How To Apply SEO Changes To Your Site
Implementing SEO changes can be one of the toughest parts of any search engine optimization project. Admittedly, it takes a lot of time and energy to come up with the right keywords, choose the right themes for pages, and write content, but in many cases the biggest challenge involves getting the optimization onto the site itself.
If you're using a webmaster to upload your SEO changes, implementation problems are either a matter of scheduling or competence. We have run across "webmasters" who were retained by small businesses, even though web design was actually a paying hobby performed between construction jobs. Imagine being told that you have to call the webmaster on his lunch break, or after 6PM, if you want the code uploaded, and then imagine him asking you what you mean when you keep saying "FTP. " Explaining the finer points of optimization changes can be tough when your contact is not too familiar with metatags.
You can also run into implementation issues when dealing in shopping carts or DIY CMS programs. Some shopping cart builds just aren't "SEO Friendly" and if the original version of the cart was modified, it may not be possible to upgrade to the version that is current with search engine requirements. We have seen more than one case where a programmer was required to implement SEO code changes, because the software build was so customized that only one person (guess who) could make changes to it. Many content management systems also don't allow for the robust implementation of SEO tags and tracking, or these systems will assign a single default title, description and keywords to the entire site. It may be necessary to upgrade your account or take it to another provider in order to make your site visible to search engines. Surprisingly, in 2010, there are still sites out there that operate with frames, and search engines can only see a portion of the homepage content for indexing.
Implementation problems can also become very complex. If a site has code errors that prevent spidering, or adds Session IDs into the URL, search engines can get confused. Depending on your programming, there may be "search engine friendly rewrites" or other solutions, but there are more than a few big companies that opted to go with custom designs which did not put SEO into the equation. You may be experiencing server issues that create errors when search engines come to visit, and these can be vey expensive to fix depending on the size of your site. Finally, you may be dealing with webmasters and people in IT who have a fixed idea of how SEO works, or who are prejudiced against anything that doesn't look like elegant code. In many cases it is necessary to reiterate that you are working from the standpoint of a search engine spider which reports to an algorithm, so your desired changes might not be that intuitive at the execution level.
How do you implement an SEO program when you are faced with such challenges? The best way may be to do it in stages. Making sure you have good titles and content on your site is a start. If there are immediate steps you can take that will make your site more spiderable, these can be done first. Most optimization projects have elements that can be prioritized, and with a competent SEO consultant you can discover which items need to be fixed first, and which can wait. By prioritizing your optimization projects, you can push for initiatives that will help you get discovered, and then refine your site over time instead of trying to launch everything at once, which sometimes is just not possible. By the end of the project, you should hopefully have a site with all the major SEO elements in place, and you should be positioned for search engine rankings. If you can press on in your SEO when similar competitors are giving up out of frustration, you have already prevailed over a good share of your online adversaries.
View All Articles by Patrick Hare
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About the Author:
Patrick Hare has been managing online and offline marketing projects since 1999. From 2005 to present, he has been with Scottsdale Arizona's Web.com Search Agency (formerly Submitawebsite). Patrick provides Search Engine Optimization and Marketing advice to in-house customers and Web.com Jacksonville’s web design group.
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