One topic in particular seems to interest and perplex our users: search engine optimization. While our support team does a great job fielding these queries, we thought it would be a nice touch to have an expert give a few tidbits of advice to our readers, especially since we have one in our Marketing team: Nicole Bonholt. We asked her to share a few ideas on how to make Google, Bing and Yahoo love your Jimdo site.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Nicole Bonholt, and I've been in the "SEO business" for a few years now. I worked for websites like the German recipe site daskochrezept.de and golocal.de, and now I'm here to focus all of my SEO powers on optimizing www.jimdo.com. After all, my title is SEO Superwoman. ;-)
2. Can you explain to us mortals what SEO is all about and why it is important?
SEO is extremely important for people with websites because it helps sites get found on the Internet. Imagine for a minute there was no such thing as search engines: if you were looking for a dentist in the town where you're living, how would you find one? It gets even harder when you think about the glut of information available on the Internet. Search engines work for us, to sort through the mountains of websites and find relevant results to a query.
Since there are almost always lots of websites about a particular topic, this means that SEO is necessary for your site to get found by search engines.
3. Sounds complicated. What can I do to get my site ranked at the top of Google?
Actually, it's pretty easy: just make sure that the website contains relevant content about the topics users are searching for! That means first and foremost creating a great website for users. From the point of view of search engines, a website is relevant for search engines if it delivers a result that meets the need of the person searching.
In concrete terms, this means content should be:
- and should match the search term
This is one reason it doesn't make any sense to copy someone else's content (besides the obvious legal reason). If a search engine crawler finds duplicate content at two different URLs on the internet, the offending site is usually removed from search engine results very quickly.
After content, relevant backlinks are very important. Backlinks (links to your website from another site) are read by search engines as recommendations. Search engines interpret more links to your website to reflect more relevant content.
4. What are some no-no's in search engine optimization?
Search engines use robots ("crawlers") to find website content. With a Jimdo site, this is easy to do, as Jimdo websites are in easy-to-read HTML. Some websites, however - and some website builders - use other technologies like Flash, which search engines are not able to read.
5. What are the first steps every Jimdo user should take to make their website search engine friendly?
Start by adding the information every search engine displays in results: the page title and page description. You can change these by clicking on Settings and then on Page Title and Page Description under the "Search Engines" heading. Because both of these texts appear in search results, keep in mind what you want people to see when they do find you. Does the description make you want to click on the link? Does the title include at least one keyword?
And while we are on the topic of keywords: if you're serious about SEO, you should take the time to research keywords for your site - every individual page of your site. What other words do users search for? Are there alternative spellings you can check? You might consider asking your friends or colleagues for ideas here. Once you decide on a few for each page, you can enter them on the Tags (keywords) section under Settings.
6. All right, so now we know where to start. Do you have any suggestions where readers can go for more information?
Sure. The starter guide from Google (PDF file) is a great place to get started. After all, who better to ask about how search engines work than Google? The information here is usually enough for smaller websites.
Because keywords are so important, you might want to do a bit more research using the Google keyword tool. By comparing the number of search requests for different keywords (and getting suggestions on new ones), you can optimize your own content.
If you want to get down to the nitty gritty, try the free Beginner's Guide to SEO by SEOMoz. There's more information there than you'll probably need, so you can pick and choose.
Thank you for the interview, Nicole!