Thanks to everyone who submitted their Web sites for a SEO review. I especially loved that most people said, "I will absolutely implement your recommendations," following up my column about SEO implementation. There were so many submissions that I wasn't able to get back to everyone, so please accept my apologies.
Now, onto the review...Web site: Custom Creations, Unlimited (http://www.customcreationsunlimited.com/).
On first look, this Web site isn't in bad shape from a SEO perspective. However, this site is a great example of the importance of the little things.
When we refer to on-page factors, most SEOs refer to things such as title tags, page content, use of SEO friendly Web design/development practices, URL structure, and internal linking.
For the most part, the title tags on this Web site are OK. "Photo blanket" is supposed to be the most important keyword phrase for this Web site. With that in mind, let's look at the home page's title tag (the most important/most authoritative page of the entire Web site):Photo Blankets | Picture Blankets | Photo Beach Towels by Cusom Creations Unlimited.
First off, that isn't my typo -- the word "Cusom" should be spelled "Custom." Priority number one is to fix that title tag typo.
This is a great example, again, of the little things coming back to bite you. Search engines are quite literal. They probably won't know that you meant "custom" (although search engines are getting much better at understanding what you meant). Once this is corrected, there's a pretty good chance that this page will rank for people searching "custom photo blankets," assuming the other factors are there.
Onto the body copy. When I refer to body copy, I also include header tags (H1-H6) under this section.
If you open the home page (and many category pages), you'll see virtually no textual content. There are many images and quite a few links, but I like to recommend a minimum of 300 words of keyword-rich/user-friendly content on the home page and around 250 words of content on category and/or product pages. Select your most important keyword -- specific to each/every page of your Web site -- and include this in the H1.
The site's URL structure is good. In a much earlier column, I referred to this as "Synergy in Search."
Look at the Christmas Throws page (http://www.customcreationsunlimited.com/christmas-throws-182/). Notice that the keywords are in the URL. Google seems to be weighing this a bit more in its rankings recently.
Caution: If you're considering rewriting your URLs, make sure an SEO walks you through this and that every legacy URL is 301-redirected to the new URL. This is very important! Don't just rewrite the URLs just because I said so. Every Web site is unique. If you're already enjoying solid rankings and traffic, you may want to leave well enough alone.
Aside from having the keywords in the URL, there is a title tag of "Christmas Throws and Christmas Afghans," and the internal/navigation link pointing to this page reads "Christmas Throws" in the left navigation. He also has the H1 of
Christmas Throws. I might recommend that the H1 be
Christmas Throws, as this could carry more weight with the search engines.
This is where Custom Creations, Unlimited has many of its issues.
The list of backlinks from Google is short. The only links Google shows are from customcreationsunltd.com and one from worldsiteindex.com. You can view these by doing a "link:www.customcreationsunlimited.com" search on Google.
That customcreationsunltd.com domain looks awfully familiar. To the naked eye, you might assume a relationship between these two sites (same ownership?). The search engines will undoubtedly see the same. When I looked at the hosting of the two Web sites, I see the same class C block, different IP.
The idea with link generation is that Web sites that you have no relationship with have linked to yours because you have a quality Web site. Search engines are always looking for things that aren't as easy to manipulate in their algorithm so you can't easily "game" the system.
When I looked into this even further, I noticed that this other Web site (customcreationsunltd.com/photo_blankets.shtml) actually ranks for Custom Creations, Unlimited's "most important" keyword.
It seems that this other Web site has more authority because it's actually an interior page ranking for this keyword (it uses the keyword in the title tag and the URL), and these words are also in the left navigation/internal linking.
If we're interested in getting www.customcreationsunlimited.com to rank, we need to have a unique strategy for this Web site. We need unique content for this Web site, unique links from other sources (Yahoo directory listings, DMOZ, BOTW.org, others), and links from other relevant Web sites, alternating the anchor text used for the links (don't always use "photo blanket" as the requested anchor text; vary this among several keywords).
When I received the request for this review, I was told that "Photo Blanket" was the primary keyword, with other versions of this as secondary (Fleece Photo Blanket, Collage Photo Blanket, Color Photo Blanket). I don't know the industry, and I haven't researched it, but I believe that there's a "Photo Blanket" obsession.
Think outside of the box. What are the other variations that we might want to optimize for? And, always realize the value in targeting the tail of search. Every page of your Web site should be an opportunity for new business.
I appreciate all of the interest in the SEO Quarterly Reviews and all the submissions that were sent my way. I hope that you continue to get value from these.
Join us for Search Engine Strategies Chicago December 8-12 at the Chicago Hilton. The only major search marketing conference and expo in the Midwest will be packed with 60-plus sessions, multiple keynotes and Orion Strategy sessions, exhibitors, networking events, and more.
The Original Search Marketing Event is Back!
SES Denver (Oct 16) offers an intense day of learning all the critical aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising (PPC). The mission of SES remains the same as it did from the start - to help you master being found on search engines. Early Bird rates available through Sept 12. Register today!