We’ve been doing quite a few posts about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) lately. SEO isn’t hard the same way calculus is hard, but it can be very time consuming and is constantly changing.
You can ignore it all together, but know you probably won’t get a lot of traffic from Google. You can pay someone to do it for you. Most of the providers you find cheap aren’t very good and the good ones are rarely cheap. The going rate for a firm to look at your site and make recommendations is often $750 to $1000+. That’s for a one time recommendation! To have them monitor and make ongoing recommendations or to actually implement to recommended changes would likely make you faint.
The option most of us will choose is to do it ourselves. The odds are you’re not a web developer and you don’t have 20 hours a week to devout to SEO, so you need focus on things that are easy and things that give a big return. We’re going to look at Julia Crane’s site again for some recommendations that go from really easy, to really painful. Thanks again to Julia for letting us use her as our SEO guinea pig!! Her Alexa ranking has already gone from around 13 million to under 6 million. Go Julia Go!
The first recommendation is an easy one: change up those page titles. The title on Julia’s main page is “Julia Crane, Young Adult Author” is PERFECT. The title should ideally contain the terms you’re hoping people will use to find you, and her title has her name and what she is. What could be optimized is the fact that her site currently uses the same title on every page. Ask yourself what you think will draw people to the page and try to incorporate that phrase into the title. Most search engines display 60 characters to try to keep that in mind.
The next suggestion is just as easy. Add a link page!!!! Since day one the biggest component to Google’s algorithm is how many quality links your site has to it. By adding a link page, you can start the oldest and most revered SEO practice of them all, link building. Our next SEO related article will talk more about link building but basically you want to go to other websites in your genre and offer to put their link on your site if they put your link on theirs. If lots of popular sites in the eBook industry link to your site, Google will assign your site a lot of authority and you will rise in their results pages.
The last idea for this article is a painful one. This is less a suggestion for her and more of a warning for those of you getting started. Don’t split up your efforts!! Let me explain what I mean.
The more quality content you post to your site, the more people Google will send to your site. The main reason this happens is Google thinks you’re a good site if you’re constantly producing good content. The secondary reason is that the more content you have on your site, the more phrases there are for people to hit on while searching. Our site is getting over 100 visitors from Google each day. What’s sending them here? EVERYTHING. So far today our site has gotten 98 visits from Google, on 59 different terms! They’re mostly variations on Lizzy Ford and her book names but the more you say, the more people will find you. This doesn’t mean you just post whatever, it has to be original and of high quality. That takes a lot of time to do.
If you have a website and a SEPARATE blog, you’re hurting yourself in the long run. It isn’t a death blow and I’m sure there are sites who have overcome it but it does make for a tougher haul.
Every time you make a good post on your site, your authority with Google goes up. When you make a good post on your blog, it helps the blog but doesn’t really do much for a separate site. This is why WordPress and Joomla are so popular. They let you have your site while offering full blogging functionality. If your starting off should you do your blogging on your own site, YES!!! Should Julia toss the blog and merge the blog onto her site? I couldn’t make that recommendation. If she was running a WordPress site, I would recommend that she bite the bullet and merge but she’s running a pure HTML site and it’s really nice looking. The effort required to convert her site to WordPress wouldn’t be trivial.
As I said earlier, this does not mean that her site will never do well. It can and it will, she will just have to work twice as hard to keep producing content on both sites.
As always, feel free to post any questions or comments. If you’re interested in having a SEO evaluation post like this done on your site, please feel free to use the contact us form and let me know.