1. Your first page is where search engines will start and making sure that this page is fully optimized is one of your first goals. What’s optimization your ask? It’s making your site as search engine friendly as possible. You will also see people refer to this in the short form of SEO.
Your first step is the TITLE TAG. This is one item that search engines look for to start getting information about what your site is about. It is also what search engines will show above a clickable line on their results page. It is also a major consideration of where you will rank when certain inquiries are made of the search engine. TITLE TAGS are one of the major things to concentrate on and to make sure that you get it right. Doing so will result in not only better placement in the search engine, but enticing descriptions will also result in more people clicking on your link and visiting your site.
Take a look at what your competition is doing in order to get some ideas for your site. To see their TITLE TAG go to their web site and in IE or Netscape click on View then Source and you will be able to see their TITLE TAG. Don’t copy theirs, but let this help you get some ideas for your own site.
2. Putting keyword phrases into your pages – Finding the perfect set of keywords for your web pages and knowing the right keywords to use is very important because your site should provide people with what they are looking for. A free program to help you can be found at: http://www.goodkeywords.com Good Keywords makes use of various tools provided by search engines like Yahoo, Google, Teoma and other services like Alexa. Using Good Keywords makes it all very simple, fast and straight forward. Just remember…don’t over do it or you will be penalized.
3. Writing your web page copy – Your next step is to incorporate those keywords into the copy on your web site. This is extremely important as search engines need to see these keywords on your page so they can then analyze these words and decide where your site should be listed in their categories. Write your content around the keywords and use them as many times as possible, keeping in mind though…that it is not just a search engine that is reading the copy but also your visitor.
4. META TAGS – Meta tags provide search engines with information about the content and purpose of a Web site. A Web site that uses meta tags to the best of their ability will appear more often in search results and will also be seen closer to the top on those search results. Many people feel that stuffing keywords into the meta tags will help improve their rankings. The original idea behind meta tags was to give a way to classify the web site. The problem now is that many engines don’t consider meta tags to be as relevant to the ranking, therefore they give them less weight overall because of the keyword stuffing techniques used. That’s not to say that you still shouldn’t use meta tags, just consider to use them for what they were originally intended – that is to give your site an accurate title and description with a few keywords (3 or 4 phrases max) outlining what the page, or site is about.
5. ALT TAGS – The ALT tag or ‘alternative text’ is an attribute of the IMG tag. (Any graphic on your web site) An ALT tag should be included for every image within your web site. The ALT tag provides an alternate message to your viewers who can’t see your graphics. Without ALT tags, images on a web site are meaningless to these users. If you will be using a graphic menu systems for navigation, these alternate messages are an especially important aid to users without the ability to see your graphics. Adding an appropriate ALT tag to every image within your web site will make a huge difference to the accessibility of your web site. Also, for those who use Yahoo and Google image searches, your ALT Tags can be very important and will help bring traffic to your site. Take for instance one of my sites – http://www.spasoftheworld.com I have loads of graphics of different resort spas and the graphics all carry the name of the resort. People looking for information on this resort may easily end up at my website because I names a picture with the name of the resort.
On the reverse side, ALT TAG stuffing, which is using the tags in an image to hide keywords will rarely help a site’s position. If you can insert a key phrase into the image description then by all means do so. Remember that Alt tags do usually count towards your overall keyword density so it’s better to have relevant keyword alt tags rather than something like “image01.gif”.
6. Linking – with more search engines coming online every day, search engines are looking for ways to serve quality links to visitors. This is where linking to other sites and having them link to you becomes important to both you and the search engine. People who assume that the more inbound links to them will help them, are very wrong. This may have been true at one time but not today. Search engines need to give quality results. One way they have of rating your site is by the quality of inbound links to your site. Therefore sites that are closely related to your site and that link to you will help boost your popularity in search engines. With Google this is a huge issue in how you rank with them. Having a hundred links from all sorts of site may result in hurting your ranking and you may be viewed as a link farm.
7. Spiders – A search engine is a database that has been put together by spiders. Spiders scour the Internet going through pages and recording information available on web pages. Spiders then give the information to the database and the database feeds the results. Theoretically, the web site should show up in the search results the next time the engine updates. It is important that all links on your site be active. A dead link may prevent a spider from doing your entire site.
8. Robots Text file – Search engines will look in your root domain for a special file named “robots.txt” (http://www.mydomain.com/robots.txt). The file tells the robot (spider) which files it may spider (download). This system is called, The Robots Exclusion Standard.
9. FLASH – This has to be one of the top mistakes a web site owner can do to hurt their search engine rangkings. Good content will win over flash every time and getting visitors to your site is what you are trying to accomplish. The only thing the search engines will be able to see when visiting a site where the first page is all flash are the title tags and links. In most cases that will not be enough. Over and over it’s content rich pages that will get you the rankings you need. You may have to decide between getting a high ranking or having a “pretty” entry page. Remember that you goal is customers and sales. It might be kewl the first time you visit the site but when you have to go there over and over again it becomes very annoying not to mention that people on dialup must cringe when faced with such a page. They often give up because of the length of time it takes to load.
10. Don’t expect results overnight. It takes time to get your ranking up there, even with paid inclusion. You may start out with a low ranking when you are first listed but as you continue to optimize your site and build “relevant” links you will start to see a gradual climb. As you wait for your rise to the top, concentrate on building as many relevant links as possible. Beside increasing your ranking you will be surprised at the number of referrals that you will received from those linked pages.
Jean Sutherland has successfully run her own ezine for over 6 years and has a subscriber base of 35,000. Her ezine is geared to people doing business online and beside offering free software, it also provides traffic & marketing tips, informative business articles, free ebooks and computer tips for those trying to work online. http://www.emailpromotions.net