If a search engine robot encounters an unexpected dead end, it can cause problems for your SEO. According to Matt Cutts, formerly of Google, crawlability is the number one factor for preventing indexing problems on Google. Site crawlability is one of the most important factors when it comes to website structure. Crawlability refers to a search engine’s ability to crawl through your website’s entire text content to figure out what your website is all about. Part of this process is navigating through subpages and individual topics to understand the website as a whole. A web page has to be able to take a visitor someplace else within the website, from one page to another, in order to be considered crawlable.
Search engine robots are responsible for website crawling. An important tenet of good website crawlability is that there are no dead ends while crawling through your website. So how does one improve site crawlability? The easiest way is to make a concerted effort to include internal links on every page, which creates a bridge from one part of your website to another. Breadcrumbs and related posts can automate the process of site crawlability and internal linking.
The basics of proper navigation dictate that users should be able to get from one page to another without any difficulties. If your website is large and has many pages, the challenge is making these pages accessible with only a few clicks, using navigation alone. Usability experts claim that it should only take three clicks to find any given page, but use this advice as a guideline instead of a rule. Categorize and organize links in a way that won’t wreck your website structure. Internal linking works by using keywords within your content and linking these keywords to another relevant piece of content on your website.
The advantages of consciously using internal links for SEO are numerous:
Internal linking allows search engines to find other pages through keyword-rich anchors.
Internal links decrease page depth.
Internal linking gives users an easier way to access other content, which can result in a better user experience.
Search engines are giving greater value to internal links with regards to ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Oftentimes, people will link back to old content through the use of internal links. However, most people rarely do the reverse — going back through old content to link to newer content. Close the loop by making sure both pieces are connected to each other through the use of internal links.
The usability standards that today’s website are held to are much stricter than in the early days of the Internet. If a visitor comes across a poorly built website, they will make efforts to avoid interacting with it further. Additionally, nobody wants to waste their time on a website where they’re not sure what to do next. If a visitor can’t figure out how to find the information they’re after, they will seek it out on someone else’s website. A bad user experience can have a negative effect on SEO. How searchers interact with a website is interpreted by Google for future search results. Click-through rate, time spent on site, and bounce rate are all signaling factors to Google’s algorithm. Statistics indicating a positive experience validates the search results to Google. Statistics indicating a negative experience tells Google the page may not be the most relevant or useful for that query, and Google will adjust the search results accordingly. The basics of providing a good user experience include:
Aligning click-through with expectations.
Making desired information easy to find.
Ensuring that navigation makes sense to the point of intuitiveness.
Duplicate content is really bad for SEO because Google interprets it as spam. A focus on high-quality and unique content on the SERP clearly defines how your website must be structured for ideal SEO. Google’s Search Console is a useful tool for finding and eliminating duplicate content on your website. It may be possible to repost duplicate content on LinkedIn or Medium but do so with caution. As a more general rule, don’t post duplicate content on your website, or anyone else’s.
One of the most basic factors relating to how website structure affects SEO comes back to the URL structure. A few things to know for proper SEO:
Have you ever encountered URLs with characters like: &,$,#,%, or @? If the URL has a lot of these special characters, it makes it difficult for search engines to crawl the website. For better SERP rankings, use underscores and dashes to define individual words in your keyword phrase. Using dashes in between words separates them, while using underscores will make two words into one word. In general, eliminate any unnecessary characters to focus on the keywords in a URL.
Quicksprout shares the following about the optimal URL length (information):
URLs ranked in the top 10 results on average contained 37 characters.
URLs ranked in the top 50 results on average contained 36 characters.
URLs ranked in the top 100 results on average contained 38 characters.
There are outliers, but these character counts serve as a general rule for ideal website structure with regards to optimal URL length.
For best results, build in proper website structure when it comes to SEO efforts. Even at the beginning stages of a website’s conceptualization, it’s important to plan ahead for content to come. It’s not hard to see how website structure affects SEO, so make sure that your efforts don’t begin and end with keywords! If you have additional thoughts on how website structure affects SEO, we’re continuing the discussion on Twitter. Tweet your thoughts at @voxilltec, and we’ll share our favorites!
