Top Five SEO Optimizations That This Site Needs

For most companies, SEO is an important task that should be planned early and integrated into every aspect of the website implementation.  This is important because organic search queries will typically equate to better conversion.  The StripedCow website gets a fair amount of traffic, but most of our traffic is from direct links (something that was emailed, for example) and referring sites.

We’re okay with that.

There are plans to increase our SEO rankings, but an overwhelming number of the projects that we’ve been involved with are from word of mouth referrals.  For the most part, the StripedCow website is an on-line brochure, a place for potential customers to see the sort of work we can do and what we’ve done for past clients.

So here’s a rough list of Search Engine Optimization FAILs:

1) The URLs Need Work

On this site, clicking a tag will show all of the projects and articles that are related to the tag.  The problem is that the URL shouldn’t have the word “tag” in it, especially near the front of the URL, which is prime SEO real estate.  Worse, the archive links on the right  aren’t “pretty” (for example http://stripedcow.com/?m=201009&cat=4) and we should clean up the URL for the search form results page.

2) Too Many Keywords on a Page

In general you’ll want to pick three or four keywords per page and use them in strategic locations (one in the post title, scatter them through the page content, maybe put one in image ALT tags, use them in HTML meta tags, etc).  The last article I posted had too many keywords and they weren’t reinforced in a way that makes them usable for SEO.

3) Project Titles are Bad

Related to the previous issue, the title of a post is a fantastic SEO resource – it’s used as the title tag for the webpage, the URL, and it’s usually an H1 tag (which gives it more weight to search engines).  The Projects section of our site uses the name of our client or a short description of the work we did, so we’re missing out on an opportunity.

4) Lack of Description on the Home Page

The contents of the “description” meta tag is often the first thing that someone reads when they see a site listing on the web – search engines use it, as do some social networking sites and directory services.  While this is a big issue and easily fixed (especially since we’re using the excellent “All in One SEO Pack“) – the point is that SEO work is often hidden in the HTML.

5) Bad Company Name?

StripedCow is a great name, but not very helpful for SEO.  You would expect the name of a website to be high in the search engine results and if you Google for “StripedCow”, you’ll see that we’re the first site listed.  That’s great, but when someone is searching for web developers, they’re not going to Google for the word StripedCow.

There are several smaller issues that we need to address as well, there’s a fairly comprehensive list of things that we’ll be tackling over the next couple months.  But even when the main work is done, SEO is an ongoing task that needs to be performed and monitored to make sure that the changes are.

Take a critical look at your own websites and see if you can learn from this list.  Come back next week when I show how we could increase promotion of the StripedCow website with a few built-in WordPress features.

[Lee Stewart]September 27, 2010