How to have high rankings on search engines (a.k.a. Search Engine Optimization or SEO) is a very debatable subject, but the tips and tricks listed in this article should give you a good start.
For clarity, we’re talking about natural listings that appear in the main section of a search engine. The links offset in colored boxes at the top or right-hand side of the page, are sponsored links which you paid for, and that’s for another discussion.
For now, let’s focus on natural ways to make your website a hit with search engines.
One of the best things you can do to increase your ranking with search engines is have credible websites link to your website. More sites linking to yours = higher results because search engines factor this in when deciding which sites to list first.
You want natural, incoming links (not linking schemes or link-sharing programs that say they’ll increase your website’s ranking—those will do more harm than good). The quality of a link depends on how close its keywords match yours, plus its search engine ranking.
So how can you get quality links? Provide worthy content on your site that other sites will want to link to such as articles, blogs, and free services. And, find resource areas or link sections on related websites and ask them to link to your website.
Keywords and keyword phrases are very important as they enable search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and others to find your site. Choose your keywords and phrases based on what your visitors will use to search for your company, such as your business name, industry, products, services, location, etc.
Wordtracker is a great tool for choosing keywords and is relatively inexpensive.
Once you’ve chosen your keywords, make sure to include them in the following places on your site:
- Page title, which appears at the top of the browser window. Titles form the link to your site from the search engines and should be no more than 8-10 words or 75 characters, including spaces. Only capitalize proper nouns—leave keywords lowercase.
- Headers. “Is Your Website a Hit with Search Engines” is the header of this page and it’s located in H1 (header) tags.
- Description. The description is what appears under the page titles on search engines. It should be no more than 150 characters, including spaces. Just like page titles, only capitalize proper nouns and leave keywords lowercase.
- URLs. For example, for this article, my URL is jilllynndesign.com/search-engine-optimization. Use dashes (-) instead of underscores (_) to separate words.
- The main body of your website. If you are selling online, make sure the product descriptions are filled with quality keywords. These words can include the product benefits, how it works, specific advantages, and why it’s different.
- Keyword meta tags. Perhaps not as important as in the past, but it doesn’t hurt to include them anyway. Separate keywords by commas.
Remember, keywords should be page specific. If you sell widgets and whatchamacallits, don’t use the widget keywords on the whatchamacallit pages and vice versa. Make it easy for visitors to find exactly what they’re searching for which will convert to more website traffic.