five parameters they are Headline, Description line 1, Description line 2, Display URL & Destination URL. All this parameters have limitation of maximum number of character per lines.
Image Ads:The image ads supports gif, jpg, png, & swf formats which could be of size 50k max, the other parameter image ads include is Name Image, Display URL & Destination URL.
WAP Mobile Ads: The mobile ads can be text ads as well as image ads the other parameters this ads includes selection of different markup language & even you can select different carriers for which you want your ads to be displayed
Keywords are the key terms that are related to the product or service you are providing. Here we can choose various keywords that are related to your ad. For Each keyword we can have specific budget. In Adwords, there are four different keywords categories which are broad, exact, phrase & negative keywords.
Exact Keywords: When you ads some keywords in exact format then the ads are only shown for that search words. Exact keywords are added as [keyword].
You have design blog as your exact keyword then your ad will be shown when users search this exact word as the search queries. If users enter different query like famous design blog then your ad wont be displayed.
Broad Keywords:Broad Keyword are just opposite to exact keywords, as your ad will appear in all search term containing that your keyword. Broad keyword are added without any quotes & brackets as keyword.
If your keyword is design blog then It will appear for the search terms like famous design blog, graphic design blog , design WordPress blog & design blog website.
Phrase Keywords: Phrase keywords are the words that will appear in the same pattern that you have added into your ad groups. The order of the keywords is taken into account. You can add phrase keyword as “keyword”
If design blog is your keyword then It will appear for the search terms design blog, wordpress design blog, flash design blog. It will not appeared for the search terms like design php blog, java blog design.
Negative Keywords: These types of keywords are used ensure your ads are not shown for that particular search terms which that are included is search queries. This keywords are added as –keyword.
If you are selling an design ebook on your website & you have design ebook as your broad keyword in the ad groups, hence when user search for free design ebook still they will see your ad & will click which will generate unwanted clicks on your ad. Hence you need to add terms like free in your negative keywords section to save the damages from such words.
It’s an abbreviation for cost per click. It is the cost you pay for each ad which has been clicked. We can set a default bid (price) for all keywords present in the ad group or we can add unique bid to each keywords.
Default Bid:If we set default bid of 5.00/- to the ad group then it is applied to all the keywords in that ad group. So if our keyword is cost is 1.00/- then it will appear for five clicks.
Unique Bid: If we set unique bid for each keyword for example 2.00 for a keyword in ad group then it is applied to particular keyword and so if your keyword is cost is 1.00/- then it will appear for only two clicks only.
It is cost per 1000 impression. Impression is number of times your ads had been displayed at Google network website. So you are charged for displaying your ads.
If your CPM is 50.00/- then you will be charged 50 bucks for displaying your ads for 1000 times at particular website.
It is known as click through rate. It is the ratio of no of ads clicked to Page impression. It is expressed in percentage. It is use check how well your ads are performing. It is expressed in percentage.
If your ad is clicked 5 times for the Page impression is 1000 then your CTR will be
CTR = No of time Ads Clicked/Page Impressions * 100 = 5/1000*100 = 0.5%
It is which position the ads will appeared on Google & its network website. The Ad ranking on Google depends on three basic things that are Max CPC, Quality Score & Min bid.
Max CPC : It the maximum cost your willing to pay for your keywords.
Quality Score: It depends on the relevancy of the ads which are displayed (It is calculated by Google).
Min Bid: It is minimum bid(price) we pay for keywords
It does not mean paying a higher CPC & bid will improve the rankings. The main factor is the relevancy of the ads. So if the ads are relevant then we don’t need to pay high price for it.
Ad Variations will help you display your alternate ads for a particular ad-group here you can set the frequency how random an ad need to be changed. This will help you decide which of your ads is working better.
It is helps our ads to be displayed at various Google network site. As many people used Google Adsense on their website to display Google ads on their website. In ad placement you will find top websites which are daily receiving more then 100k visits. So you can select website best suited for your business and can display your ads at those site.
This Feature will help to scheduling a particular ad campaign at particular time period. We can pause ad campaigns for certain days when we are receiving less conversion for example on Saturday and Sunday. We could also display ads at particular time of the day, such as we can pause our ads in the morning and at nights.
You can also download the Google Adwords Beginner Guide: http://www.google.com/adwords/pdf/hc/growing_adwords_en.pdf
If you have some tips or advise for the Google Adwords Management do let us know in the comments.
And for the end, a bonus. A tool that can help you improve your website.
Crazy Egg Review: Is Your Website Hot Enough?
