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DEA website power tips

Submitted by: MikeC (Admin) on 24-Apr-08 06:32:24 PM

In my last post in this series of DEA website optimisation tips and tricks - DEA Website's: Why They Will Fail -  I covered some (major) pitfalls to avoid as well as providing some tips and tricks to optimise your site for better search engine exposure and user-friendliness. However, the assaults continue so I'm going to take it to the next level in a bid to raise the collective bar.

Click me, click what?


click here
click here
click here
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) for Cheshire

(Note: they are dud links for illustration purposes only - No kidding!).

I have lost count of the number of DEA - and industry - websites that fall prey to these cyber crimes so I am going to do my level-best to explain why it hurts your site to do these things - If you don't get it after this then I give up! Here we go...  

Signpost everything

Some browsers, applications, mobile phones and other devices can "sweep aside" all links on a web-page and list them together as above.

Why? Well, if you are partially-sighted, blind or working in a small screen, for example, it massively helps users to quickly get to the information they seek on your website, without having to scroll or read loads of text (Remember, last time I warned how your website has to be accessible, by law (Disability Discrimination Act)?) .

So, which link in the above list is most helpful now?

In context, the copy may have read something like this (dud links in bold):

"You can click here to view an example EPC or if you would like to see what a HIP looks like, click here. To have an energy assessment of your home undertaken, click here.

I am your local Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) providing Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) for Cheshire encompassing Altrincham, Chester, Northwich and places in between."

I hope the point is now self-evident - Don't click me!

Still need persuading? Maximise your Google chances

OK you want maximum exposure, right? You want your website to work for you; You'd like to be above your competition in Google wouldn't you? Eyes down, then.

Google loves links. Most of the major search engines do in fact - It's how they discover other pages. What's more, they place major emphasis on the text used in the links because they are a strong indicator - used correctly - of what the destination page is about.

Click me?

The power of context

Furthermore, they also analyse the text around the link for more clues. Let's go back a sec and look at the clues (in bold):

I am your local Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) providing Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) for Cheshire encompassing Altrincham, Chester, Northwich and places in between.

Meaningful context brought about by close proximity to keywords your new clients may type into the search engines (bear with me).

Of course, the destination page you link to will have content that elaborates on the region you cover with further nuggets of interesting information about your services (or types of properties found in those areas even - use your imagination).

Discover how Google interprets the EPC

Text links within content is more powerful than in navigation. Before I explain why, I should quickly point out I am definitely not suggesting you should go and remove your navigation menus, hell no!

OK, remember context?

You will be surprised what Google (in particular) knows about those three letters that have become synonymous with this industry: [EPC].

Here are some screenshots I grabbed using a little known query operator which highlights what Google understands by [EPC] - Note the words that Google has made bold:

Google associates EPC with both plural and singualr expanded term: Energy Performance Certificates

Expansion: Google expands [EPC] and highlights the word [Energy Performance Certificates]
Singular and plural: in both plural and singular form [Energy Performance Certificate]

(Remember, we only gave it three letters: EPC).

It also offers another interesting one:
Also associates it with Equipment for the Physically Challenged

And another Google association: Engineering Professors' Council

Clearly, it has a fairly good - albeit rough and wide - idea of what 'EPC' might mean, as you can see. So if Google understands that [EPC] could mean any of those things, it has to rely on other signals - like context, links etc - to determine that your page is actually about Energy Performance Certificates (EPC), and not engineering.

It's outside the scope of this post to explain how it works out these synonyms but suffice to say: Feed it clues.

(Psst... not many people know about the above: Advanced territory ladies and gentlemen - See, it pays to subscribe to this blog. Keep it to yourself. Oh, and if you're really sad enough to want to dig even further on the how, search for Latent Semantic Indexing, which is thought to be the closest technique they use).

Anyway, click me?

Don't flash

I'm sure I've covered this in the past too but I still see DEAs discussing it and/or using it - Give it up, I tells ya! It won't lead to extra clients or pull in more traffic.

There are very few reasons for using flash - Most sites use them totally inappropriately because the big cheese (or some marketing company) thinks it will make their site appear "with it".

Do you want traffic or the pleasure of viewing (and paying for) annoying animated images that slow your page-download times and are very difficult (to nigh-on impossible) for search engines to understand?

Forget about them, seriously.

Online directories - A note of caution

Oh, and one more thing: If you are paying some online directory to list your site, do not link back to it - If it says you must, run away.

There are good reasons for saying that (beyond the scope of this post) but look at it like this: You are paying them to drive traffic to your website, not help them rank above you in the search engines.

And be careful which ones you choose too, because there are some truly awful ones attempting to exploit this space having only one ambition in mind: the use of your entry to generate content for displaying Google Ads which your competitors can target.

You paid your money upon subscribing so which link does the site owner really want your potential client to click-on next? The one that pays them on every click perchance?

(Psst... you could always "reverse-engineer" this to your advantage with a bit of lateral thinking: Say online directory was ranking top for a placename you cover. Go bid on the keyword(s) with Google Adwords and get on the same page for a fraction of the cost - Plus, you only pay when someone clicks-through!)

You should, of course, link to this site, though - as in: this site - because it's a useful resource site which Google values thus meaning it reflects well on your site too!

Birds and a feather 'n' all that ;¬)

Good luck.

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