I met with a friend today and she mentioned before our meeting she was having issues with her website, regarding it being findable. Since she was buying lunch i came prepared with some thoughts and printouts. While I was trying to explain some of the findings i happened to notice I was being met with some - well for lack of a better term - non-curiosity. I was met with not many questions about these things, and felt further explanations were in order, but found I was sort of repeating myself, while writing those things down. Action items for her web designer, things to be aware of, problems that I saw. I can only say that it was hard to explain to this non savvy website owner. I must imagine there are hundreds of these website owners who must feel that once you have a website you are pretty much done with it, it runs itself, loads of referrals will come rushing in to your business to purchase whatever you have!
It is not enough to teach/explain what you have, you also have to have a willing and coach-able student, unless of course all you want is your time paid for, something that i think is not that ethical. However what do you do when you cannot explain it, or you find yourself in such a situation?
It's not that I haven't said some of these principles in other ways to other clients, and have always run into the above scenario. Most of the time actually I will hear "that makes perfect sense", or "you mean I should have done that", or "Yes i understand".
Perhaps its just a style of some to observe and listen, and be inscrutable.
In any case I observed these issues - keyword stuffing, canonical problems, irrelevance in content, domain name set to expire and maybe a few other smaller issues.
I suppose there are counter theories to the idea of keywords; some people thing keywords themselves are irrelevant, on the other hand i cannot really imagine that since people spend a lot of money at auctions for those sponsored ads. Keyword stuffing is when you overload the meta tag for keyword and stuff a gazillion words down poor meta's gullet. I suppose if you had a really long page with those topics covered that would be fine, but if all you have is above the fold then I would try to use just three or four keywords, make the content actually about those things, set the title to the keywords and sit back and observe the metrics. On the other hand there are a few anecdotal incidents I've seen that seem to run counter to the above, so best guess for me is to just do it, and forget black hat unless you are a black hat wizard of some sort... We sort of adhere to the grey hat area of expertise.
The canonical problem is when you have your links split over both www<yourdomainname> and <domainname> without the www part. If you use the google site operator "site:" in the search box you can see if google has you down for two different sites. Try site:yourdomainname and then site:www.yourdomainname and see what happens. If you have lots of indexed pages on both scenarios you have a canonical problem. You fix it by adjusting your .htaccess file on your server.
The irrelevance content problem is another one of those fundamental things. I sort of believe that you should not waste a reader's eyeballs by welcoming them to your site, for example. It would be better to put those keywords in bold right there in the <h1> tag, than do that! But say you only have 170 words and you have keywords by the dozen in your meta? You basically are lying to google about what your site is about aren't you? You have to come clean because those search engine spiders are looking, they are READING your page, and checking you twice, so be nice. If you say your page is about A, and you don't mention A at all, you run the risk of being irrelevant. If you have relevant text, but don't tell Google that is what the page is about, you run the risk of not being indexed properly. We still think the 7% rule is a good one; that is you make mention of your keyword 7% of the time, over the span of the entire text.
Domain set to expire - well apparently Google likes domains that are registered and up to date, and have at least twelve months to go before they expire. If you are a business and you tell people you won't be there in a year, you are telling them go buy your product down the street, you don't care. It's just a poor business proposition if you don't pay attention to these Google Life propositions. The G Life.