Does Your Web Site Need A Workout?
By Kalena Jordan
Here's an analogy for you. Yesterday, I was working
my butt off in the gym on the cardio machines, panting
wildly with sweat dripping off me and my face as red
as a beet. Not the most attractive sight, but I figure,
you're at the gym to work out right? I might as well "go
hard" or "go home", as they say.
As I looked around me, I could see all these people
simply going through the motions. There they were,
minus perspiration in their shiny new lycra and
expensive gym shoes, casually walking on the
treadmill or lazily turning the wheels on a bike while
reading a book or glued to the TV screens in front of
them. Only a few seemed to be there for the actual
purpose of working out. The rest seemed to be there
to check out the talent or to simply keep up the
appearance of fitness, while doing the bare minimum.
Huh? I don't get it. Why have these gym bimbos paid
so much money for a gym membership and all the
related gear if they aren't going to take full advantage
of their investment?
Then it struck me - these gymbos were just like those
companies who spend thousands of dollars on a
shiny new website with all the bells and whistles like
graphic design, blogs, shopping carts, web analytics,
the lot and then fail to take advantage of it. I see it so
often, regardless of company size. Web sites that
could easily be bringing in loads of traffic and revenue
simply wasting away because nobody can be
bothered tracking visitor activity, analyzing trends or
checking for search engine compatibility and usability.
These companies are simply keeping up
appearances, investing heavily in Internet technology
because their competitors are doing the same. But no
thought has gone into the search engine compatibility
of the site, how usable it is for visitors or whether it
meets accessibility guidelines. They don't look at their
site statistics, they don't check for broken links and
they sure as heck don't investigate why their sites
aren't converting traffic into customers. What a waste!
Is your web site working hard enough for you? Run it
through the following 20 point fitness assessment to
- Is your site fully search engine compatible? Are all
your pages being indexed by the major search
- Do you track your visitor statistics on a regular
Do you use the information provided by your visitor
statistics to improve your site?
- Is your web site accessible to visually-impaired
visitors? Does it meet the international standards set
down by the Web
Accessibility Initiative (WAI)?
- Do you know which sites and search engines
you with the most traffic? Do you use this information
to increase your traffic further?
- Do you track the source of all reported errors in
site statistics and fix them promptly?
- Do you know which keywords your site was found
in the search engines? Have you conducted keyword
research to determine what search terms your target
markets are looking for so you can optimize for them?
- Does your web site HTML code validate to W3
standards? Do you check for validation regularly?
- Does your site contain zero broken links? Do you
and fix broken links regularly?
- Has your site been fully search engine optimized
integrate your target search terms into your Page
Titles, META Tags and visible page text?
- Have you created and submitted an XML sitemap
- Have you created and submitted a sitemap to Yahoo
- Have you checked to see if your site meets
- Do you measure your visitor sign-ups and
conversions on a regular basis? Do you tweak your
landing page copy to increase the conversion rates?
- Is your site navigation intuitive and are your
following the navigation paths you intended?
- Do you encourage feedback from your site visitors
and provide an obvious way for them to provide such
- Are there at least 250 words of text on your home
page to satisfy search engines?
- Does your site contain a visible, text-based site
to aid user navigation?
- Do you have an ongoing link building campaign
running to secure more incoming links to your site
and improve your site's link popularity score?
- Does your site have a high percentage of repeat
visitors? Are the majority of your visitors staying on
your site for more than a minute?
- Do your search engine referrals and site traffic
grow each month?
Unless you can answer yes to all the questions in the
above checklist, your web site is not working hard
enough for you and needs a workout. Get to it!
About the Author
Article by Kalena Jordan, one of the first search
engine optimization experts in Australia, who is well
known and respected in the industry, particularly in
the U.S. As well as running a daily
Advice Column, Kalena manages Search
College - an online training institution offering
instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-
study courses in Search Engine Optimization and
other Search Engine Marketing subjects.
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People often ask me if I get bored answering all the
questions that webmasters send me, particularly the
most common ones that crop up over and over. The
answer is no. I'm much happier seeing webmasters
trying to improve their sites and asking questions
than assuming the "set and forget" mentality of some
This month's feature article expands on a blog rant I
posted a while back about companies who spend a
fortune creating a web site and then sit back and
complain that they're not making any money from it.
Just like a vegetable garden, a web site needs
nurturing and feeding to produce a crop. It doesn't
matter how much you spend on a web site - without
attention, it will simply waste away and all you'll be left
with are weeds.
