Are you still following outdated information about hosted websites? Previous SEO limitations aren't much of an issue anymore.
Over the past few years, Google has encouraged owners of newer, smaller sites to opt for today's typical hosted websites rather than attempting to create an entirely new website from scratch. Google recommends template-based platforms for sites up to about 100 pages, or even much larger if the site isn't particularly complex. As recently as last week (early May 2017) Google has stated that the few possible shortcomings of well-known hosted websites are strongly outweighed by the benefits. "The commonly used platforms create good web pages, they work in search, they're easy to set up, and you don't have to worry about the technical details."
In the past, SEO experts have warned against some issues with hosted platforms, but the gap has narrowed substantially, and the small technical advantages absent in template-based hosts are widely considered insignificant at this time.
Google points out that newcomers faced with building a website from the ground up frequently delay launching or sometimes never manage to develop an online presence. But website hosting, "helps you focus on what you're really trying to do, like running a business." Google prefers to see these business owners "use something where the technical details are already taken care of." For example, with website hosting, "you don't need to worry about maintaining the server, implementing updates, and so on. It's all handled for you."
And from Google's point of view, from the SEO perspective, "They just work!"
Of course, if you're using a hosted website, it's crucial to know how to take full advantage of the SEO opportunities they provide. There's on-page SEO (what the customer can see), which follows all the basic guidelines that we've talked about here in the blog and that are available from a variety of reputable sources. There are also places behind the scenes that are essential for visibility on the web. You should know where the correct hidden boxes are, what kinds of information should be entered into each type of box, and what form the information should take (words, data, phrases, complete sentences, etc.).
In most cases, with hosted websites, this process is actually pretty easy. Once you know where the boxes are, it's often a matter of common sense when deciding what the title of your page should be, and what to put in the page description. For example, the page description is the little snippet that pops up in search results, so it should be a normal sounding statement for the customer's benefit, not for SEO. Most platforms also allow you to customize the page URL, which has some minor SEO value, and also shows up in a customer's browser tab.
Watch this blog for more details on using SEO on common hosted platforms. In the meantime, feel free to comment or ask a question. And browse the blog for more on SEO, copywriting, social media and marketing.
Need immediate help for your website or Etsy shop? Consider a professional one-on-one consult or written critique to get you going. Or sign up for hourly coaching, professional help on call whenever you need it! Visit The Copywriting Coach on Etsy for details. For larger sites and projects, visit Services here for a free consultation.
Barbara Clavan provides copywriting, coaching and consulting services to high-growth businesses, high-profile individuals and creative entrepreneurs.
Visit Services to learn more.