One of the things we see more often than not when we do SEO audits is topical dilution.
Topical dilution means the subject focus on a site or section of the site gets off track (sometimes worse than others). In layman’s terms, Google gets distracted when it’s trying to figure out what a site/page is about. So to help educate others on this matter I’ve put together a list of 10 causes of topical dilution and how to avoid/work around each one:
1. Excessive Code.
It doesn’t matter if it’s lazy coding, ignorant coding or “we need to impress everyone with our mad coding skills” coding, somewhere in the source code there are more snippets of code than actual text for users to read. I’m not saying the solution is to add more content than there is code when this happens, I’m saying you need to have someone other than the person who coded that page look at it, clean it up and keep the same functions working. Clean coding is good, proper coding.
Sidebars, IMO, get overused and abused. It’s as if site owners want to cram as much “cool” stuff in there as possible. From Twitter updates to blog rolls and random quotes to videos, it’s clutter that can take away from the central message of the current page.
Does this mean you get rid of the stuff there? No, not entirely. It just means you should look at it and ask yourself, “Does this enhance or add to the message I’m trying to convey here?” If it does then keep it, if not I’d consider getting rid of it.
3. External Links.
Have you clicked a link on a site hoping to find a great resource than another link on that site than a link on that site then another; next thing you know you’re creating your content and tweeting them out. FYI it was hard not to link out to a hilarious lolcat…appreciate my restraint by tweeting and commenting below.
People link away from their sites for numerous reasons, but no matter the reason these links should be pointed to sites that are relevant to the material on the page containing the link.
When search engines see external links on a page, they are looking for a relationship, for commonality between the pieces of content that make sense. Sure it is funny to link out to a funny video on YouTube rickrolling users, but there is a time and place for that and such pieces of content most likely are trying to rank for highly competitive terms. When that’s the case, it’s better to keep the links focused on the topic at hand.
4. Internal Links.
When site owners hear that linking internally will help their SEO efforts, they immediately begin cross-linking pages without paying attention to the pages being linked together. Internal links need to have a real focus on the relationship between the pages. Linking a page about laptops to a page about computer accessories might seem like a good idea, but it’d be even better if both pages were laptop specific.
If you’ve got a great navigation already in place, then there isn’t need to link the top level pages to each other internally. Instead, focus on helping the search engines discover the relationships between the child pages.
5. Random Content.
One thing site owners can be guilty of when writing the content for their site is not staying focused. A page begins describing how great a service is then after a few paragraphs the topic shifts to another service, then another and before you know it all of the services have either been written in full or have a paragraph or two written. It might sound fine if it were on the home page, quick snippets linking to the other pages, but stuff like this happens on other pages.
If you’re going to write the content for your site, understand each page needs to have a particular focus, and the content needs to revolve around that center. Mentioning other services or products that aren’t related to the original focus is only going to confuse the search engines and the users. Stay on topic, and keep it simple.
6. Social Media Addons.
With social media playing a bigger and bigger role in SEO it can be easy to get in the mindset, “We need our tweets and fan page information EVERYWHERE!” So it gets placed in the header, footer or sidebars, sometimes all at once. If you’ve got the social icons on the page pointing to your profiles then great, but do you need your latest Fan page post or a live stream of your tweets?
If these are just on your site for the sake of being there, that’s not a good reason. You need to have a plan in place for using social media on your site. But if it’s taking away from the content on an individual page, remove it from that page and focus on the content.
7. Related Posts.
Even if a site is using the “related posts plugin” there’s no guarantee the posts linked at the bottom will truly be related. Sure, they might be in the same category, but it doesn’t mean they are “related”. An article can be about link building, and the related articles may point to posts about keyword research or information architecture. All related to SEO, but focused on different aspects.
If you’re going to use a section called “related posts” make sure they’re related at the content level instead of a broad category level, using tags can be good too.
