You finally have a website and you are ready to sit back and let the visitors start rolling in. How does that saying go? “If you build it they will come.” This may be true in Hollywood but certainly not true in the case of your website. You need to constantly work at improving your site to ensure that your website achieves a decent search engine ranking. This is a process that doesn’t happen over night but with some concentrated effort you can get better search engine rankings. Here are some tips on getting to the top of the search engines.
Research your competition and choose your keywords carefully. Keyword phrases tend to be more effective. For example: use “Toronto real estate web design” instead of web design. This could mean the difference between competing with 6 million websites or 100 thousand.
Make sure your web pages include good meaty content of at least 250-300 words per page. Search Engines analyze the relevancy of your page/site based on the content. Your keywords should be represented in your content – if your keywords are not represented, either you have chosen the wrong keywords or you haven’t thought out your content properly. Search engines like sites that change their content regularly so find ways to keep your content fresh but the message clear.
Use Meta tags (title tag, description tag and keywords tag) properly and use different Meta tags on each page of your site! Make sure your title is relevant and between 50 and 60 characters. Your description should not exceed 150 characters and should summarize the content of your page. Most importantly make sure the words/phrases in your keywords tag are represented in your content.
Use alternate image tags. Besides being a good design practice, alternate image tags help the search engines verify the importance of the images on your page. When appropriate use your keyword choices in your alt image tags.
Avoid using only image based navigation on your site. If you are using images as links to your other pages, make sure you absolutely use alternate image tags. Ideally you should also include text based links somewhere on your web page as well. You see this quite often in the footer of some web pages although you can always include test links in the content of your pages as well. Text based links help the search engines find ALL your pages not to mention they make your site more assessable. If your site is complex you should include a site map to help your visitors and the search engines find their way around your site. If you are using a sitemap put the link near the top of your page so that the search engine finds it quickly.
Use heading tags and bold to emphasize your keywords. Don’t over do this! If you have chosen your keywords properly, your keywords should already be in weighted areas of your carefully written content.
Do NOT use auto submit services to submit your site to the major search engines. As long as you have incoming links to your site from a site that has been indexed your web site should automatically be indexed. If you need to submit your website to a search engine do it manually and only once.
Research and gather external links from sites that are relevant to your own. If your site is promoting health food a link from a human resources site will not help your website rankings and may actually penalize your site.
To get better search engine rankings you need to keep it simple, natural and use your common sense. Don’t try to trick the search engines as this can often result in getting your site banned or dropped from the index.
Remember, it can takes month for your optimization efforts to pay off, but when they do you will enjoy better search engine rankings!
© 2005 Tanya Beaudoin o/a Office on Demand, All rights reserved. You are free to use this article in its entirety, as long as you include complete attribution, including live web site link. Please also notify Mrs. Beaudoin as to where the material will appear.