Internal and external links
Another element of organic SEO that’s just as important as your web site content is the links on your pages. Links can be incoming, outgoing, or internal — and where those links lead or come from is as important as the context in which the links are provided.
When links first became a criteria by which crawlers ranked web sites, many black-hat SEO
users rushed to create link farms. These were pages full of nothing but web links, some of which led to relevant information and some of which led to sites in no way related to the topic of the web site. It didn’t take long for search engine designers and programmers to catch on to these shady practices and change the way that crawlers use links to rank sites.
Today, links must usually be related to the content of the page, and they must link to something relevant to that content. In other words, if your links don’t go to or lead in from pages that match the keywords that you’re using, they will be of little value to you.
The balance of links that are included on your page is also relevant. Too many links and your
site could be considered a link farm. Too few and you’ll lose out to sites that have more and
Your best option when including links on your web site is to link to the pages you are certain
are relevant to your site content. Don’t include a link unless you’re sure it will have value to
your visitors, and then take the time to pursue links into your site from them as well.
One other type of link, the internal link, is also important. This is a navigational link that leads visitors from one page to another on your site. The navigation of your site (which is what these links are, essentially) should be intuitive, and natural in progression.Finally, don’t forget to include the site map. Your site map not only makes it easier for crawlers
to index every page of your site, but it also makes it easier for users to find their way around in it. Ideally, users will never have to rely on the site map, but it’s nice to include it in the event that they either need it or simply want to click directly to the page they’re seeking.
How you design your site map is a matter of preference. Some organizations create site maps
that include only the top two levels of pages. Others include maps that go three levels down or deeper. Whatever level of depth you think will be required by the majority of users is how deep your site map should go. Keep in mind, however, that site maps can become just as overwhelming as any other navigational structure if your site contains hundreds of pages. In short, design your site map so it’s easy to decipher and takes users to the pages they are seeking without difficulty and confusion.
User experience is a little harder to quantify than other site-ranking elements. It’s easy to claim that users will find your site simple to use, that they will find the information or products that they’re seeking, or that they will have reason to return to your site. In practice, that’s a little more difficult to achieve.
How in the world can a site gain search engine ranking by user experience? It’s fairly simple
really. Search engines today are smarter than ever. They may not be able to make you a grilled cheese sandwich, but they can certainly keep track of what results users click when they run a search. Those result selections are essential to the organic ranking of your site.
Here’s a scenario. Suppose you search for something like health-insurance information. When the search results appear, how do you choose which results to look at? Most users read the small descriptive lines that are included with the search engine ranking and select according to those.
In most cases, the sites that are visited are those sites that are highest in the rankings, but
search engines also monitor which sites are actually clicked on, so let’s say you search through the results and click a link on the fifth page. Suppose several other people do so as well. That link on the fifth page is going to show more traffic than links that are higher in the results, so smart search engines will move that page higher in the rankings. It may not jump right up to the number one position, but it’s entirely possible for the site to move from the fifth page of rankings to the second or third. This is part of the equation used when user experience is taken into consideration.
Another part of that experience might be how quickly the user jumps back to the search page. Maybe when you click that link on the fifth page, you can tell when you hit the site that it’s not the page you were looking for, or doesn’t contain the information or product that you were looking for. You click the back arrow and you’re taken back to the page of search results. This behavior is called bounce, and the rate at which users bounce off your site is an indicator of the site’s usability in terms of how relevant it is to what users are searching for. This relates directly to the keywords the user searched, which relates directly to how your site matches those keywords. To maximize the usability of your site, make sure the keywords you choose and the description of your page are as accurate as possible.
It may take some time for you to learn how to make all of these elements work together,
especially when it comes to elements such as descriptions and keywords. Be patient, and be
willing to experiment with different combinations of words or descriptions until you hit on
the ones that send your site rank closer to the top search results. Just remember that this is a process that’s more of an art than a science, and it takes time (usually two to three months) to see the most accurate results.
When the Internet first came into being, web sites were all about disclosing information. The
only interaction between a web site and a user was the passive reading the user did while on
the site. Today, reading is still important, as users search web sites to learn more about products, services, or topics, but there’s much more to web sites now than just text on a screen.
We now live in an interactive age, and most of us want and expect to interact with the web sites we visit. That interaction might take the form of a poll, the capability to comment on a blog post, the downloading of a file, or even a game that relates to the site content. No matter what the type of interaction, users expect it, and search crawlers look for it.
Site interactivity is essential to achieving a high SEO ranking. Sure, you can garner a high ranking without interaction, but it won’t happen nearly as fast, and the ranking will likely be lower than that of a site that does offer some form of interaction with the user.
Why is interaction so important? Simple. If you can influence a user to interact with your site, you have more of a chance of gaining a goal conversion. Goal conversions are the completion of some form of activity designed to gather further information about your user. A goal conversion can be something as simple as enticing users to sign up for a newsletter, or it can be more specific, such as persuading them to make a purchase.
No matter what goal conversion you’re seeking, the way to achieve it is through interactivity; and the more frequently users interact with your site, the more likely it is that they will reach that goal conversion page you’re monitoring so closely.Goal conversion is the purpose of many web sites. For example, the target goal conversion for an e-commerce web site might be for the user to make a $25 purchase. If you can entice a user to purchase from your site — that is, meet the goal conversion — you have more of a chance of getting that user back to your site for a future purchase, to find additional information, or simply to interact with your site again.
All of these are important aspects of your web site’s traffic patterns, and search engines look for elements of interactivity to judge the value of your site to users. One goal of search engines is to provide value to users. Those users turn to the search engine for help in finding something specific.
Just as it’s important for your site to land high in the search results, it’s important for the search engine to provide the information that a user seeks within the first page or two. Making the user happy is one way search companies make their money. Another way is through the fees that advertisers will pay to have their pages ranked high in the search results or their advertisements shown according to the keywords the user was searching by.
In other words, search engine optimization is a two-way street. It’s also a business, and search engine companies are always trying to find ways to improve their business. For that reason, these elements, and many others, are an essential part of search engine optimization.
Organic SEO is certainly not easy to achieve, but you can improve your chances dramatically
by having a solid SEO plan that outlines both where you are and what needs to be added to
your site design or content to make it more visible to users. It also takes a lot of time and effort to create and implement the right SEO plan, but if you use your SEO plan as a stepping-stone, even for organic SEO, you’ll stay focused and eventually achieve the search engine ranking that you are working toward.
Thanks for Reading
Thanks for Reading