So, you have a website. Probably you are selling something or you want to collect people’s email addresses and it works. Or does it? As a marketer, are you satisfied with your current conversions? As a designer, do you feel like you made the right decision when you placed the search bar on the sidebar? But there is one tool that we at 1stwebdesigner.com is crazy about- Crazy Egg. Don’t search high and low about the Crazy Egg review when you can have that here!
What is Crazy Egg?
Crazy Egg is a tool that allows web designers, web developers, and marketers to know where users click on web pages. Crazy Egg boasts that with their tool, you can collect 88% more data than eye tracking tools currently in the market. And rightly so, they have big names under their sleeves- brands like Etsy, Monster, Yahoo!, eBay, Dell, Skype, and even Intel.
The main idea is to help analyze the users’ engagement with respect to the entirety of the page, along with their interaction with individual elements. With the data generated from Crazy Egg, anyone can boost their website’s conversion rate.
Here are the four main features of Crazy Egg:
A heatmap is a graphical representation of where people click on the website. It shows the amount of people clicking on an element, or the lack thereof. By knowing where people click, interested individuals can leverage this knowledge to design a more efficient webpage to increase conversion rates.
The data shown on this review is only based on 1000 visitors.
It’s fun to learn that more people prefer to click page 2 instead of clicking on next!
Crazy Egg’s scroll map lets you know which part of your page is interesting for your readers. This feature works best for long pages with lots of elements as it shows how far down the page people will scroll before leaving. Armed with this knowledge, you can reposition important elements to sections where visitors stay the longest.
This screenshot of the scroll map shows that the positioning of our advertisements are perfect!
As expected, only few people scroll down to the bottom of our website. This is the reason why we do not place important elements this far down.
The overlay shows how many clicks the elements on your page has received. While the heatmap shows the total number of clicks on any area (even on whitespace), the overlay shows the number of clicks for elements in a conclusive way.
The beautiful thing about the overlay feature is that you can determine the who, what, and where of each click. I’m absolutely floored when I discovered this! If your goal is to increase the number of clicks on a certain element, you can use both the heatmap and overlay to determine which positioning works best.
Confetti is my favorite of the bunch. It shows not only where users click on a page, but it shows what website and country they come from as well as what search term they used to arrive on the page, and many more.
Another screenshot reveals that more users tend to click more on the pagination instead of the next button.This connects with the heatmap above.
What are Crazy Egg’s practical uses?
It can help you make more money.
Seriously. By knowing where to place your advertisements or your call-to-action elements, you can easily capture the attention of your audience. But, not until you leverage the data you get from Crazy Egg and redesign your website accordingly.
Many successful Internet marketers like Derek Halpern of Social Triggers swear to it that there is money on email lists. How can you build a good list? I won’t go into the great details but, basically, it involves the following:
- Offer – what will they get when they sign up? Is is an ebook, a special discount to your product, or an email course?
- Traffic – obviously!
Positioning is important. You need to place your sign-up form where people will notice it, and you’ll learn exactly where by using Crazy Egg.
It can help you design better websites.
People have their own browsing habits; however, these do not differ from one another that much. By knowing what works on similarly structured websites, you can easily craft the perfect website for your clients.
By knowing your visitors’ habits, you can also answer several questions like:
- Are the images or links on your sidebar being noticed?
- Are people clicking on elements that are not linked to anything?
- Is the color of your buttons convincing enough for people to think that they can be pressed?
I’ve used Google Analytics for several years now and always find it to be extremely useful. But GA’s In-Page Analytics can be frustrating to use. In-Page analytics is the closest thing Google Analytics has for heatmap tracking- and it’s quite useful too, albeit frustrating.
This is where Crazy Egg comes in. I’ve tested a couple of other heatmap tracking tools and none of them has come near to what Crazy Egg has to offer. Ditch the eye tracking tools, and even In-Page analytics, and pick up Crazy Egg if you want to increase your website’s conversion rate.
I highly recommend Crazy Egg. It’s very easy to use and fairly priced. It gives you what you want. No fluff!
Exclusive: Crazy Egg 90-day Trial
Because of my good experience with Crazy Egg, I talked to them and asked if they can give our readers an extended trial period to experience their tool, more than the current 30-day trial they offer. You know, so that you can do more testing. And generously they agreed to a 90-day trial!
So, what are you waiting for? If you are a marketer, a UX designer, or anyone who’s interested in increasing website conversions, this is the PERFECT chance for you to find out what you are doing wrong!