What’s The True Price Point Behind A Successful SEO Marketing Strategy?Search engine optimization, commonly referred to as SEO, is a widely used Internet marketing strategy that helps to bolster the awareness of a brand, build a list of targeted traffic and promote a company’s performance in Google, Bing, Yahoo or other search engines’ search results. Businesses are always looking for ways to spread the word of their product or service. There is no doubt how beneficial SEO can be. However, the cost to carrying out your company’s SEO strategy is going be dependent on two things:
- The kind of strategy to be put into place
- Company’s goals
Internal Hires:If you hire an internal SEO team or specialist, you’ll pay more upfront for the training costs. However, if you have a large corporation or have a very detailed strategies list you need to put into action, this is one option to consider if you’re going for a long-term strategy. When you’re trying to find the right candidate, you need to look at the skills they have. Do they have knowledge in any of the following:
- Analytical mindset
- Technical SEO
- Link building
- Content marketing
- Social media
Content Marketing Agencies:These kinds of agencies provide an array of SEO services along with their other service offerings. These agencies don’t focus solely on SEO, which is why you need to find out if they have the technical knowledge to handle your strategy. SEO services may be bundled with their packages, which could increase the cost. This option is worthwhile if you’re looking to do several marketing tasks at one time.
Dedicated SEO Firms:Firms that focus primarily in SEO usually have the most industry experience because they constantly use and test the latest SEO techniques in various industries. Larger firms hire specialized staff to make sure their SEO challenges are dealt with. Dedicated SEO firms provide an array of services and have a range of pricing options that will cater to your company’s needs including:
- Hourly consultations
- Project-based contracts
- Monthly contracts
What Kinds of Costs Can You Expect With SEO:The amount of money your company spends on SEO is going to be dependent on two things:
- Organization’s needs
- Service provider’s experience level
$500 or less per month:When it comes to paying for SEO services, you really need to be wary of a company that offers their services for $500 or less unless you’re a local company or your website is small. The reason is that these companies focus their efforts on link building, hire overseas labor and do just the general on-site technical work. This may be well and good for local companies who want to show in Google Local or Yelp, but not good if your goal is to use a keyword that’s got a lot of competition behind it.
$1,000 to $5,000 per month:Small companies who don’t have a lot of SEO demands or have easy target keywords can do well on paying within this range. However, lower costs often equates to inexperience or lack of real results. SEO demands continuous content creation, good link building and real focus on improving conversions, accessibility and usability. It’s very hard to find a company that provides these services within this price range.
$5,000 to $10,000 per month:In this price range, you’re liable to come across more experienced SEO companies that have a proven track record in regards to success, which is necessary if your company will invest in SEO. This price range ensures you get a company with a dedicated SEO team that uses professional content managers, copy editors, web development experts, account executives, analytics experts, link outreach specialists and conversion specialists. This type of team ensures you get the support you’re looking for.
$10,000 to $20,000 or more per month:Companies that have ambitious goals usually work with SEO companies or partners within this price range. After all, the SEO team or partner generally handles everything from beginning to end. With this kind of price range, a senior SEO team is generally reserved and the investment made tends to bring in significant results, as the project is fully funded and ensures more opportunities. If your company is in a competitive market, this type of investment is typical for the first year or so. Some companies spend more than $100,000 a month for SEO when they decide to target the lucrative keyword spaces.
Fixed Price or A La Carte Contracts (Contracted Services):What are your SEO needs? Well, this will be dependent upon four things:
- Where you’re currently at in SEO techniques
- Your site’s size
- Your competitors
- Your objectives
- Link profile audits ($2,500 or higher) – dependent upon the link profile size
- SEO/website audits ($1,000 to $3,000) – dependent upon the site’s size and audit depth
- Link building ($250 to $2,000 for each link) – dependent upon quality and tactic
- Per page implementation and optimization ($100 to $250)
- Copywriting ($0.75 to $1) per word
Hourly Consultation ($100 to $300 per hour)If you want to work with an SEO consultant, you could spend more than $100 an hour for a professional that can produce results for your company. This price range is extremely competitive but you need to be mindful of the “too good to be true” consultants. Bear in mind that SEO specialists are an investment, and you don’t need to cut any corners. Be sure you find a consultant that’s had a good track record and will deliver what you’re looking for. You can find less expensive consultants, but they are generally not as experienced and tend to take longer in getting you results.
