Is Your Website Optimized for Search Engines?Written by Scott Buresh
Most businesses don't take advantage of search engine optimization, but few things on Internet can be as beneficial. A recent Forrester Research report showed that 80% of web surfers discover new sites that they visit through search engines (such as Yahoo, Google, or MSN). According to iProspect, 85% of web users use search engines to find solutions and vendors. Properly optimizing a site for search engines helps it to attract numerous, highly targeted visitors- visitors that may become buyers.
For technically inclined, there are numerous places on web to get detailed, in-depth information on search engine optimization. However, many people don't care about technical aspects of search engine optimization- they just want to know what is wrong with their site (and how to fix it). What follows is a practical guide that covers some of most basic search engine issues. It is in no way intended to be comprehensive, but it should help average site owner determine whether their site is optimized, and if not, how to make some simple changes to improve their search engine rankings.
Issue #1- The Title Bar. On your homepage, what does title bar say? If you use Internet Explorer, this is blue bar at extreme top of window that displays your page (it may include words "Microsoft Internet Explorer" at end). Does your company name appear here by itself, when you have more important keywords to emphasize? Worse yet, does it say "untitled"? This area should contain most important keywords you see on your homepage (Don't have any text on your homepage? See issue #2). To check rest of your site, click on any link from your homepage and see if words in this title bar change for each page in your site. They should- and each title bar should contain most important keywords from their corresponding page. Note: Very long keyword strings in title bar should be avoided- six words or less is optimal. Also, words in title bar should not repeat more than once, and identical words should not appear next to one another.
Issue #2- Content. Search engines all try to list sites that contain good content. Translation- you need words on your pages, not flashy graphics. This text should contain most important keywords that your potential customers would use to find you on a search engine. If you have very few or no words on your pages, it is a good idea to add some, ideally around 250 per page. For aesthetic reasons, this is not always practical, but even 100 well-written words can have an impact on rank. It is also important that you make certain that words are written in a language search engines can read. Using your mouse, bring your cursor down to text on one of your web pages. Clicking and holding down left mouse button (make sure you aren't near a link) see if you can highlight just one or two words of text. If you can, everything is most likely fine. If nothing happens, or you can only highlight a large block, it is most likely in graphic form. Graphic text needs to be replaced by standard html text to allow search engines to read it. Your web expert should have no problem understanding what you require, and transition should be fairly simple and affordable.
Speed up Your Web Site and Increase SalesWritten by Leva Duell
Speed up Your Web Site and Increase Sales Your web sites loading speed has a significant impact on your visitors' loyalty. A slow web site will cost you sales. Most visitors won't wait more than10 seconds for your web pages to load. Apply these techniques to speed up your pages, keep potential buyers at your site, and increase sales.
Six tips to speed up your web pages.
1.Give viewers something to read as quickly as possible. 2.Provide a lot of graphics or images only if you know your audience has fast Internet connections. (Your load time will vary depending on your visitors' access speed.) 3.If you're targeting general public, avoid large and unnecessary graphics, animated graphics, sound, movies, Flash animation, and large banners -- especially on your home page. (Graphics slow your web pages down considerably.) 4.Use graphics and images that support your sales message and illustrate benefits of your products or services. 5.Keep your pages short. Split up long pages into several pages. Breaking up pages into several pages also allows you to track which pages potential buyers go to. 6.Avoid links to slow-loading pages.
Visitors like pictures without sacrificing speed. Apply these tips to optimize your images.
- Keep images and graphics as small as possible, both in dimensions and file size. The larger file size, longer images take to download. - DonŐt make visitors wait for images theyŐre not interested in. If you want to illustrate your products with large images, provide thumbnails (small graphics), and let visitors decide if they want to click on them to view larger images that take time to download. Mention download time. - Crop images (cut off extra areas around images). - Keep resolution of your images to 72 dpi, maximum resolution a computer monitor can read. - Reduce your file size by saving images in proper graphic format (GIF or JPEG). - Reduce number of colors. Use solid colors rather than gradients. The more color in an image, bigger file size is, and more time it takes to download.