What's the biggest on-site SEO idea from 2011?

What’s the most important on-site SEO idea to take on board from 2011?

It’s ‘putting the visitor first’.

Search engines have released thousands of algorithm updates over the past year. Google’s infamous Panda and Caffeine updates, the big boys, are still rolling across t’internet like huge binary tsunami. Both appear to encourage good quality, customer-led content and promote ‘freshness’ while discouraging duplicated and poor quality stuff.

What does it mean for ecommerce?

The devil is in the detail. But the big picture is simple: make sure everything you do to your site is the best it can be from a visitor’s perspective.

What do most of us like about a website?

We tend to enjoy sites that:

  • Look good, which in a marketing context mostly means clear and simple
  • Load fast, so we’re not left hanging
  • Make it easy to find the stuff we need via as few clicks as possible
  • Are full of useful, relevant, interesting, well written information
  • Are updated regularly so everything is fresh and current
  • Are trustworthy, which is a marketing context means things like full contact details, VAT registration number, limited company details, returns policy, guarantees and so on
  • Entertain us
  • Do exactly what they say on the tin
  • Change often enough so we enjoy coming back to see what’s new

How do you tell if you’re doing the right thing?

Park your business head for a moment and look at your site dispassionately. Crowd source honest opinions from colleagues, Twitter friends and real life business networks to see if / how your site can be improved. Or get someone savvy to carry out a regular user-focused site audit for you.

Happy visitors = happy search engines

When people like a site, they stick around longer and more of them buy. When you please people you also make search engine bots and spiders happy. When search engines like what you’re doing, they push your site higher up the rankings so you enjoy better visibility. Win, win, win. Job done.