Be found with good SEO

Search Engine OptimizationNorthern Village provides search engine optimization as part of every engagement. We do this in two ways. First, the Northern Village website editing software incorporates all the back end “technical stuff” that search engines like to see. Secondly, we provide a variety of tactics that you can use to increase the prominence of your website in search engine results. See subpages on the right for the details.

While Northern Village can provide search engine research services, modest websites can improve search results by staying on-message. Search engine algorithms understand good content - an effective website development process should include a focus on strong content that is easy to read and well-organized.

Once good, accurate writing is taken care of, the back end can do its job to promote website visibility online. Behind the scenes, our website editor is making sure that headings, titles, and URLs are set up so they can be easily read by search engines. A Google Sitemap of each site further helps indexing. Northern Village also submits websites to major search engines to be indexed.

Search engines now prioritize websites that the search engine deems "mobile-friendly" – ones that feature larger text, easy-to-click links and a responsive design. All Northern Village websites are created with responsive design, which benefits search engine results alongside readability across multiple devices.

Northern Village will install Google Analytics on your site to give you deeper insights into your website traffic.


Unique, accurate page titles

When looking for a page, a search engine will first compare the title of the page to that of the requested search. This also means that it is best to do this for each page on your website so as to direct the searcher to the page that contains the information that they are looking for.

What Northern Village does

The Northern Village CMS automatically places the name you give the page into the title field. You can also modify this to include other information through the theme; for example, using your tag line on the home page.

What you can do

Accurately describe the page's content - Choose a page name that effectively communicates the contents of the page.

Create unique page names - Create a unique title for each page on your website for easy navigability.

Use brief, but descriptive titles - Titles that are too long will only have a portion that shows up in the search engine. Also, a short, descriptive title is far quicker to read.

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Description meta tag

A meta tag is the summary of the page that is shown in the search engine underneath the page title and can be helpful for the searcher to deem whether or not the information they are looking for is there.

What Northern Village does

The Northern Village CMS allows you to add description tags to each page of your site. To add a description tag, follow these steps:

  1. Enter the page Admin.
  2. Click on the Settings subtab.
  3. Enter your text into the Page Description field.
  4. Save Description.

What you can do

Accurately summarize the page's content - A description that is both informative and short is best. If it is too long, the searcher will likely skim over it.

Use unique descriptions for each page - Using descriptions that are specific to each page instead of a standard description helps the searcher determine whether or not the page is relevant to their search.

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Good URL structure

You should create URLs that aren't too long, but are descriptive. They should not contain random characters like ?, = and & or random numbers such as 3592. Search engine robots view this as gibberish that is both confusing and unfriendly. Google and other search engines will most likely ignore these types of URLs. Also, your website's directory structure should be simple and easy to navigate.

What Northern Village does

  • Uses lower case words from the page title to build URLs. This means the URLs are descriptive and do not contain gibberish.
  • Creates a website with a simple hierarchy with straightforward navigation.
  • Allows you to smoothly move pages around and create a simple organizational structure that is easy to navigate and reflects the message you want to convey.

What you can do

Choose appropriate page names - Choosing a relevant page name means creating a suitable URL. This helps both the search engine and those using the search engine to distinguish between whether or not the page is relevant.

Create the content of your website before the design - Creating content before design ensures that the organization of your website reflects the message you want to communicate. This will be reflected in your website's hierarchy. 

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Easy navigation

Search engines generally look to see if your website is well organized. They decide whether or not it has easy navigation and how users will react and behave when they visit.

What Northern Village does

The Northern Village CMS will do the following for your website:

Create a naturally flowing hierarchy - Make a smooth transition from general to specific information.

Use mostly text for navigation - Use text rather than images from the linked page to allow visitors to decide whether or not to follow a link.

Use "breadcrumb" navigation - This allows the visitor to see where they came from if they find themselves lost.

Put an HTML sitemap page on your site - This can be very useful if you have a large site and think visitors might occasionally lose their bearings.

Consider what happens when a user removes part of your URL - Some visitors will drop part of the URL and enter more general information than they have been supplied with.

Have a useful 404 page - When visitors enter a URL that is non-existent, instead of displaying a blank screen, tell them that they have entered the wrong URL or that the page no longer exists, and then redirect them.

What you can do

Take the time to create a quality site - The organization of your site is very important as far as page indexing. YikeSite recommends creating the content of your site in advance of the design to ensure that you have navigation that truly represents the message you want to deliver.

Make sure there are not too many links on one page - Too many links on a page make it hard to read. Only link to important words or phrases. Search engines may penalize you if you have too many links on a page, as they may think you are trying to cheat them.

Make sure hierarchy reflects the message you want to convey - Northern Village recommends that the main menu items on your site convey an "at a glance" overview of your primary message. Generally, the fewer number of menu choices there are, the stronger your message.

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Quality content and services

This is pretty straightforward. For visitors to feel satisfied, you need to have good quality material on your website. This will increase traffic as users spread knowledge of your site through the web and by word of mouth.

What Northern Village does

  • Makes your website simple to use and easy to update.
  • Uses CSS to style the site for consistency throughout, including an easy to read font.
  • Updates your content immediately.
  • Integrates with other systems including blogs, shopping carts, forms, apps, etc.

