SES 2006: Pimp That Site!

    August 10, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Most sites could benefit from a little nip and tuck, and when that can increase their search engine visibility from nil to above-the-fold in the SERPs, the impact on a site can be dramatic.

SES 2006: Pimp That Site!
Making Your Site More Attractive

Staff writer Doug Caverly of WebProNews filed this exclusive look at the SES 2006 San Jose session, Pimp My Site!

Doug also had some observations about the fashion sensibilities of the presenters. Said Doug (edited for clarity and a handful of colorfully creative metaphors):

“Herrera is wearing a fuzzy, bright orange jacket and hat with white tiger-type accents. Also some dollar-sign glasses with the price tag fluttering around. Friesen is wearing a similar outfit, but his is purple instead of orange, and somehow that’s less offensive. Lloyd-Martin and Osmeloski are wearing relatively “normal” dresses with the white-and-black tiger-pattern streaks of color. Li and Laycock are dressed sanely. Bless them.”

Being invisible to search engines can mean being invisible to the world. That’s not a desired outcome for entrepreneurs. There are ways of making one’s website talk to the search engines and rise in the rankings.

Dax Herrera’s example is The owner apparently lost just about everything in Katrina. In their “makeover,” they added text – the site lacked it before, so the search engines couldn’t really see it. They used instead of, another domain owned by the business, because Flutterfetti existed longer.

Heather Lloyd-Martin also talked about Flutter Fetti. She noted that when the site first came back, the word “confetti” was not present on the home page. Since that’s a big part of their business, fixing that moved up the list of tasks.

The temporary solution to this came from keyphrase editing. They wrote new pages as a secondary solution. She noted that pages should be focused around keyphrases and target audiences. “If a page is not focused around a keyphrase (such as college parties’), don’t put it in the title,” she said.

Titles should be 50-75 characters, including spaces. Lloyd-Martin recommended 60 characters whenever possible.

When it comes to having time to spend on improving a website, owners should be brutally honest with themselves. If they don’t have the time, they should consider outsourcing the task. Improved positioning and conversions can help make that investment back.

Peggy Li received attention from the experts. Jennifer Laycock of Search Engine Guide discussed the “pimping” Li’s site received.

Li’s jewelry has made appearances in places like CSI: Miami, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Oprah Magazine. Laycock described the challenge as selling a visual product online.

There were too many images and not enough text on the site, a combination that will get a typical site shunned by the search engines. “Nothing for a spider to pick up,” said Laycock.

The new design fixes that. Also, Laycock connected Li with ClickTracks, so she could have a better idea of what was happening with her web traffic. ” It’s a good way to go in and isolate traffic from specific sources,” said Laycock.

Rob Snell, an author and speaker on the topic of Yahoo! Stores, emphasized some basics for online retailers. He recommended “Add to cart” instead of “Order” for buttons that place items in the site’s shopping basket. “Order is such a commitment,” he said.

Sites should have a street or mailing address listed, and a toll-free number for customer service, Snell said. It lends to the credibility of a retailer.

Adding products to the home page has boosted sales of those particular items. Snell said he’s had a 100 percent increase for those sales.

Lloyd-Martin spoke again, this time on keyphrases. “Consider other, more specific keyphrase choices,” she recommended, using ‘vintage glass earrings’ as an example. She also suggested writing as much as possible about each product, boosting the word count to 100 words per page (she recognized that this can be difficult for many products.)

We think the last bit of advice may be the most important recommendation. Google and Yahoo have announced they will enforce more stringent quality guidelines, a move that could drive down retailers in the search results in favor of information sites.

If that contention bears itself out as the search engines update their indexes, having richer copy for product entries and being perceived as authoritative will be more important for online retailers.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.