Holidays and SEO
The holidays are once again upon us as, are all of our favorite holiday movies. One of mine is “Christmas Vacation.” I laugh until nog almost comes out of my nose every time I watch it. But, did you know that besides being funny, the Griswalds can teach us a few things about Search Engine Optimization? It’s true.
“Dad – that thing wont fit in our yard.” “It’s not going in our yard, Russ. It’s going in our living room.”
Clark Griswald understands that with Christmas trees, just like our Web sites – it’s all about the content. The more quality content you have, the more likely you are to attract and hold on to visitors. Also, just like Christmas trees, the flashy blinking things may pull people in, but it’s what is under all that flash that will get your visitors to stay around for a while. If you can provide each of them with a gift – the gift of the information they want – you can be sure it will not be soon forgotten.
“If you scratch his belly, Clark, he will love you till the day you die.”
Even dim-witted cousin Eddie knows that you have to do whatever it takes keep your visitors happy and give them what they want. Don’t make them have to stick their nose in uncomfortable places (AKA: awkward site searches). Reach out to them and make them feel special. Ask them what they want. Surveys and polls are a quick and easy way to connect with your audience. You should be monitoring your site’s search logs – find out what people are searching for and give it to them. Keep track of your search engine referrals – hopefully people find what they want, but sometimes they land on a page that is barely related. Use that information to create what they want.
“I’m going to put it in a bag, and smack it with a hammer.”
Poor Clark was fed up with that darn squirrel. Many of us feel that same frustration with the Google-bot. We see the pesky critter in our Web logs, but he taunts us by jumping from page to page and not getting the entire site indexed. If Clark had taken the time to create a clean, easy-to-navigate path for the little guy he may not have been so much trouble. How can we help the Google-bot? The same way give him a clear path. Clean, logical site links on our content pages, Alt tags on image links so he knows what they lead to and certainly a site-map would be quite helpful.
“Can I get you anything else? Can I drive you out to the desert and leave you for dead?”
That rascal Eddie sure can get on a guy’s nerves. Much like those competing sites that have better search rankings (that we wish the vultures would start circling). No need to resort to kidnapping of Web designers just yet. We just need to understand what makes these sites tick. Use Google’s link checker to see who is linking to them and search Google for the Web address to see who is talking about them. Review the content and code to see how you can improve yours. It takes time and research, but you can figure it out if you try.
“It’s the gift that keeps on giving.”
Once again, Eddie is right. Although, not about the Jam of the Month Club. Good site design, well-planned content, logical site structure and a thorough SEO strategy is the gift that keeps on giving. Each day your efforts will continue to bring more visitors to your site. With some hard work and a bit of luck next year all your competitors will be able to say is, “If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am now. I don’t know what to say, except it’s Christmas and we’re all in misery.”
Happy holidays everyone!