12 SEO Tips for Whole Site Optimization (Part 3 of 3)!
12 Crucial Whole Site Optimization Tips for Increased Rankings
Whole site optimization is an integral and important part of search engine optimization. The following SEO tips will help your overall efforts in the SEO Rankings War.
I believe that the greater you follow these guidelines, the greater chances to achieve higher rankings and positions in the search engine results pages. I also believe that whole site optimization needs to work directly along side with on page optimization and off page optimization.
1. Choose One Topic for Your Site
Search engines respond well with branding… one central topic. In other words, brand yourself in your field of expertise, whether you are an SEO Guru, a Network Marketing Expert or Health Junkie, etc. You can write about other stuff too, but make sure your writing is geared around your primary topic.
2. Flat Site Architecture… Building a Strong Foundation
Whole site optimization is an important step for laying the foundation for any successful SEO campaign. Your site’s architecture can greatly impact the ranking of your site as a whole including the search engine results and the pages that the search engines index.
So, What is Flat Site Architecture and How Does it Affect Your Site?
Your sites architecture refers to the layout (it’s overall structure) and the way each page is connected to each other. To create flat site architecture is a positive SEO move, because it helps reduce the number of clicks it takes to reach the furthest depth of your site.
Interpretation… the deeper you go (having to click a link to find a page), the more link juice you lose. To learn more about flat site architecture, follow the link to the article I wrote ‘Flat Site Architecture for a Rankings Boost!’
3. The XML sitemap for the Search Engine
There are many SEO tips for optimizing a person’s site that are overlooked, one of which is a sitemap.
A sitemap is exactly how it sounds, it is a map of your whole site. This site map is one single page that will show the structure of your site, link by link, category by category.
The letters XML stand for Extensible Markup Language and does not do anything… it was created to structure, store, and transport information. This XML sitemap will store all sorts of information about your site, dates of submission, last time pages were updated etc, and is for the eyes of the search engines ONLY.
This sitemap will help the search engine optimization for your site by making sure that all the pages can be found. For more on the XML sitemap and how to get one for yourself, follow the link to the article ‘XML Site Map | Are ALL Your Pages Indexed?’
4. The Importance of an HTML Sitemap for Human Users
An HTML sitemap is a method that will allow your readers to navigate through your whole site. It’s a one-stop-shop (single page) and is usually in the form of a textual outline of your sites navigation. The anchor text that is displayed on the HTML sitemap page will be linked to each page that it references which will aid a visitor to locate a particular topic by looking through the sitemap’s menu.
Matt Cutts (head of Google’s Webspam team) says “It’s a sitemap for users… it’s very handy, it has good usability and it can be great for your search results.”
If you have an HTML sitemap, it is an important SEO move to have this page available from any page on your site, but most importantly the home page. The best location to make this happen is usually found in the footer of your site… you can see my sitemap in the footer below.
If Google finds a sitemap on your home page, it will see it as important, follow the link to the HTML sitemap page, and begin crawling each link on that page.
5. Cross Linking Between Pages
One On-Page SEO tip I’ve spoken about on several occasions is cross-linking… this will help with the flow of your link juice to other pages, showing them as important to the search engines… this will involve linking to other related pages on your site.
Example… while you are writing your blog article, if you have previously mentioned something in another article that is related to the one you are currently writing, link to it. This way, the link juice of the page you are currently writing about will help improve the ranking of the page you are linking to. Did you follow that?
Make sure that when you link to the related article, that you use anchor text which is another way of saying linkable wording that says something about the page you are linking to. If you would like to learn more about this subject, follow the link to my article ‘Anchor Text + 1 Rule = Increased SEO Rankings!’
Cross-linking is a double bonus of sorts… it does aid in whole site optimization, but it also helps with the on page optimizing process that you should already be doing.
6. Site Layout and Structure
You have two main audiences to keep in mind here when designing the layout and structure of your site… the search engine, and more importantly the human.
Search Engines - these robots/crawlers/spiders should be able to follow each and every page from the highest level of your site (Home Page), all the way to the lowest depths of your site. We have spoken briefly about sitemaps and how they can help with this operation.
If the search engine can follow your structure properly to the lowest depths of your website, you are good as gold in their eyes. If the remainder of the pages in your site are optimized correctly, then the chances of every page within your site being indexed by the search engine, is pretty good.
The Human Factor - your site should be appealing to the reader and easy to navigate. In terms of SEO, if the person can find his or her way around your site without any problems, then the search engines will have no problem navigating either, scoring you brownie points with them.
7. Page’s Loading Time
You may or may not have heard, but Google has implemented websites downloading speed into their ranking algorithm that judges your site. Below are a few reasons why the Google engineers decided to implement your site’s page speed into their algorithm.
