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404 is an error message code that is generated when a page on a website is not found. It can be caused due to many reasons like the page was deleted/renamed by the webmaster or a visitor mistyped the URL or some other technical issue. Sometimes, webmasters just ignore this message- which is not the right way to go. High numbers of 404 errors are bad for SEO which translate into bad user experience and ultimately lower rankings.

Why is 404 Bad for SEO?

Search engines and users both do not like it if a blank page appears when their desired page is not found. So it becomes increasing critical to address this issue and present search engines and users with a page which they wanted to see in such situations to improve SEO and user experience.

Just as in real life, mistakes can be made by web designers too. Pages can be moved or deleted by mistake. When a page is deleted, the ink that pointed to that page still remains in the sitemap and in search engine results. When a user clicks on it, their browser takes them to a “404 Error” page because the desired page does not exist anymore.

When a ‘not found’ page is not handled correctly, two issues can arise for your website and business. First, the search engine algorithm gets confused about where to pass the link juice of that page, therefore resulting in lower rankings. Secondly, visitors feel clueless about where to go in such situations resulting in a bad user experience.   Therefore, traffic, links and hence, potential conversions can be lost if the error is not handled correctly.

A small percentage of ‘not found’ pages is quite acceptable. But if a large proportion of such pages are present on a website, it can have negative impacts on a website’s accessibility and SEO.

How to Deal With 404 Errors

If a page was receiving lots of quality links, it is advisable to redirect such a page to the most relevant alternative page or, in extreme cases, to the home page.

However, in some cases a separate page can be created for such purposes. This page will only be visible when such an error occurs.  That page must have well optimized content with a message along with a search box, sitemap and some contact information.

If you want to see if a page is generating 404 error message or not, you can type in the URL into the Google Webmaster Tools feature ‘fetch as google’.

There are many tools available to find ‘404 error’ pages such as Screaming Frog.

There is another similar error which is called 410 (Page permanently gone), but from an SEO point of view, the treatment for a 410 error page is similar to that of a 404 error.

Image optimization is one of the common overlooked SEO methods by most of the sites. Almost 5% of searches on Google are regarding images. Images are shown in the search engine results page for many keywords when a search is done. So ignoring proper image optimization can cost business loss of traffic as well as it results in bad user experience. In online world, a picture is worth more than 1000 words, if it SEO optimized expertly.

As search engines can’t read images, so you have to help them with understanding the images better using different elements.

Image file name for SEO:

Image file name should describe the image and be keywords-focused. Image file names just containing the typical random digits are not recommended for SEO at all. A hyphen (‘-‘) is a recommended separator among different words in file name.

If you are a local business, do include the area name if it makes sense to the users.

Image alt tags for SEO:

Image alt tag is an alternative to an image if it cannot be loaded properly. Adding an appropriate image alt tag, assists search engines to understand your image better which improves SEO and bring in relevant traffic through image search as well.

Image alt tag should be descriptive (2-5 words long) and describe the image as well as reinforce the topic of the page.  Too long or keyword stuffed image alt tags can be considered a spammy technique by search engines.

‘Alt’ tags are also used to improve website accessibility which indirectly helps with SEO.

Image size for SEO:

Image size should not be too big as it may slow down the page loading speed. Page speed is one of SEO ranking raking factors and their importance is even more in the age of smartphone and mobile internet. On the other hand image quality is important for user experience. So it is always recommended to go for a mix of image quality and size to find the balance between two.

Image caption/ title for SEO:

Image caption or title is a debatable issue in SEO world as its direct impacts are not confirmed as yet. Regardless of if it has direct impact on image ranking or not, it is useful tag to have which, if not directly, may help SEO indirectly while helping users directly for improved browsing.

Unique Images for SEO

Image should be unique as search engines do not like duplication of content.

Related Page copy for Image Optimization:

All image optimization go in vein if it is not in line with the page copy or page copy contains duplicate material. An image well inline with an optimized page is very much more likely to rank than just an image with no page copy.

So for optimizing an image properly, file name of the unique image should be adjusted to meet the SEO needs- proper image alt tag should be there while image size should not be too big and image caption and unique page copy can further strengthen the things.

Image optimization must not be overlooked and must be given attention like any other SEO element to get most out of your SEO efforts.

Selecting the right keywords is of paramount importance in SEO and can make or break your SEO efforts- regardless of how good you work with the other SEO elements. But it is not enough to just select the right keyword. After selecting the right keywords, it is important to use them at the right places. This is where the concepts like keywords density, prominence,  proximity and frequency come in.

What are Keyword density, prominence, proximity and frequency? How important it is to have each of these on a webpage you intend to optimize for SEO purposes? These are the questions clients or the people who want to do SEO using various SEO tools on their own often ask.  Here is a brief overview of these:

Keyword density is about how often a keyword appears on your page- what is its ratio with respect to the total text on the page?  There is no set desired such percentage or ratio exist – but for most of the sites, it should be below 5% – and should not exceed 10% at all. If you have 0% density, your page would struggle to rank for your desired keyword(s). Keywords and some variation of it should be there where they appear natural and make sense to the visitors. Keyword density is less important than the two other elements – keyword prominence and proximity.

