by D. Sproul | May 15th, 2009
How to get top SEO rankings for your webpage with search engines like Google and Yahoo? It’s part art and science, and then lots of tweeking.
Search Engines are ranking web pages a lot more now based on each page’s readable content, instead of just meta tags like keywords and descriptions. Some designers on the Adobe.com forum advocate not filling anything in for meta tags, since they have been so misused. I think descriptions are still useful for search results, as long as they’re short.
All Content is Indexed:
Search engines look at the pages’ readable content. That means all the live text on the page: page titles (which appear at the top on the tab when you open the page), heading text, ALT tags for images, page names (financialplanning.html), image names (financial_planning_chart1.jpg), folder names, and last… domain names. Yup, even your domain name can help or hurt you. Having a domain name that is closest to your actual product AND descriptive is best. Canterbury.com tells me nothing about the business at all. This business happens to be an exterminator. (!) (Don’t quite see the medieval relationship… but oh, well!) So canterburykillsbugs.com or canterbury_exterminators.com would be better.
Include a site map of your website using live text, not images for text. It’s a text-rich meal for search engines, and your visitors will thank you, too.
Use Live Text Navigation Instead of Images
Beware of using images like GIFs and JPEGs for navigation, especially without using alternate tags. Search engines can’t read any meaning into navigation images, and so you don’t benefit with page ranking. They are not “live text,” which is readable by the bot (robot) that is indexing your page.
Don’t Use Repeating Words
Repeating words in your meta description or meta keywords will get you a search engine wrist-slap. But repeating words with possible misspellings is a good idea.
Beware of Flash
Search engines can’t read Flash’s text. They also can only index live text on HTML pages. Some Flash websites with many pages may branch out from only three HTML pages.
Don’t Have Multiple Links to the Same Page Content
Having many different web pages with the exact same text will get your website penalized by the search engines. They will think that you are trying to weight your page down with keywords. Instead, use many links to the same one web page.
Improve your web page rankings by getting links to your website from other web pages, including your own related websites. Pages with more incoming links are seen as more important, or worthy. If you sign up for the free two week trial at Wordtracker.com, you can read more about the person who started the KEI. He has another website that is designed to help businesses trade links in related fields. (I’ll try to find out the actual link and list it here.) I’m sure there are others online, as well. You could e-mail other companies to see if they are interested. A realtor could partner with these: a mortgage broker, insurance agent, local credit union, high-end light fixture store, and painters, for instance. These are related, but separate businesses.
Multiple Domain Pointers:
Remember that web domains are cheap – $10 or less for a year. And search engines know that important pages have more links to them. Just think how many links there must be to Amazon, the Smithsonian, and … probably many porn sites. So look at the popularity of web domains on a search-reporting site, buy several, and point them all to one main site using a redirect feature. This can be done from the domain host manager. Also consider testing domain names for better traffic results with the same content. A website with the name tarryii.com doesn’t tell us much; tarryinvestmentsinc.com would be better for search engines, even if you list the shorter one on your business cards and letterhead.
In the example above, Canterbury could have a domain called LA_exterminators.com that pointed to their main website.
Search Reporting Companies:
Companies like Wordtracker.com and Nichebot.com report about the number of searches for each key word, as well as its competition. Wordtracker comes up with a keyword effectiveness index (KEI): the ratio of the number of searches vs. the competition for those search terms. There are other companies that provide this info, as well.
Test your domain name and keywords (for use in headers, page titles, etc.) on the site, and then use the best ones. Include the same words into your webpages’ live text. Here’s a great article on Wordtracker.com, among many others.
It works like this: you can have a millimeter slice of a 6000 search pie, which means you will appear on page 4342 or later, OR you can have a decent slice of a 100-200 search word pie. Choosing the latter will get you top placement for those words, and possibly into the first 3 pages. (hopefully the first page!) If you can find several keywords in this lesser used category, especially with a combination of words, you maximize your page viewings, and hopefully then sales.
Use these keywords in your articles’ text for better “natural” search engine rankings. If you choose to write about how to paint murals in your home, you will know whether to call them murals, scenes, or vignettes, and whether more people are looking for nature murals or kids room designs. It’s market research.
Use these same keywords for advertising on search placement ads (those paid search results that appear on the side or first); companies include Google Ad Words and Yahoo Search Marketing.
Refine and Tweek
Keep refining it and updating your SEO plan, as well as your website, and it will pay off for your business in better natural search engine page rankings.
I hope that will help you improve your rankings. Best of luck with your Search Engine Optimization.