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Posted 08 December 2003 - 09:08 AM
I'm fairly new at site optimization, having started some thorough research on Friday.
I have taken over the company website and part of my first mission is to raise our rankings.
Our current opening page asks users to select between a Canada or USA version of the site. This is by an image map, there is no text. It is also worth noting this is in fact the second page of the site. The first loads with some meta tags and a sitemap then auto-forwards to this decision page.
Would it be better to have a more content rich first page, i.e. get rid of the auto-forward, make the first page content-rich but also with the decision of US/Canada?
Will this affect ranking? From reading your articles and posts, it appears that a page with content is more effective than one without, so I wondered if this would particularly apply with our opening page.
Many thanks in advance.
Posted 08 December 2003 - 09:16 AM
Content is crucial to good positioning, you are spot on with regard thinking that content rich is what it is all about. You can target users with generic information about your company together with a sprinkling of Canada & America in there which will help you rank under both.
More than ever (IMO) quality, specific content is important, It is something I have always believed in, and something that has served me well. I also find it easier to have more pages with specific information on each page, easier to promote, and easier for the visitor to find what they want, and if they can find it, then so will the spiders.
I know it is cliche' but Its true that building a website for your visitors is also building it for the search engines, once it is up, it is so much easier to tweak a well planned and imformationally laid out site.
Posted 08 December 2003 - 09:16 AM
1. Avoid splash pages and have content.
2. Try to figure out your Unique Selling Proposition, the reason why a potential customer will want to know more about your product or service above all other competitors. Put that in a compelling way on the first page a prospect sees.
3. If possible buy the www.mydomain.com page and put the US version of the introductory page there with a link to the Canadian page. Buy the www.mydomain.ca page and put the Canadian version of the introductory page there with a link to the US page.
Posted 08 December 2003 - 10:15 AM
As for USA or Canada versions of the site, I would present the one that gets the most traffic as the default and then have a very visible button that will allow people to visit the other site. So if the US site draws the most traffic. make it the default and then have a visible Canada button. On the Canada, provide a US button as well. You can make this link to one site or the other a permanent part of the site's interface so that no matter what page they are on they can go to one site or the other.
I assume that one site is in English and the other in French?
Posted 08 December 2003 - 10:27 AM
Many thanks for all your replies!
With regards to some of your questions:
1) 2 seperate domains isn't an option i'm afraid. The .com is a must (due to the usual stigma attached to "dot com". This company is extremely large and successful and it just has to be .com.
2) The opening page must give the user only 2 options. Would you like the US site or the Canada/International site. This is not to say a whole bunch of content doesn't have to be there. In fact I've just started adjusting the page so it does have content along with the decision. While I'm there - anyone seen any pages with a "one or the other" decision that looks good out there ... ALONG with content?
3) Both sites are in English. There are two reasons for the difference. The first is content - some of the US content varies from the Canada/International. The second is a marketing decision to differentiate the US from the rest.
Posted 08 December 2003 - 09:51 PM
I wouldn't be too concerned about having home page content. If you look on Google and MSN, for example, very few of the links are to the home pages: Most are to content pages within the site.
There are two key things I'd consider at this early stage:
1. Are there HTML links (i.e. simple and easy for a crawler to follow) from the home page to internal pages of the site so that a crawler can start there to go through the site (if an associate has linked to your home page, for example)?
2. Is Google crawling your site? If so, item 1 may not be important. What will be important is knowing what pages Google is crawling and ensuring that there is a path the 'googlebots' can follow to see other valuable pages on your site. You can check the log files on your server for the past week or two to determine which pages the googlebots are visiting (search for 'googlebot' within the log file).
Hope this helps!
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