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Design Tips for Search Engine Placement. Top 10 - 20:
A search engine query often turns up hundreds or even thousands of matching web pages. In most cases, only the 10 most "relevant" matches are displayed on the Search Engines 1st page.
Naturally, anyone who owns a web site wants to be listed in that "top ten" results. This is because, most users find what they are looking for on the 1st page of the search engine results. So, being listed number 11 or beyond means that many people miss your page listing.
The tips and comments below will help you come just that much closer to being listed in the top 10, both for the keywords you think are important and for the short phrases you may not even be anticipating.
Selecting - Your Strategic Keywords:
How do you think people search for the information contained within your pages?
Well, the words that you imagine them typing into the search box should be your strategic keywords.
Letís say that you have a page devoted to stamp
collecting, well every time someone types in the words or phrase
"stamp collecting" you want them to find your page in the top
Each page in your site will have different strategic keywords that reflect in the page's content, you may have another page all about the history of stamps. EG: Then "stamp history" might be one of your keywords (phrases) for that page.
Your strategic keywords should always be at least two or more words long. Usually, too many sites will be listed relevant for a single (keyword) word, such as "stamps." With all this competition, it means your odds of success are lower. Don't waste your time fighting the odds.
phrases of two or more KEY WORDS (PHRASES)
Make sure that your most important (strategic) keywords appear in crucial locations on your web pages. The MOST important place, is the PAGE TITLE. Failure to put strategic keywords in the title is the main reason that most web pages are ranked poorly.
Search engines like (CONTENT), pages where keywords appear "high" on the page.
To accommodate the search engine spiders, use your strategic keywords in the page HEADLINE and SUB HEADINGS where ever possible.
Make sure that your (keywords) also appear in the first paragraphs of your pages.
The use of TABLES ... can "push" the (rating) of your text further down the page. Making your keywords less relevant, they appear lower on the page. This is because tables break apart when the search engines robots read them. There's no easy way around this, except to use META tags.
Consider carefully how tables will effect your page layout, but don't necessarily stop using them.
As with tables, the use of META tags can also help.
Content - Content must be relevant (HTML Text):
Page TITLES and META TAGS are not necessarily going to help your page do well if your strategic keywords have nothing to do with the topic. Your keywords need to be reflected in the page's CONTENT.
NOTE: you need HTML TEXT on your page (CONTENT). Why? Because some sites use large amounts of graphics (images), the page may look pretty, but the search engines can't read & donít index graphics.
Some of the engines will index ALT TEXT and COMMENTS information (KEYWORDS), along with META TAGS. So, using lots of images will only slow down the load time of your page - use images wisely.
* Play it safe, use HTML TEXT when ever possible.
Use "Visible Text" - Some site designers try to spam search engines by repeating keywords in a tiny font in the same colour as the background colour to make the text invisible to browsers.
NOTE: the spiders or engines will rate this as SPAMMING.
Next, you may consider "expanding" your text references, where appropriate. EG: I'll use the stamp collector again as the example. A stamp collectors page might have references to "collectors" and "collecting".
Expanding these references to "stamp collectors" and "stamp collecting" reinforces your strategic keywords in a legitimate and natural manner, edits may have reduced its relevancy unintentionally.
Engine Stumbling Blocks
Some search engines see the web the way someone using a very old browser might. They may not be able to read image maps or frames, anticipate these problems, or the search engine may not index any or all of your pages.
HTML LINKS: Designers often create (only) image map links from the home page to the inside pages. Search engines can't follow these links, so they won't be able to get "inside" your site where the most descriptive relevant pages are, rather than the home page.
You can solve this little problem by adding HTML HYPERLINKS to the home page, you can also put them at the bottom of each page. This will help your visitors to navigate around the site as well (making it user friendly) The search engine robots will also (then) be able to find the links and follow them as well.
Consider creating a site map page with text links to everything within your site, when you submit this page, it will help the search engines locate the other pages within your site.
FRAMES - CAN
If you intend using frames, then make sure you use an alternative method for the robots to enter and index your site, either through META tags or by using a PUSH PAGE.
As I mentioned before, META tags can help you over come some of the problems with TABLES, FRAMES, & other troublesome areas.
META TAGS will also help you to control your PAGE DESCRIPTIONS and PAGE TITLES.
Use META tags, but keep in mind that they are NOT a guarantee that your site will appears first or within the top 10 - 20. Adding META tag code is not the magic bullet that will cure your site of dismal ranking's, but it is an important part of your overall strategy for boosting your ratings.
EXAMPLES of TAGS:
Search Engine Spamming - Keywords & Resubmitting:
Spamming doesn't always work with the search engines, it can backfire. You may be detected for spamming, and penalize or even banned from their listings. Spamming attempts usually centre around being top ranked for extremely popular keywords, so be prepared to spend a lot of time defending your ranking.
SUBMIT KEY PAGES at least every 3 Months.
PAGE CONTENT should be enough for the search engines to determine relevancy without webmasters having to resort to repeating keywords for no reason other than to try and "beat" other pages ratings.
Try and use networking and other alternative forms of publicity as well.