8. Other Shoppers Viewed.
I used to think it was hilarious looking for items for my wife online and seeing not only other pieces of jewellery but toys, and articles of clothing for sale. While it may be convenient for people shopping to see what others have viewed, if those products aren’t even in the same category then they shouldn’t be on that page. Instead of focusing on sending users to other areas of the site to buy stuff, keep the focus on that section of the site.
It all goes back to internal linking; the pages linking to each other need a closer relationship other than “the same people that viewed this also viewed”. Think along the lines of product specific accessories or even newer models, it keeps the focus and gets the users to look at other items they may need for the stuff they are purchasing.
9. Spammy Comments.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, comments are excellent. They can enhance a blog, generate debate and in the end help educate others. Now, while a lot of spam has been easy to spot in the past I’ve seen a rise in “attempted pure spam”. You’ve seen it too more than likely, generic comments like, “I must say I don’t agree with everything you’ve written here, but you’ve given me something to consider.” Even if it’s just the one comment, it isn’t saying anything direct about the post itself. So why bother with trashing it?
You ever had soda that had all the ice cubes melt? That’s basically what approved spam comments are going to do, dilute the main subject of the article until it isn’t palatable.
10. Fluff Content.
Another instance when site owners attempt to write the copy for their website. Somewhere a site owner read something about “keyword density” and now instead of focusing on creating quality content the effort is now on adding enough content so that the keyword being focused on is hitting the desired “percentage”. Content should never be used to “fill some space”.
Now before the comments begin with “Well I’ve got a Facebook Fan page link on EVERY page, and my site does just fine!” Let me state, what it all comes down to is how much dilution is taking place.
The fact of the matter is every site to some degree has a little dilution taking place, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s harming that site. If the main subject/content is greater than the rest of the “shiny objects” on the page, you’re probably fine, but it wouldn’t hurt to take a second look and make sure the main focus of each page is greater than anything else on the page.
Now, what about you? Do you think topical dilution is something to be wary of? Is there something missed on this list?
The need for web design and marketing services is greater than ever. But sometimes all the jargon and talk behind marketing can feel a little overwhelming for new companies, especially as their owners are still finding their feet in the professional world. It is why starting from the basics is the best way to develop a coherent marketing strategy for any company. And the basics usually involve having a professional logo designed through a high quality design company. A company’s logo is often the second step in establishing an identify, after the naming process. And here is a look at some of the biggest benefits of having your company’s logo designed professionally.
When a new company is breaking into a market, no matter what the industry, they are faced with the challenge of improving their branding. Every new company needs more people to know their name and recognize their business from afar.
And what better way to start the branding process than by having one gorgeous and professionally designed logo that you can use for all your promotional flyers, adverts, billboards and online advertisements? The more times people see your company’s logo, the more it is embedded into their memory. Eventually, the logo will become synonymous with your business name, and hopefully the industry where you are located.
As we mentioned earlier, one of the first things a company must do when they are developed is to begin crafting their marketing strategy. Aside from your company’s name, your logo is the one thing that can provide you with something short, catchy and unique that you can build the rest of the campaign around. If we look at any major company, such as Nike or McDonald’s, they have their company name and their logo. In fact, most people would probably think of their logos before they even think of the company name. It is that type of brand recognition and imaging that you can get from a carefully curated company logo.
The above benefits apply to any logo that you may design, but they do not necessarily apply to professionally designed logos. So why should you pay someone to design your logo, instead of doing it yourself? The answer is quality. While you can probably come up with a half-decent logo for your company, especially if you have some artistic background, a professional logo design company can help take things to the next level.
There are many cases where small businesses will take their ideas to a design company and ask how the designers can expand on the current image. If you have a rough sketch in your mind of how you want your company’s logo to appear, you can talk with a design professional about your thoughts. You can even draft up an image of the logo in your mind and present it to them. The designer will spend some time working on the logo, and they can take your rough idea to the next level.