Employee Costs ($50,000 to $120,000 or more a year)Your company may have continuous needs that demand certain attention that can be dealt with internally. However, you can always hire the experience of a manager or SEO strategist. The salary of an SEO employee is generally based on geographical location and experience. For instance, an SEO director at a large San Francisco tech company can make nearly $200,000 a year. What should you pay for an SEO specialist? Check out websites like Glassdoor and Indeed for your region. Now, it’s possible that some solutions may not be in within your company’s budget or be the right thing for you. However, whatever option you decide to go with, the results you get need to be based on goals and time to generate a positive return on investment. For most cases, employing a marketing or SEO manager to have on staff is a sensible thing to do. However, if you have really ambitious goals, it may be a good idea to outsource some parts of the work. This is especially true of link building and web copy, as these are often time consuming and dedicated.
5 Things to Watch Out For In Choosing Your SEO SolutionWhen it comes to picking the right SEO solution for your company, you want to do a little bit of research to ensure you get the right partner to attain results. What kinds of flags should you be on the lookout for so you know to steer clear?
1 – Claims of Immediate Results or Overpromising GuaranteesIt doesn’t matter how good an SEO consultant, agency or specialist claims they are, they don’t need to make promises of guaranteed instant success. A well-thought-out SEO strategy could take up to six months to see any positive results. When you choose your SEO provider, you want them to explain everything about how they will attain the goals you have and how long it’ll take them. If you have a complex strategy, results could take up to a year to be seen.
2 – Be Apprehensive Regarding Link Building StrategiesIf you come across a strategy that recommends you buy large amounts of email lists, followers or link, be apprehensive of them. For the short-term aspect, they could help boost your SEO efforts but it could actually damage your website’s reputation. Google, Yahoo and other search engines are always on the lookout for suspicious SEO activity, and if they find it, they’ll do one of two things:
- Penalize your website
- Blacklist the website
3 – Low Market Value Costs ChoicesIf an option seems too low with a deal you can’t pass it, it may be a sign that the person or agency doesn’t have the experience necessary to provide you with positive results. That’s not always the way it goes because some newbie SEOs are trying to build their reputation and will offer their services for a lower price to get established. The best thing you can do is ask them about their lower prices, and see if they’ll provide you with the names and contact information of their previous clients so you can make an informed decision.
4 – Costly Resolutions with No Prior Track RecordWhen it comes to SEO options, some options are going to cost you more than others. However, the solutions offered need reasons to be higher in price. When you look at these expensive options, be sure you ask for references and proof that they’ve garnered success. Bear in mind that you want campaigns that are closely related to yours. You’ll need a comprehensive proposal centered on the goals you have. Ask them to explain why you should consider their services over other SEO options that are available.
5 – Other Companies Have Seen SuccessDon’t ever fall for the assumption that a certain SEO spltion is going to work for your company just because it’s worked for other companies or your competitors. Every company has their own unique set of goals and needs, and if you limit your options to one solution, your business could suffer significantly. For instance, content marketing may work for a startup company but that doesn’t mean a local retailer will see the same kind of results. When you’re trying to find the right SEO solution, you don’t need to consider just price. While people are typically motivated by numbers, you need to weigh the pros and cons – don’t make rash decisions. In order for the right decision to be made, you need to have a solution that goes within your budget, is on target with your company’s goals or needs and can ensure a measurable return on investment in due time. What do you anticipate in terms of paying for a worthwhile SEO solution? What kinds of goals does your company have that an SEO agency or specialist can assist you in attaining? What do you feel is the most important part of SEO – what should you consider – to find the best possible solution? When you know the answers to these questions, you can weigh the pros and cons of each possible SEO option and make informed decisions.
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