Is Your Site Ready for the Search Engines?

After you have gone through the process of carefully selecting your keywords and optimizing your content, you can sit back and watch your rankings shoot through the roof, right? Not necessarily. Your content is optimized, but do the search engines have the proper tools to find and index your content? The following are some of the oft-overlooked items that prepare your site for optimal indexing by the search engines.

Optimized Internal Linking

This process is sometimes referred to as siloing and is one of the most important aspects of search engine optimization.  Optimized internal linking is important, not only from a search engine standpoint, but from a usability standpoint.  Internal linking is an important way of directing the search engines to your most important pages.  The pages that are linked to the most, the search engines deem as the most important.  Also, linking to relevant pages from within your content allows users to easily find the content that should naturally progress them through your site.

Make Unique Titles and Descriptions

The search engines are all about unique content.  They attempt to weed out duplicate pages in order to provide unique and relevant results.  As a result, if a search engine comes across two pages that have the same page title or META description, there is a good chance that one of the pages will get passed over by the search engines, despite the content that actually appears on the page.  Writing good HTML titles and META tags can not only improve your search engine rankings, but it can also increase the amount of clicks that your search result gets by enticing the potential visitor.  Making sure that your pages have unique titles and descriptions is a great way to improve your chances of getting all of your relevant pages indexed into the search engines.

Write Unique Page Content

As mentioned earlier, the search engines don’t like copied or duplicated content.  If there is a discrepancy between duplicate content, the search engines will almost always use the original source as their top result.  If your site uses product feeds for its descriptions or if you copied your content from another site, it will be extremely difficult to get that page indexed by the search engines, much less achieve a high ranking for that page.  The search engines understand that not every word or phrase is going to be unique, so they give a small amount of leeway, but not much.  As such, it is recommended that each page contain around 70% unique content.  This allows for a quote that appears elsewhere, or a list of product specs that cannot be changed or altered.  If these items must appear on your site, it is imperative that you balance the copied content out with around 70% unique content.

Clean up Your Site’s Coding

The content that the user sees visually is often entirely different than the content that the search engines see when they spider your site.  This means that the spiders must filter through all of the coding on your site including page styling, JavaScript, and image filenames.  Much of the information contained in your coding is irrelevant to the search engines and can serve as a major distraction to the spiders when they visit your site.  Fortunately, much of the coding that hinders the spiders can be referenced externally such as external JavaScript or containing your site’s styling in .CSS files.  This will allow the search engines to quickly access and index the keyword rich content that you really want them to find.

When using proper search engine optimization techniques in conjunction with preparing your site for the search engines, you will be able to see the maximum results for your effort.