Snap! SEO—how to improve your Snap! Website content

Alexis Wilke's picture

How do I know all of these things about Internet Marketing?! Some of you may be wondering... All the information that I'm giving you here is in fact available for free on many websites, not just Snap! Websites. Not only that, some of the information is specifically defined by search engine engineers who know what they are talking about since they created those search engines!

First of all, I wanted to share with you the Google's Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. This free e-book is a good read for any Internet Marketer1.

Second, I wanted to review each points from that e-book with Snap! Websites as an example of application of those guidelines and how that applies to your own Snap! Website. Especially, how the Snap! technology helps you in automating most of the tasks.

Create unique, accurate page titles

African elephant by Kjrajesh.All my titles are quite long. They tend to describe the content of the page by themselves. This helps you decide whether you'd want to read the page or not (even though you should always read my posts anyway... ) and helps you be found on Google since the title that best matches a search is shown first.

As you may have noticed, at the end of the title, Snap! adds the name of the website: Snap! Websites. This means every single page includes the website name which makes it powerful. Imagine that you create 100 pages, that's 100 pages with your website name, readily searchable!

Another important point raised by Google, you do not want to create a page named "New Page 1" or "Untitled". Your Snap! Website actually forces you to enter a title for every single page you create. No choice. (Although it does not prevent you from naming them badly...)

Finally, you may want to watch for the length of your titles. Google shows about 70 characters. So anything that you consider important should appear first. Snap! will limit you to a maximum of 128 characters.

Make use of the Description META tag

Your Snap! Websites offers you to enter Meta tags while editing your posts. There are three fields you want to fill: Abstract, Description and Keywords. You may also want to enter defaults for the Copyright and a few other fields. Note that Google ignores the Keywords altogether, however many other systems make use of them so you should enter Keywords too. I'm not sure who uses the Abstract. I've seen it here and there so it is useful too.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Snap! gives you the option of entering a default Description. However, it is not a good idea to use a default for the description because then you take the risk of having the same description repeated on many pages, canceling its use altogether for all those pages. Otherwise, search engines such as Google may show you between 2 and 3 lines of the description under the title of your page when found in a search.

Keep in mind that this is a description that humans will read. Don't fill the description with keywords and either make it interesting or don't write one. Keywords can be entered in the Keywords field instead.

Improve the structure of your URLs

What does that mean? The URL is the long string you enter in your browser location bar at the top. That URL represents what is called a path. This is similar to you giving your street address to someone. With the house number, the name of the street and the name of the city, anyone can find your place. URLs are used on the Internet to find a piece of content anywhere it might be.

Improving the structure means defining a path that makes sense to your users when they come visit your website. Sensitize URLs means that they can easily duplicate them to share with their friends.

Note that your Snap! Website takes care of that part for you2. When you post on your Blog, the system automatically places your new post under journal, followed by the current year (2010), month (09) and then uses the title of your post as the rest of the URL3.

Another important point, Google considers dashes as spaces (test-this-today represents 3 words.) Underscores, however, are made part of the words (test_this_today is one long word, probably not what you want.) Snap! automatically uses dashes to separate words and make your URLs look like many words as it is supposed to be.

Make your site easier to navigate

It is always a good idea to organize your website so it looks like a well organized set of folders with content in each one of these.

Snap! automatically takes care of that for you. Each time you install a new type of content on your website, new pages created with that type of content are automatically placed in the right location for you. You'll have nothing to do and you will get the correct hierarchy, menus appear as text to search engines, and all our websites include breadcrumbs.

Snap! Websites come with an XML Sitemap enabling search engines to easily search your entire website. This is also 100% automatic.

Snap! Websites also includes a redirection for the 404 error (and 403.) By default it sends your users back to your home page. Therefore the look is consistent and the users see what they would generally expect to see.

Offer quality content & services

Well... I certainly hope that my posts on my Snap! Websites blog are useful to you. This is a service I'm offering you for free!

Unfortunately, your Snap! Website won't create your content automatically. The wonderful thing about that, each and every one of our customers will have distinct content!

To avoid spelling errors, use FireFox that automatically underlines misspelled and unknown words.

Write Better Anchor Text

Whenever you link to a page, using "click here" or even just "here" is not good at all for the destination page. The best is to use the destination page title whenever possible (at times your sentence just doesn't allow the title, that's alright...)

Snap! Websites can be used with a special feature called a filter which creates links between nodes automatically for you. The filter used in this case is the Insert Node filter. In fact, you can include the entire node, just the title, the creation date, the author, pretty much anything that appears on that page!

When used with the page number, it enhances your link because the filter will automatically react whenever the title of the destination page changes! In other words, the link stays synchronized without you having to do anything about it.

Example: [node:1 link] becomes Snap! A Ready-Made Website for Your Businesses

Use heading tags appropriately

Heading tags are available in the Format drop-down of the Snap! Website editor4. Enter your title, select Heading 2 to Heading 6, voilà. Note that in most cases we hide Heading 1 because the main title of your page already uses it and you should not reuse it again in your page.

Optimize your use of images

Udine Waterfall, YellowstoneImages should at least be given an Alternate Text that describes them. Snap! Websites has a field for that purpose. All you have to do is enter a brief description of the image. If you want a drop-down text when the user mouse over, then you want to click on the Advanced tab and enter a Title. The title can be the same (cut & paste) or can be something completely different (i.e. the Alternate Text could be: A fall in Yellowstone. And the Title could be: Click here to reserve your hotel room now!)

Snap! Websites does not directly help you with the name of the Image. You want to rename your images on your hard drive before uploading them. That way the name can describe the image (i.e. udine-waterfall-yellowston.png).

Make effective use of robots.txt

Don't worry about that one, we take care of it for you.

Be aware of rel="nofollow" for links

In your posts, Snap! Websites creates links that are followed by default. The Target tab allows you to change the link from a follow to a no follow with a simple drop-down selection.

To see which links are followed and which that are not, you can download tools, such as SEO Quake, that will show you the non-followed links with a different style (generally rel="nofollow" links are shown crossed.)

With Snap! links in comments are also followed links by default. However, new comments do not automatically appear (except yours when you are logged in) giving you a chance to moderate the content of the comment. This means you can edit the comment and remove the links that you do not like.

Promote your website in the right way

Note that Google does not prevent you from promoting via social media systems. Now remember that Twitter does not give you follow links and Facebook is mostly private (meaning that Google cannot really find your page and all of its content on Facebook.) Some social media systems allow you to broadcast your content well, although they don't have such a reach.

Make use of free webmaster tools

This is very helpful to let you find out who searches what when you find your website. It can also help you find problems on your site such as many pages with the same description or find a virus on a page (although with Snap! you're not likely to have a website virus problem! We never had one since 1999 when we started on the Internet.)

Take advantage of web analytics services

Snap! comes with Google Analytics. You want to edit your settings to enter your Google Analytics account identifier and you'll be ready to go. And very soon, we'll also include full support for Feedburner which adds the number of people listening to your RSS feeds to your Google Analytics account.

  • 1. Note that the Google's e-book shows examples in HTML... Remember that Snap! eliminates the need for you to read that foreign language.
  • 2. Advanced users know that it is possible to overwrite the default behavior and enter your own URL names for your pages. Frankly, I rarely do it these days since the computer does it for me anyway...
  • 3. Snap! transformed the title by excluding small words such as "a", "the", etc. and replacing spaces with dashes. It will also transliterate accentuated characters and remove most punctuation.
  • 4. We currently offer FCKeditor and will soon switch to the newer version: CKeditor. We may also offer the WYSIWYG functionality so you can actually choose your preferred editor.
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search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf559.86 KB