Pages - Re Submit at Regular Intervals
Most search engines will INDEX the other pages from your web site by following the links from a page that you have previously submit to them. But sometimes they will miss, so it's good submission practice to submit the pages that best summarize your web site. Submitting alternative pages is added insurance.
Just in case the search engine has trouble reaching one or more of your pages, you've covered yourself by giving it another page from which to begin its indexing of your site.
You should submit all the key pages from your site, not just the top two or three.
It can take from 48 Hrs and up to two months for your pages to appear in some search engines, and some may not list every page from the site anyway.
Keep an eye on your listings - pages - links & images:
Once your pages are listed, monitor your listing every week or two, strange things happen. Pages disappear, links go funny so watch for trouble and resubmit if you spot any. A number of the major search engines are now providing country-specific versions of their directories. These work mainly by FILTERING sites by domain.
EG: .au or .com
Resubmit your site any time you make significant changes. Search engines usually/ should revisit on a regular schedule. However, some of the search engines software have been modified to realize that some sites only change content once or twice a year, so if this is the case they may visit less often.
Re-submitting after you have made major changes to your page or site, will help ensure that your site's content is kept current. Make sure that you also include META Tagging for the Robots to revisit.. say, every 30 Days.
Search Engines & Beyond - Reciprocal Links:
Take the time to make your pages/site more search engine friendly. Simple changes may pay off with bigger results, you may find an improvement for strategic keywords you weren't anticipating. The addition of just one extra word may suddenly make a site appear more relevant, & itís impossible to guess what that word will be - so keep TESTING.
If your still not having any luck at becoming #1 - then consider negotiating RECIPROCAL LINKS with sites that do appear in the search engines top ten lists. You may consider these sites as competitors, but you'll be surprised at just how many of these sites are happy to link to your site in return for a LINK BACK.
Remember that while search engines maybe your primary way that people find your site, they are not the only way. Pursue non-search engine publicity methods, like word-of-mouth, traditional media, newsgroup postings, web directories and FFA links pages.
Include your sites URL (address) on all of your other normal advertising, such as Letter Heads, Fax Sheets, Labels, Signs, Radio, TV ads, Brochures, Quotes, Phone Books ... the list goes on and on.
FFA LINKS & Popularity Ratings:
One of the most popular methods currently being used to draw traffic to a site, is the hosting of your own FFA Links Page - thatís FREE FOR ALL LINKS. This will give you an extra POPULARITY RATING with the Search Engines, especially if you ask the link posters to link back to your site.
Plus you have the added advantage of being able to display your SITE BANNER (advertisement) at the top/bottom of the page.
And, you can also gather the email address of each visitor to the page. This enables you to build a DATA BASE of like minded sites ... you can also customize the listing Categories to suite your site or range of products.
GUEST BOOK - SURVEY PAGES - COMMENTS & FEEDBACK:
Add onís, that you may wish to consider (GUEST BOOK, SURVEY PAGES, COMMENTS & FEEDBACK FORMS. These can be packed with KEYWORDS & META Tags - more pages for you to list in the Search Engines, find out what others are thinking, for "FREE".
CUSTOMER OR FREE NEWSLETTERS:
This method will get your foot in the door and keeps it there. Besides the advantage to you of having a MAILING LIST of your present customers - you get to build on and enlarge your DATA BASE by offering a "FREE" NEWSLETTER and you can archive the old newsletters - this acts as a vehicle to the search engines (MORE LISTINGS) ratings.
Other places, where you can promote and offer your products include: press releases, product R&D notices, announcements of up coming events - change of address/phone numbers and email addresses, competitions (with prizes), hey you can also use your newsletter for announcements of internal promotions - order HOT LINES - branch addresses - phone and fax numbers.
What Iím saying is, with a Newsletter (ONLINE & DOWN-LOADABLE) or sent by BULK EMAIL, you SAVE MONEY in the following areas: Paper/ Printing/ Folding/ Inserting/ Envelopes/ Stamps/ LABOUR and the best part is itís delivered within minutes all for "FREE", because you are already paying for your online expenses, and as a bonus you have all of the above mention advantages as well.
Give your customers INSTANT - 24 Hr / 365 Days a Year Information.
Information, on whatever (?) is the most (requested) asked for information on your site, at almost no cost. Again - NO staff tied up answering the same old questions.
Another LABOUR SAVING DEVICE for your site. FAQ LIST: post all the common questions that your staff are NOW answering, and keep adding to the list in the future, keep the list updated this keeps customers coming back to your site for current updated information.
Get your self an IN HOUSE EXPERT on !!! or out house (little joke)
This will give your site CURRENT CONTENT - UPDATED MONTHLY.
A good reason why people should buy your (product) WIDGET .
Who better to tell them about it, than YOU ?
OF AN ORGANIZATION
If you are a member of a prominent Group or Organization, announce it on your site.
This gives you creditability - trust - believability
BEFORE YOU SUBMIT TO THE SEARCH ENGINES:
All of the above SHOULD HELP boost your position in the search engine ratings race/war, if they are done before you submit to the search engines - but it's up to you.
WHEN YOU HAVE FINISHED ALL OF THE ABOVE
can sit back - put your feet & Submit Your URL
SOFTWARE THAT I PERSONALLY USE & RECOMMEND IS:
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