“Could Links to My Site Hurt Search Engine Ranking?”
Although rumors of dangerous linking strategies abound, the simple fact remains that inbound links will not hurt search engine rankings. Think about it logically for a moment. If links to your website hurt you, every competitor would dedicate a good chunk of their marketing schedule to sticking your links on old directories or low ranking sites. You could not do anything to stop them, so there is no possible way Google could punish you for any links that point back to your site.
One reason Google can penalize your website’s search engine positioning is if your pages are linked to ‘black hat’ SEO practitioners. These types of illegitimate backlinks make you guilty by association and can completely destroy your search engine optimization efforts if Google blacklists your website. Keep an eye on any links coming into your website to ensure their reliability.
For most of my adult life, I have had a professional focus on the internet marketing and entrepreneurial industry. Website design and company building led me to visit thousands of sites to read their content, explore, and research. One of my greatest disappointments is coming across a website that obviously suffered from a lack of forethought. When the webmaster does not know or understand the site’s purpose, they miss opportunities to succeed with their vision.
If an online business owner shows no pride in his or her website presentation, consumers can assume they do not take much pride in their business, products, services, or customers. Just as you would turn around and leave if you went into a dirty restaurant or a store with jumbled shelves of mismatched products, you may also click away from a disorganized and unattractive website.
Every aspect of each web page reflects on your company and yourself. An attractive site does more to ensure future success than many other aspects of business. Lack of professionalism gives the impression that you care less about your company. People will believe the façade you present and assume your products and services also lack quality.
Quality is not synonymous with flashy or expensive, however. Going overboard with all the latest design elements and features might present an attention-grabbing face of your company, but if website performance begins to suffer, you will lose customers anyway. They will close their browser tab quicker than anything if the website they want to view hangs or pauses excessively. If that is your site, you have just lost a potential sale. Also, complexity discourages comfortable browsing and navigation between pages.
Besides links, menus, and attractive design, a site requires one other thing: content. Remember your target audience and why they were searching the web? Your content must deliver the answer to their questions, the information they need to solve a problem, and a healthy dose of entertainment so they enjoy their time on your site. Every person browsing the internet has a reason to go to the sites they end up on. If they go to your website and cannot find what they need, they will go elsewhere. High-quality content delivers the necessary impetus to make targeted audience members stick around.
The web offers innumerable checklists and tip sheets created to tell you what to do and not do when building a website. I’ve made one as well from my unique perspective as a professional designer. This list contains pitfalls to watch out for when designing your own site or buying a premade theme or template.
The most successful online and offline businesses have websites with clarity, quality information, intuitive design, and a specific purpose. If you already own an online business but aren’t making the profits you want, consider the information outlined above and take an objective look at your website. Most small business owners have limited funds available. Using them to give your site a style or content boost makes more sense than buying advertising for a website that will give potential customers or clients a bad experience.
Even if you choose a premade template, this information can help you create a site to be proud of. If you hire a designer, do not be nervous about asking for exactly what you want. At the very least you will understand if the finished project is worth the money you paid for it. Ask questions, read articles, study top-quality websites. None of these things require opening your wallet but can result in a fatter one down the road. The sooner you have an attractive, viable site with fast load times, built-in SEO possibilities, and quality content, the sooner your business will start propelling you toward profits you may have only dreamed of before.
New website owners frequently make a simple mistake when creating links. They use the website name or URL as the anchor text for every one. If your URL is the keyword you are targeting, this would not be horrible, but there are usually better options. Anchor text used in backlinks carry a lot of weight with Google and other search engines. Use keywords for the greatest positive effect.
A related mistake is using every keyword into every link’s anchor text and spread it as far and wide across the internet as possible. This not only makes the link itself look obnoxiously long, the non-keywords in the link dilute the power the more specific ones carry. Filler words do not help you improve search engine optimization.
The Forrester Research and Gartner Research Group recently conducted independent studies about the efficacy of ecommerce websites. They discovered that between $1.1 and $1.3 billion is lost annually when potential customers leave a website because it takes too long to load. In this fast-paced world, you have barely three to five seconds to make that all-important first impression. Customers have so many more options so they do not need to wait around for cumbersome webpages.
META tags in the header section of each web page’s HTML make a difference in how search engines index your site. These tags show not only the site title and description but the targeted keywords as well. Properly optimizing a page of a website requires some studying and effort, but the results will boost your site toward success. More than three-quarters of all website traffic stems from the eight largest search engines, with Google being at the top. Do not skimp on learning what you need to know to use them to attract traffic. Read the tutorial “Building Your Site” for more detailed information on META tags and other important aspects of page creation.
When designing your site, choose colors for your background and text that make reading easy and comfortable. Too many colors or patterns detract from the message and content. Choose shades indicative of the industry, product line, or target market. Pay attention to the moods each color represents: bright sunshine yellow gives energy and happiness while soft blue creates calm or gives a very professional vibe. Determine how you want your audience to feel and design the site accordingly. Remember to keep everything uniform so each page matches. This presents a more cohesive and polished look to potential customers and clients.
The front or home page delivers your main message to site visitors. Let them know what to expect and what benefit they get from staying on the website or doing business with you. Have you ever clicked on a site and could not figure out what the product or service was? Chances are you clicked onto another site instead of searching through links and pages to try to figure it out. Each website on the internet should have a specific purpose. The people that go to them do so because that purpose is their goal. This could be entertainment, information, virtual or tangible products, or a service.
Besides appropriate color schemes and clarity of purpose, a website should focus on a user-friendly experience. A large part of this stems from the menu or navigation links found most often at the top of the page. They could also sit in a sidebar, the footer, or in other locations on the page. No matter where you put them, make sure navigation links are visible, understandable, and do not slow down page load times with fancy graphics or animations. Buttons might look fancier, but menus with five plus page links might function better as basic text.
Create a website using the latest coding and functionality. Table-based layouts and frames should be avoided, especially since they can compromise load times and force visitors to use extra scroll bars. Anything that gets in the way of easy navigation or clear viewing will discourage visitors from sticking around. Never make people click more than three times to get from one page to the other. Display the navigation menu on all pages. Also, include the company logo on every page so visitors know where they are and to increase brand recognition as they browse.
Anyone who can write content for their website can create an ebook ideal for giving away or even selling. They make excellent freebies to entice newsletter signups. The ebook should provide extra information that coincides with the niche message of your site. Since you already provide information to your targeted audience, it should not be very difficult to come up with more to put in an ebook. Write about what you know and love.
Graphic design fans could create a beginner’s guide to working with graphics. Affiliate marketers could give away an e-book that covers how to find the best programs to join. When you write about your passion, it becomes much easier to get the words down on the screen. You do not have to be an English major to write an ebook successfully. It is, however, possible to hire a freelance writer to create one for you if desired. Read “How to Create an Ebook and Drive Massive Traffic to Your Site by Giving it Away” for more information.