- Faster websites create happy users
- Improving site speed reduces operating costs
- Users place a lot of value in speed
The main point here is to make sure you remove any unnecessary elements that are slowing your site down. For bloggers, remove any unnecessary plugins that you aren’t using, reduce image sizes if they are big, along with compressing those images for the Web (next topic), etc.
8. Image Compression
As briefly spoken above, optimizing your website for faster loading times is a vital part for user interaction. There have been studies done by Google for page loading speed… in a nutshell, the engineers behind the test say that if a person is trying to visit your site and it takes more than a few seconds to load, the user will most likely lose interest and move on.
Optimizing your images can play a factor with Google… these images can be compressed for site speed. If you happen to use Photoshop, then you should have an option called “Save for the Web”, during the saving of a image file. This feature will help reduce the image kilobyte file size (not referring to the actual dimensions), therefore reducing load time of your site.
If you don’t have image editing software, you can use the FREE online image optimizer.
9. Update Your Site Frequently
Search engines love frequently updated sites… creating a routine and frequently updating your website with fresh, quality content in your field of expertise is one way that you can gain a reputable, authoritative based site.
I recently wrote an article about how this site, SEOBlogOptimizer.com went from an Alexa Traffic Ranking that started in the high millions, down to under 100,000 in less than 3 months. I believe that a large portion of this blog’s success is due to being consistent… I also know that there are many other factors involved for the success, but I believe that this is one of them.
You can read my thoughts by following the link for ‘How I Got My Alexa Traffic Ranking Below 100,000 in 3 months!’
10. Link Friendliness
Link friendliness can go right back to the structure and layout of your site… if it is not friendly to the point of allowing the person to navigate from one page to the next without frustration, then the person may move on and never come back.
You can have great content, but if the person has a difficult time going through your site, so will the search engines. There are ranking factors in the algorithm for user experience… if you don’t meet these requirements, your rankings are in jeopardy.
Making sure your site is link friendly can include having good, easy to understand navigation, which can also include the cross-linking we spoke of earlier… also, check your links to make sure they go to their proper destination and are not broken.
11. URL structure
In the SEO world, the shorter the URL the more successful that page can be. When the URL structure is long, the relevance and weight of each word in the address gets diluted. Let me give you an example… if I had the URL address that was similar to this… ReadAfterTheDot.com/dofollow-links-from-article-directory-sites-make-great-authority-backlinks/
What would main the topic be with a URL like this, is this an article about ‘Authority Backlinks’, or are we talking about ‘Dofollow Links’ as a general statement, or is this article about ‘Article Directory Sites’? If your URL has your main keyword in it, yet it includes too many other words, the importance of the main keyword phrase is lost within the other words and phrases.
Of course the article covers all of the above at some point in the post, but search engines like Google want to know what your main topic is, so choose ONE. Just like SEO experts preach to you about choosing only one main keyword phrase for your article, do the same here and go with your main subject keyword and the rest will be supportive to that topic… look above at the address for this article.
12. Age of Domain
The age of your domain is important… it shows that you have experience. There are billions of sites on the Web… many of them are here today, gone tomorrow. Google and other search engines want to know that you are planning to be around for a long time, so will rank you accordingly when you have proven yourself over some time.
Who would you trust to buy a used car from… the company that has been around for a long time and has a positive, proven track record, or the used car lot that just opened their doors a month ago?
On another note for domains… it is also a good idea to have your domain registered for more than a year. Search engines can penalize sites that have their domain registered less than a year… many spam sites are often registered for a short period of time.
If this is you, contact your domain name provider and renew your domain for an additional year.
Closing Comments About Whole Site Optimization
Bonus # 13. Write Like a Human
I have read a lot of articles that are written by people trying to find their way to the first page of Google by cheating the system… what I mean by that, is for a while you could just repeat the same keyword phrase within your written article many times and it would sling-shot you to the front page or at least close.
None of the above matters if you create content that sounds like a robot wrote it. For those of you that repeat the same phrase over and over because it has worked in the past, the Google Panda algorithm is going to eventually catch up to you and put you in Google Prison, with little to no chance of early parole.
Follow the tips above, write some great content, be patient and the results will follow.
Below are the 2 RELATED Articles that work hand in hand with Whole Site Optimization… DON’T Move ON Without ReAdInG Them!
Here is Part 2 of 3, ‘Off Page Optimization‘
Here is Part 1 of 3, ‘On Page Optimization‘
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About the Author (Author Profile)
John Engle, known as ‘The Blog Optimizer’, is a Search Engine Optimization Blogging Specialist Taking SEO by Storm! He Specializes in Keyword Research and On Page Optimization. If You are a Busy Entrepreneur that Would Rather Concentrate on What You Do Best, Leave the Keyword Research and Optimization to an SEO Specialist, Hire John as Your SEO Blog Post, On Page Optimizing Specialist.