Does your web site need a workout?
Read our article to find out.
Enjoy this issue and remember to visit
my blog to check out my daily answers to
frequently asked search engine questions or
submit one of your own.
Till next time - wishing you clicks and
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|FAQ1: Does changing the name of a site impact search rankings?|
I am thinking of changing the name of my internet
business site so as to direct more traffic because the
current name, while nice, doesn't really spell out what
we do. It is now Gilt-Edge Luxury Tours and Travel
and I would like to change it to DC Luxury Tours.
However, we have had this site for 10 years and it well
indexed by the search engines. Does changing the
name (but not the url which would stay the same)
have any impact on the search engines? Or would I
have to start all over from scratch if I changed the
A site name change is not necessarily a problem. It
would be different if you were changing your domain
or changing your name from one with keywords in it to
one without. Losing the word "travel" from your site
name may slightly impact your site's rankings for
searches involving the word "travel", but only if you no
longer include that word prominently in your site. Your
main site heading will no longer include "travel", but
you can compensate by making sure that the rest of
the site is optimized for travel-related keywords.
The other area that might be impacted is your link
popularity. If other sites are currently linking to you
using your old name, it might be contributing to your
site's relevancy for "luxury tours and travel". But if
ranking for "DC luxury tours" or "DC tours" is actually
more important to you, then you should encourage
sites already linking to you to change the anchor text
of their link to your new site name and of course any
new link partners should link to you using your new
name. DC Luxury Tours is certainly easier to
remember than your old name, so the change should
be good from a marketing and usability perspective.
|FAQ2: What can I do to improve ranking results on regional google sites?|
I am doing some very basic SEO work for a South
African website that targets the local market only. The
majority of local searches are done on google.co.za,
not google.com. What can I do to better my results on
google.co.za for popular keywords?
Marco (a happy subscriber of the Search Light
Glad you like the newsletter. Re your question,
the best thing you can do is ensure the site is
published on a regional domain ending in .co.za. This
is because Google gives ranking priority to regional
sites where available on their local search engines. It
would also help if the site was hosted in South Africa
as sometimes Google will check the physical location
(IP address) of a site to determine its relevance to a
regional search query.
Apart from that, try to use regional keywords in the
visible content of the pages to ensure Google
recognizes the regional market you are targeting and
will match it to related search queries. And of course
make sure the site is submitted to and indexed by the
most popular regional search engines servicing
|FAQ3: Can you offer any recommendations about bid management software?|
I am currently assessing whether it's worth investing
in some sophisticated bid management software but
am unsure a) which ones to trial and b) how much
real advantage this type of software gives - once
convenience vs. cost is taken into consideration.
The tools offered by the individual engines have
sufficed to date but the scope of some (client)
campaigns (2000+ keywords) can make regular bid
management a time consuming process.
Have you any experience with bid management
software? Can you offer any recommendations or
It just so happens that I
reviewed a number of PPC
bid management software programs a few years
As a result of my original review article, we ended up
as the best of the lot and I still use
it. I really like the gap surfing feature of BidRank and
they update their software very regularly so it always
works with new releases of PPC programs. If I recall
correctly, Google recommends them as a 3rd party
product to work with AdWords and they also have a
product that works with Yahoo Search Marketing.
full review of BidRank for
I became an affiliate for BidRank
as I was so
impressed and so all the links to the program within
this post are my affiliate links. If you decide to
purchase BidRank and you are happy to use our
affiliate link, make sure you reference Coupon Code
WR007 for 5% off of your purchase. If you'd rather not
use my affiliate link, the direct link is here.
I must admit that I haven't reviewed any of the
programs that have become available in the last two
years, so you might want to check those out and
compare them to BidRank before purchasing.
|FAQ4: Does Google favor sites running AdSense?|
It's nice to see language I can understand! You make
instructions very clear thank you. I have a new website
with Google ads on it. If I get 10 clicks per day on my
ads, does Google favor my site over and above others
that may be in the same category that don't run
Google ads? I was thinking to some extent they might,
so they can make more money. Do you know anything
about this? Thanks, and I look forward to your reply.
When AdSense first launched, there were many
sceptics in the industry who predicted that Google's
algorithm would favor successful AdSense
advertisers. Thankfully, they were wrong. I've never
seen any indication that Google gives any type of
ranking boost or favoritism to sites running AdSense.
The only possible technical advantage to having
AdSense units on your page would be that Googlebot
might visit more often. But even that is not proven.
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