The news about the global economy seems to get worse every day. The stock market keeps declining. Massive layoffs and foreclosures have shaken consumer confidence, causing people to change the way they spend their money. So with people buying less, Web sites must be optimized for both consumers and search engines so you can capture the buyers still out there.
Here are five tips to help improve your Web site for users and search engines:
1. Use the right keywords. Choose the most relevant and highly queried keywords that potential customers are searching on. Google offers a number of free tools such as Google Trends and Google Insights for Search to aid your keyword research.
2. Build the right content. The content on your site makes or breaks your search campaigns, and determines if you can close the sale. Optimizing your content for the right keywords allows you to be found by users who are searching for your products and/or services. Ultimately, your content is one of the many factors that helps determine whether or not users make purchases.
3. Leverage user-generated content. Since consumers are always looking for affirmation that what they’re doing is correct, user-generated content and forums should be part of your Web site. This content allows consumers to see what other people think about the products or services they’re considering buying.
This type of content also is naturally optimized for search because it’s created directly by your customers. In addition, it helps keep users on your site and makes them less apt to look elsewhere for the affirmation they seek. Finally, promote this content on your site and make it easy for users to participate.
4. Get your navigation right. Your site's navigation also helps users and search engines. Make sure the links on your site use the keywords that are mapped to them. This tactic also should be used for any global navigation on your Web site. Breadcrumbs — or navigational links that appear below the page header and provide a trail for users to follow back to starting/entry points — are another great tactic that allows users to easily move between different levels of pages on your site.
5. Tell them what to do. Offer a clear call to action. Granted, it won’t increase your search visibility, but it’s vital to drive sales. Once you get users to your site, tell them what you want them to do.