If you want to get a solid/high ranking in search engines (and who doesn’t?), there are a few key things you need to do to make sure your site is helping, and not hurting your ranking. Google tends to dominate searches online (gaining a whopping 63% of all searches) so a lot of what I’m recommending here is based on this search engine preferences.
- Do: Have great content and keep the word count on your home page to somewhere in the 250 word range.
- Do: Get high quality, high traffic incoming links from relevant sites
- Do: Make sure your web site pages have titles, if you’re not sure ask your web designer about this
- Do: Use good keywords for your home page text. Don’t talk about yourself, remember it’s about the person landing on your site, not about you.
- Do: Check out your competition: if you’re trying to get incoming links, see how’s linking to your competition. How do you search for incoming links? Pop the following into your Google search box: linkdomain:www.website.com
- Do: have a focused goal on your home page. While your site can do a good many things (and many sites do), your home page should have one goal. Once you get someone to your web site you don’t want to confuse them. A confused mind doesn’t make a choice and will likely click off to your competition.
- Do: get a good URL, something that relates to your topic and is easy to remember. If you have a few different web site addresses (such as your name, maybe an old domain, etc) make sure they aren’t all forwarding to the same page on your site. Have them forward to different pages, this will also help with your search rank.
- Don’t: And speaking of keywords…try avoid using slogans, catch phrases or industry jargon. Here’s why: first off your reader might be a lay person and doesn’t understand what you’ve written, if you confuse the reader you will lose them. Second, when you search for your site in Google, you’ll see that some text comes up with your site URL, this text is pulled from your home page so use that space wisely.
- Don’t: Use flash, it’s pretty and also pretty annoying. People don’t have time to wait through flash and also search engines can’t spider flash. If you have a flash page as an entrance to your site it’s like putting up a brick wall no one can see through. Your site is behind there something but no one will ever find it. Not good.
- Don’t: Use link farms to get a lot of incoming links. What are link farms? They are services sold with the specific objective of getting incoming links to your site. The problem with these services is they don’t care *what* kind of links they get you as long as it’s a link. What this means to you is that you might get a thousand new links to your book on diet and health but they might all be links coming from plumbing sites (I’m not kidding, I’ve seen this happen).
Search Engine Optimization doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult, the thing to remember is that a static site, boring site doesn’t help your ranking. As a final tip you should also consider getting a blog. If you think blogs are passÃ© think again. A blog, if updated frequently (a minimum of twice weekly) will help your site spider through the search engines and, along with the other tips mentioned above, help you gain ranking and customers.
I agree with everthing you wrote in this piece! I took a certified Google search engine marketing course a few months ago, and they echoed the same ideas also. When implemented correctly, these things really do make a big difference.
Hey Erin, thanks so much – I’m glad Google and I think alike 🙂
Good Tips. I use a program “Website Auditor” to help me optimize my pages. Also posting on Twitter can drive some traffic.
Early versions of search algorithms relied on webmaster-provided information such as the keyword meta tag, or index files in engines like ALIWEB. Meta tags provide a guide to each page’s content. But using meta data to index pages was found to be less than reliable because the webmaster’s choice of keywords in the meta tag could potentially be an inaccurate representation of the site’s actual content. Inaccurate, incomplete, and inconsistent data in meta tags could and did cause pages to rank for irrelevant searches. Web content providers also manipulated a number of attributes within the HTML source of a page in an attempt to rank well in search engines.