What Makes a Website Reputable?
The simple answer is websites are no different than what makes a person reputable. The number one key factor in establishing a strong reputation is to get referenced by others with strong reputations. Endorsements still carry weight online. I am not just talking about other websites giving backlinks to your website, but more about social media accounts linking to your website. Think how much traffic you would get if the president of the United States tweeted about your website? Obviously that is quite unlikely, but you can see the idea. If some respected person in your website's niche shares your content for you, your website's reputation immediately strengthens.
However, it isn't just about that one big share from a highly respected person. It is arguably more useful to have a bunch of less respected people that share your website's content. Think how much traffic you would have if 200 people with a few thousand connections each tweeted/shared your website's content once a week. Reputation isn't just about one big reference, it's about developing solid content that makes people want to share your content. It's about content that is so good that people can't resist telling others.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is arguably the most difficult task for website creators. We make these awesome websites, and we have no solid way to share them with people. We also do not have the luxury of a massive marketing budget. Do not get too down on yourself. There is hope for the small developers like us. Google actively works to bring users to the best website for their search terms. That means Google loves websites with great content that are closely related to the user's search terms.
Wait you say... Google seems to have a bias towards websites with a ton of links. In this world, it seems like the amount of links is all that matters. False! Granted, links are probably one of the most important metrics, but they do not hold the majority. Think about how much stuff users search for... millions of different terms. These big name websites obviously can't cover all those terms. You have to find your niche. Mine, unfortunately, is crowded out by tons of developers that got the idea of creating a website for web development tutorials. No worries. You stand a much better chance than I do. Let's take an quick look at what all factors into SEO.
In SEO, content should be your number one priority. Even if you do everything else and don't contribute much to this topic, you website will fail miserably. Users dig content, but they dig great content even more. What good is a website that has no important content? It isn't. If you have come to this website to attempt to figure out how to promote a website with no content, shame on you (unless it's a web application). Let's break down content into its components:
Now, we can discuss each of these terms. Quality is simple. Don't make typos (unlike me) and structure your sentences well. Consider running your content through spell checking software like Microsoft Word. Also, do not create little tiny pages with less than a couple of paragraphs. On the flip side, do not create a massive document that has like 50 paragraphs.
Research and Words are one of those things that people generally fail to do at the beginning and try to implement later (guilty). If you have studied the Information Architecture tutorials, I discuss the importance of controlled vocabularies. Search engines are quite clever, but let's face it. They still do not understand the content. They only see the words and maybe even a thesaurus of the words, but they do not "understand" it as we humans do. So, find words that you think your users will use to find your content and stick to using them. Do not being overly annoying with it, but try to use the controlled vocabularies where appropriate.
Structuring your HTML to reflect your page content is another important part of improving your website's SEO. The title, meta description, and all of the heading tags provide the most important power for SEO. Think from a search engine standpoint really quick. Obviously, the page title is pretty important, as it will be showing up in the search results. The meta description is the same story, as it will also appear in the search results.
HTML Title Optimization
The page title is important for search engine optimization in a number of ways. Like I said above, generally, the page title is displayed in the search results. Since search engines want relevant results, they will probably want your page title to contain or be related to the user's search term(s). Another reason why a relevant page title is a good idea is because non-search engines also use them. So, if you are trying to incorporate social media like Facebook, they also might use the page title. Finally, some users still bookmark pages. Bookmarks typically use the page titles. So, the user will be able to easily find that favorite article on your website much easier the second time.
The meta description is important for SEO in many of the same reasons that the page title is. It shows up in the search results and other websites might use that text when linking to you. If you have ever heard of an elevator speech for a business, your meta description is pretty much just that. It's an abstract of your content and your chance to entice visitors into viewing your awesome content. Meta descriptions are longer, which makes them more specific. However, it also means you might run into more trouble. If search engines can't match your meta descriptions terms with the terms inside you main content, they might not display your website in the search results. They do this because it looks like you are stuffing content in the meta description that the page isn't really about.
The SEO Architecture tutorial explains how to craft your website's architecture to be optimized for search engines.
The architecture of a website can have a significant impact on your website's SEO. Quite often, the architecture of a website is the most overlooked fault of a poorly optimized website. It should go without saying that if you want your website to be listed in search engines, they must be able to find your content. No, I am not talking about simply submitting sitemaps, which is a good idea, but does not eliminate the problem of poor architecture. Another thing to consider is how fast your website is. Did you know that search engines care about their users? They want lightning fast results for their users, including how long it takes for your page to load.