This quarter's SEO Web site review selection is very interesting, and should be useful to many readers. Their Web site recently launched, and like many new sites, has several elements that need to be corrected to attain success in the SERPs.
Web site: Water Filter Corner
First, some high-level tips that don't really fit within the confines of my quarterly review:
- When building a Web site for SEO, do some research in your industry. Find the Web sites that seem to consistently rank among the keywords that you're targeting. Find out how many pages they have indexed in Google and Yahoo and where they get their links. Then, build your strategy accordingly.
- Look for areas to make money before SEO kicks in. Perhaps Google Product Search or any number of other shopping feeds could help bring in a little money while you're trying to gain organic traction.
Now let's break down a few areas that will lay a solid foundation for this Web site to do well in the coming years. Remember that good SEO isn't a "set it and forget it" affair and absolutely isn't a quick fix. (There are some exceptions, such as large/popular brand Web sites that merely lack a few elements.)
Search Engine Friendly Design
Don't take URL structure lightly. If your Web site's pages already rank well, it might not make sense to rewrite URLs. Every situation is unique.
For Water Filter Corner, I'd recommend they rewrite their URLs. The Web site is new enough and doesn't have any rankings at the moment, so they should take this opportunity to set things right.
For example, the URL http://www.waterfiltercorner.com/product/AQ-ZY is for their AquaKoozy bottle carrier product page. To keep with proper structure, the URL should be http://www.waterfiltercorner.com/products/aquakoozy/.
Keywords within the URL have proven to help when gaining rankings for a particular keyword. When you decide that this tactic is right for you, be sure to 301 (permanent) redirect your old/legacy URLs to their new location. Redirects often aren't put into place, or Webmasters use a 302 (temporary) instead of a 301.
If you think about how blog posts rank, and the importance of permalink structure within your blogging efforts, this is a good rule to follow when developing pages with SEO in mind. In a typical blog/permalink structure, the URL includes the keywords that you have used within the "title" (header/H1) of the blog post.
These same words also end up being your title tag. And, chances are, these keywords will be used within the first paragraph of textual content on the page. Even better, links pointing to this page are very likely to include the same keywords. This is what I refer to as "Synergy in Search."
Another URL issue to look at is canonicalization. Links to "home" on this Web site point here: http://www.waterfiltercorner.com/home.html. It's important to be consistent in the manner that you refer to your home page. Because this Web site is new, all links to "home" should link to http://www.waterfiltercorner.com/ instead.
Next up: content. "Content" means any textual element that the search engines can read/index. This includes title tag, description tags, header tags, and body copy.
Looking at this Web site's home page, a novice might think their header is "Welcome to Water Filter Corner." But "Welcome to Water Filter Corner" is actually a graphic. I don't know why. It's not as if there's some kind of custom font or some "brand" reason why this is an image. Besides, using CSS properly, you can get the font to look how you'd want it to look, and gain additional text for the Web site.
Their actual H1 is: "For your family's health, Water Filter Corner is the place for drinking water filters, whole house water filters, shower filters, and more."
A well-structured H1 should look more like this: "Water Filter Corner."
Perhaps secondary keywords could be H2's, H3's and so forth ("Drinking Water Filters," "Whole House Water Filters," etc.).
Of course, this textual content takes a back seat to the title tag, which for home page is: "Get the best drinking water filters, shower filters, whole-house water filters, and more at Water Filter Corner. Come in and shop today!"
Wow. That's long. Try to keep your title tag to around 68 characters, including spaces, and structure it so that your most important keywords are listed first, followed by your second most important, followed by your next most important keyword. These must be unique for each and every page of your Web site.
For this Web site (without having performed any keyword research), I might recommend: "Water Filters | Water Filter Systems | Water Filtration"
Then, to support this, we would need to mention these keywords within the body copy of the Web site, and perhaps link to the "Water Filter Systems" category page using the keywords "Water Filter Systems" within the anchor text of the link to this page. Then, the title tag of the Water Filter Systems page would begin with the words "Water Filter Systems", with the H1 being "Water Filter Systems" and the content mentioning "water filter systems." Starting to get the idea?
Of course, don't take these recommendations completely literally. There's something to be said for making this look "natural." Don't show the search engines that you're trying hard to rank for a particular keyword. It's a good idea to randomize the link text, especially when you're asking other Web sites to link to you.
This is a new Web site. When you check Google and Yahoo to see how many other Web sites are linking to this site, it's not a pretty picture:
Where to start? The foundation for linking for a new Web site can be laid in many ways.
Some of the basics include a listing with Yahoo's directory, Business.com, Best of the Web, and DMOZ. Most of these charge a fee; DMOZ does not. Another great way to kick-start some linking: send press releases via search engine friendly distribution services.
However, perhaps the most effective way to get a Web site off the ground is to create a blog (i.e., www.waterfiltercorner.com/blog), push snippets of your most recent posts to your home page, categorize your topics that you'll blog about by your product categories (in this case), and promote your posts via StumbleUpon, Digg, and any number of other social media networks.
This strategy won't work if your blog posts suck wind. You must write compelling content. Then, hopefully, people who visit your blog will naturally want to link to your posts and the social network will provide some viral value (traffic) for your Web site.
As mentioned in last week's column, "The Better You Rank...The Better You Rank," traffic to your Web site is an indication of popularity and it's in the search engines best interest to rank popular Web sites.
This column has far exceeded my word count limitations, so I'll continue this discussion on my blog. So, for the remaining portions of this Search Engine Optimization Review, please check out The Vizion Blog.
Join us for Search Engine Strategies London February 17-20 at the Business Design Centre in Islington. Don't miss the definitive event for U.K. and European marketers, corporate decision makers, webmasters and search marketing specialists!
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!