It's extremely important for IT and Marketing to work together. Kiss and make up!!! IT guys do more than play quake.
First begin your research project by looking at:
- URL Structure How many variables are in that url?
- Search Engine Indices
- Current Rankings You have a list of phrases that you want to show up better on? You need to look at historical numbers as well as current and future changes.
- Spider Activity How often are the spiders getting down to your 3rd, 4th or 5th level content?
- Determine Target Terms What keyword phrases do you want to show up for? You would want to rank for your highest converting keywords.
- Overcome technology, resource and/or
- Index, Optimize political challenges
- Monitor Improvements
Homepage titles really do matter. What keyword phrases are really important to your site?
Category page titles are important as well but its not enough. Be sure to use an <h1> tag that reflects your title tag with your important keyword. Use on page copy in a paragraph that is keyword rich.
If you've done all of this and your still not ranking what's wrong? Many times your competitor has the particular keyword in the domain or domain name. In this case make sure your important items or keywords are featured on your homepage.
Basic Optimization Principles
- Page titles
- Navigational Text
- Anchor text
Universal search- is it affecting your organic placement more off-site factors for competitive keyword phrases
Select keyword phrase improvements in Google, but takes longer to achieve top positions
Consider optimizing a Yahoo data feed
Be sure to use robots.txt file Can you exclude files that would be considered duplicate? The robots.txt is like a welcome mat at your house. People are still going to come into your house if you don't have one. Its like this with search engines, they'll still come in but your telling them where they can and cannot go. Be careful when building out your robots.txt file, 1 “/” and you can disallow your entire site from the search engines. You must educate yourself about the robots.txt file. Google webmaster central can help with this.
When doing any kind of redirecting it's recommended to use a 301. It's not good to do this on the root level though. Most of the time people link to the homepage of a site because it's the easiest thing to do, but what your telling the search engines when setting up a root level 301 is that none of my content is here but its somewhere else.
Everypage on your website should have its own address like your physical house that you live in. you don't share 20 homes. With duplicate content you basically have 20 mailboxes for one home. You need to think about which “home” or page is the important page. An example of who's doing this wrong is www.brookstone.com and the product level page (Maxell Batter, 9-Volt) this page can be accessed almost 20 different ways through this one website.
You can start with http://www.domain.com or http://domain.com If so you have 2 websites with the same content that can be accessed two different ways. How are you linking from your home button? Are you doing something like this http://www.domain.com/index.html? Now you've just created a 3rd way. You need to use a 301 and choose 1 way to link to your homepage. When linking from your navigation be sure that you are consistent as well.
Does your site still have “invisible” text links from years ago? If your doing this, you will be caught and your ranking will slip as well as the pages being indexed.
Be sure to take advantage of Google Webmaster Central and the offerings from the other search engines as well. Fix your architectural problems instead of just trying to Band-Aid with a sitemap.