If you are a specialist in your field, it usually surprises you when you come across antiquated technology or equipment. My mind immediately goes to the dollars and cents; what is the financial impact of the decision to upgrade or not? When it comes to having a website that follows web design best practices, upgrading your site can have more than one positive impact. Not only will your site look more organized and behave more normal for users, you will have implemented some basic SEO elements that will help to improve your rankings and indexing.
If you don’t know how page titles play into users or search, that’s okay. Many small to medium business owners don’t know how to exactly use them or how they can be effective. Think of the page title as your first chance to explain to the user what is on the page. It’s not only found on the top of the browser window, but it’s also the heading in your result in a search engine. Adding in hierarchical page titles can be a very quick fix for your site, depending on its size, if you don’t have them or have just your site’s name for each page. Of the few things that Google does recommend to us, correct page titles is one of them.
Flash Navigation and Footer Links
Flash navigation is something small business owners would like on their site, so when a design firm dangles that carrot, it’s hard to resist. If you can’t resist, make sure you also request they include static navigation in the footer. Flash navigation can give some users trouble (even more depending on what you’re selling and the demographic of customers it draws), as well as block search engines. Now you might say that you read somewhere that Google is indexing Flash, but is it worth the risk to not include the static navigation? Didn’t think so. You’re better off with it; it won’t cost that much to implement and changes the feel of the page very little from the user’s point of view.
I came across a site the other day that wasn’t utilizing header tags properly. In fact, they weren’t using header tags at all. This struck me as odd and reminded me that, at this stage of web progress and development, not all websites are created equal. Additionally, they weren’t all created or updated at the same time. Using header tags correctly not only organizes your content on each page, but also boosts the relevancy of that page in the eyes of the search engines. Header tags are relatively inexpensive to implement and should be on everyone’s to-do list if they haven’t done them already. Carrie gives a quick how-to in Step 3 of her post On-Page Keyword Optimization.
If you’re thinking of investments to make this coming year or even want to squeeze in some upgrades before the end of the year (great for taxes), keep in mind these simple adjustments that could also be your first steps in SEO.