If your sites been up for a while, you’ve probably accumulatedÂ links and rank for some keywords. With just a few of the right changes, you can have a big impact on traffic and sales.
This section details site changes that leverage work you’ve already done, and outlines several high-impactÂ improvements for your site.
Unique titles and descriptions on every page
Unique, compelling page titles and text descriptions are crucial to both user experience and high rankings. Titles and descriptions (controlled by on-page meta tags) are an indication to search engines and visitors of the content and quality of a page.
Page titles act as headlines in the search results. Great titles grab the visitors attention and get them to click through to your page. When the visitor arrives at the page the headline reassures them that they’ve come to the right place.
Descriptions are body of text under the title in the search result. Effective descriptions give visitors a detail and a tacit promise of what they will see if they visit.
Here’s a great example of a title and description that works:
Rank better for your keywords
Page titles tell search engines what a page is about. You should include keywords in the title that reflect the content of the page and that you want to rank for. Ideally, you want to put the keywords first in the title, then (optionally) your site name or other branding information.
Examples of effective titles are:
- How to get your site to page one in Google | Yo-Yo Dyne Web Marketing Inc. (Title with company name)
- Seven avoidable mistakes made in B2B marketing and what to do about them
- Do you have these common Web issues?
A great way to get ideas for your headlines is to look at titles from magazines as well as headlines on sites like Digg and Twitter. Look for titles forms that are compelling and collect them for future use on your pages.
Use compelling descriptions
Think of descriptions as opening paragraphs. They need to hold the readers interest and begin to deliver on the promise of the title. Descriptions can contain keywords but should look more like a sentence they compels the reader to click.
Use Header Tags
Like an outline, Header tags show search engines and visitors the structure of your document. To reflect the hierarchy of the document, major topics should use H1 or H2 tags and subheads should use higher number tags. For titles and headlines you’ll want to use the H1 tag.
Use Bold and Italics
As with good writing, bold and italics are used to make a word of passage stand out from the rest of the paragraph. Use them the same way on your pages.
Non-HTML File Types
Are you using FLASH, Video or PDF files on your site? To improve ranking for these types of pages, consider the following:
Optimize PDF files
Here are a few improvements if you are using PDF files:
1) PDF files reading order controls what text is seen first by the search engines. The first text seen is often what search engines display as a description in the search results. This allows you to approximate the functionality of the meta description tag. Most PDF creation tools allow you to set reading order of the document.
2) Be sure that your PDF is comprised of text as opposed to graphics. Take a look at the cache for the page in text format to see if you have readable text in your PDF doc.
3) For greater control over the ranking factors, consider creating an HTML version of your PDF files. Since users often prefer to view PDF files if available, be sure to include a link from the html document to the PDF. To keep the PDF version out of the search engine’s index be sure to disallow it in your “robots.txt” file and to use a “nofollow” link from the HTML version to the PDF file.
This post is getting a bit long, I’ll cover the rest of the factors in part 2.
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If you have questions, please leave a comment below.