If I ask you how many web sites do you have? You may say “One, yes it is www.mycompany.com “ or “two” in case you have a second organization or company. When I first began promoting my web sites I was, like most people, only thinking in terms of one web address, the url of my main page. And I thought that this main page was a difficult one to promote because it was the index page of a magazine that covered a wide variety of fields (environment, arts, science, politics, spirituality, etc). How could I optimize a page for so many keywords, which market could I focus on?
It was only after discussing the subject with another web master, who had a similar site, that I learned that the diversity of all the inner pages of my site was a huge asset. Each of these pages was like a mini-website, and capable of attracting a multitude of visitors using a variety of keywords. Part of my ignorance at that point was due to a lack of accurate tracking data. I had a simple tracker on the main page that told how many visits that page was getting, but I had no idea of what was happening deeper inside the site. Then I was able to get access to the raw access logs of the site and using a log analysis tool I began to see the real picture of what was happening.
I saw that the main page was getting one third of the total traffic of the site. I found out that one article, “The Causes of Tropical Deforestation” was a big hit and consistently getting a lot of traffic. Other articles were also quite popular, but covering completely different subjects. It was then that I realized that I had not one web site, but more than 100 web sites.
What does all this mean in terms of design, optimization and submission? It means that one has to realize that people may well enter your site through the “side door” or the “back door” and you have to prepare accordingly.
For design, it means that the structure of your pages and navigation system should invite the people who enter from the inner pages, to make it to your important pages (about us, main page, or your order page!). For optimization it means that you should take more care about the placing of keywords, description and title tags on all the pages. Have you ever seen websites where the blue line at the top of the browser is showing the title of the page to be “New Page”? Even very good designers become a little bit sloppy on the inner pages, and though they do usually manage to put a proper page title on those pages, they seldom take the trouble to write separate meta tags for the keywords and descriptions. But as I learned, these pages are an asset and can be optimized and promoted to gain more traffic.
The first thing that I did was to redesign my navigation system to take advantage of this traffic and make sure that those who entered through the back door would visit the important departments of the magazine. I also put a newsletter sign-up form on all the inner pages, and to this day these pages are bringing in a steady stream of subscribers to the magazine’s e-mail bulletin. The next thing I did was to make sure that the inner pages had proper meta tags, and finally I did a deep submission of the whole site.
What is a deep submission and why is it necessary? When you submit the main page of your site to a search engine, the search engine sends a “spider” to look at your page and put the data on that page in the search engines index. Sometimes the spider will follow the links on your main page and also pick up some of the inner pages (Google, for example is very good at this) but sometimes they don’t go deep enough into the site and only one or two of your pages are indexed. To get the other pages indexed you have to submit them all separately, just as if they were other web sites. However, if you have 100 pages you can’t submit them on the same day to one search engine. That would be regarded as spamming. If you submit one url per day per search engine you will not get into any problems.
So, think about your site more deeply. Your inner pages are mini-websites and if prepared and promoted properly they could increase your traffic and your sales dramatically.
Donald Nelson is a web developer, editor and social worker. Hehas been working on the Internet since 1995, and is currently the director of A1-Optimization (http://www.a1-optimization.com), a firm providing low cost search engine optimization, submission and web promotion services.