Keyword prominence is about having keywords at the places which are important for search engines and users – these include titles, headings, sub-headings and linking text etc. Start of the page has highest prominence as compared to other places on the page.

Keyword proximity is about how close two words appear in the content. The nearer are the two words, the higher optimized is your page for those words.  Keyword proximity is of lesser importance if the competition is low, but in competitive market it comes into equation.

Another related concept is keyword frequency.  Keyword frequency is numbers of time a keyword appear on a page. Many SEO starters may over-use the keyword which is known as Keyword Stuffing. Keyword stuffing should be avoided in an attempt to increase frequency as it makes site looks spammy and kills user experience.

So selecting right keywords, having those on the places on your page where they really matter, and, most importantly, creating compelling content for visitors can take your website and business long way forward  in online world. There is a fine line between incorporating keywords properly and overdoing or stuffing. Huge care or expertise is required in that regard as keyword stuffing is number one cause of websites getting penalized by Google.

These keyword strategies combined with the proper site structure, navigation, information architecture and user experience are deciding factors in terms of on-page SEO. We will cover the other on-page aspects in another blogpost to help you understand how to fully perform on-page SEO, so keep visiting our blog.

More than 5 billion searches are done every day for variety of keywords on Google. If your business appears in top rankings when a relevant search is done, just imagine how much exposure and leads your business can get! It is like having a full-time marketing team promoting your site 24/7 to highly relevant audience. That’s why the professionals who understand how to be there in top search results have been in great demand since the rise of search engines in late 90s’. These professionals are known as SEO (Search Engine Optimization) consultant, specialists and experts. If you are not investing in SEO marketing and your competitor is, he or she will be getting many quality leads through the exposure in organic rankings. So it is time to seriously think about this amazing pull marketing method.

Top class SEO consultants and experts understand every bit from keyword research to content tweaking, building top links to enhancing user experience and more so deeply that when they optimize your site, search engines and users start adoring it with the passage of time.  A skilled and knowledgeable SEO consultant or expert can give you huge return on your investment (ROI).

SEO is an important ingredient of online marketing to build brand.  It’s cost effective and highly measureable as in-depth analytics are available to measure its success and improve ROI. These days everyone searches for your brand online before making a purchase decision. Other than getting leads, top positive rankings are useful for building trust and improving conversion. SEO is not a choice these days for businesses– rather it is a need.

Many businesses around the world outsource their SEO marketing to the top SEO consultants and experts to hire the very best from around the world. They understand if they do it right, SEO is not an expense but an investment as they get durable results.

After getting higher ranking and more exposure in search engine results pages through SEO, there comes the conversion rate option. Conversion rate optimization is about converting searchers into buyers. Even though organic traffic converts so well, the process should not stop at SEO or even at conversion rate optimization. Rather it should go one step ahead to work on after sale conversion optimization to retain customers longer and getting more out of the traffic your site is getting. This will help in reducing acquisition cost.

To improve after conversion optimization, these tips can really help you to engage and entertain the customers after sales in more productive way:

Cross Sell and Upsell

Sending recommendations to customers about similar products/add-ons or services based on what they have just bought improves after sale optimization. It can improve sales on top of what customers have initially planned to buy.

How to Articles and Tips

To improve relationships with the customers, you need to think beyond the sales and be there to guide and help them to improve customer loyalty. Other than providing top class regular after sale customer services, sending how to guides and informative articles about products enhances relationships with customers and can make them life-long loyal buyers.

Reviews and Feedback

Reviews and feedback not only can help you to improve product or services, they are becoming important organic ranking factors for online local businesses and help with reputation management to all. Fast shipping and better after sale customer service just add icing on the top. It helps in getting good ranking which along with a good product gets positive feedback and reviews both on your site and on third-party reviews sites.

After Sale Email Messages

When the customer has just made the purchase, you can send him a thank you email with the links to your online social media presences or conduct a survey to engage with them, grow your social networks with happy customers and improve product.

You may even incentivise them to do social share or write a blogpost about your business to get social and SEO benefits!

Giving customers some coupon as a ‘thank you’ token can bring more potential customers through that referral at much lesser acquisition cost.

Mobile-Friendly Sites

Use of smart phone for shopping is growing in various industries. Your site may have lower conversion and after sales conversion rate because of mobile Un-friendly or slow website. So investing in mobile friendly sites is another area to look for improving conversion rate further.

Customers are much smarter these days with lots of information and options available online. The idea is to help and facilitate them. Implanting these tips will keep your customers more happy and engaged while giving your business long term benefits.

If you want to improve organic rankings, or conversion rate of traffic you are already getting, or after sale conversion optimization, feel free to contact us.

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