What you can do

Write easy to read text - This allows visitors to understand your material and act accordingly.

Stay organized around each topic - Make it easy to tell when one subject area ends and another begins. Otherwise, visitors may get confused.

Use relevant language - Keywords play a large role in how search engines choose which sites to display. The more keywords you use, the more variety of visitors you will get.

Provide fresh, unique content - Writing new website content encourages your existing visitors to return and will help bring new visitors as well.

Offer exclusive content or services - This is where you need to come up with ideas that will draw visitors to your website and allow it to grow.

Create content primarily for your users, not search engines - Designing your site around search engine results will not work if your content doesn't cater to people's needs.

Consider hiring an editor - Quality content is an important part of any first-class website. Hiring an editor ensures that content is organized by topic, language and formatting is consistent, and your text is free from embarrassing typos and grammatical errors.

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Better anchor text

The text that appears in a link (i.e. anchor text) is important because users want to know if they should follow the link and search engines need to understand what the page is about.

What Northern Village does

  • Formats link text through CSS. This means links fit smoothly into your website's pages and are easy to spot.
  • Formats internal and external links the same way.
  • Provides a simple way to add links—whether they are internal, external, email or file links.

What you can do

Choose descriptive text - The link text should give the reader an idea of where the link will take them. Do not place unrelated text in a link—search engines do not like that.

Write concise text - It is best to use short but descriptive content containing a few words or a short phrase.

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Optimized use of images

The name of an image, along with the "alt" attribute, tells the search engine what the image is about. If a visitor is unable to access the images on your site the "alt" attribute will display text instead. A good file name is also a good reminder to you of what the image is, especially if there are multiple images on a page.

What Northern Village does

  • Prompts you to choose a title for the image when uploading.
  • Enters alt tag in image dialogue screen.
  • Keeps images in one directory.

Good practices for images

Use brief descriptive filenames and alt text - The filenames and alt text are best when they are short and descriptive of the image.

Supply alt text when using images as links - If you make an image into a link, filling out the alt text helps search engines to understand what it is that they are linking to.

Use commonly supported filetypes - JPEG, GIF, PNG, AND BMP, are the most common image formats.

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Appropriate heading tags

If used properly, heading tags really help your website's overall organizational flow and also tell readers when a topic transition is occurring.

What Northern Village does

  • Places the main heading (<h1>) automatically at the top of a new page and defaults to whatever name you assigned to the page.
  • Allows additional headings to be added in the Source Editor.

Good practices for heading tags

Imagine you're writing an outline - You need to plan where you are going to put the headers and sub-headers.

Use headings sparingly across the page - Too many heading tags can make it confusing for the reader, so think this through carefully.

Take time to think up good headings - Headings give the reader a quick overview of what your content is about and search engines pay special attention to them. Headings should accurately describe the content that follows.

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Promoting your website

The number of backlinks or "inbound links" that your website has is one of the most important factors determining your site's search engine ranking, popularity and importance. The key to backlinks is relevancy. Backlinks from authoritative sites on a given topic are highly valuable.

It should also be noted that building too many backlinks over a short period of time can get a website's ranking penalized, and in extreme cases, de-indexed altogether. Backlinks or "inbound links" to your website will gradually build as your site gains traffic and popularity. You can help this along by building backlinks from other websites through various promotional techniques. Slow, steady progress is the key here.

What Northern Village does

  • Integrates a blog seamlessly so that it becomes part of your website.
  • Provides a promotional link to your website.

What you can do

Blog about new content or services - Writing a blog post is a great way to let visitors know that new content is on your website.

Don't forget about offline promotion - Putting effort into offline promotion of your website is just as important as online promotion.

Know about social media sites - Sites like Facebook and Twitter that are built around user interaction and sharing make it easy to create a "buzz" surrounding your site.

Reach out to related communities - Since it is more likely than not that there are websites that have much of the same basic content as yours, or closely related content, opening up communications with these sites can be very beneficial to you.

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Web analytics

Web analytics programs are valuable tools for gauging your web traffic because they track visitors' journeys once they arrive on your website. For example, they measure the number of visitors, page views, pages per visit, bounce rates, and the average time on your website.

Analytics applications can also provide data that helps with your market research, such as measuring the results of recent advertising campaigns, and which of your landing pages are most effective.

What Northern Village does

  • Allows placement of your custom Google Analytics code into any Northern Village website.
  • Provides sample code within the generic theme where you can add your Google Analytics UA number, or any other analytics code.

What you can do

Review the analytics that are generated to see the pattern of usage on your website, and make improvements as needed.

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What you shouldn't do

As important to what you should do on your pages, is what you shouldn't do.

Google suggest avoiding the following techniques:

  • Automatically generated content
  • Participating in link schemes
  • Creating pages with little or no original content
  • Cloaking
  • Sneaky redirects
  • Hidden text or links
  • Doorway pages
  • Scraped content
  • Participating in affiliate programs without adding sufficient value
  • Loading pages with irrelevant keywords
  • Creating pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware
  • Abusing rich snippets markup
  • Sending automated queries to Google


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