How to Get Great Search Engine Rankings | WebReference

How to Get Great Search Engine Rankings

How to Get Great Search Engine Rankings

By Brandon Leibowitz

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1. Chose your Keywords Carefully

Once you've chosen your business and purchased a domain name the next step is to find useful and relevant keywords. Without this step your Web site will get lost among the many Web sites that compete for your business.

To begin keyword research you need to utilize some useful tools. The first Web site you should look at is Google Keywords which is a free tool that displays the amount of searches and competition for specific keywords. It also allows you to find more specific keywords that can better describe your site.

A better tool would be to purchase some type of software or service such as WordTracker which offers detailed information about keywords. Unfortunately it's not free, but there are other services that are.

2. Find a Niche Market

This cannot be stressed enough as it's much harder to receive top search engine rankings for a new site than an established site. A new site will have to compete with Web sites that have established high search engine rankings.

To compete with these Web sites is unwise. You first need to find a niche market, and then build up your Web site to a position as to where it can compete with these generic terms. For example let’s say you have a Web site geared towards weight loss. You would not use the keyword "weight loss" because there's too much competition. You can use one of the keyword tools to find suggestions of related keywords that you will be able to compete against. You may find the keyword “weight loss surgery” or “weight loss techniques.” These phrases are much better keywords than generic terms like “weight loss.”

Use the list of a few keywords, check out the competition that word/ phrase has on Google. Look at the number of competitors. If this exceeds a few million, then you need look for a more specific keyword. The next step is to observe the top listed pages and see how well they are optimized. You can download the Google Toolbar and add Page Rank to your browser for free.

A low Page Rank between 0 – 3 means that you can easily compete with these Web pages. A Web site with a Page Rank of 4 – 6 is a bit tougher to compete with, but is manageable using my guided steps and expertise. You don't want to compete with Web sites that have a Page Rank above 7. Check the domains homepage, not a sub-page to get an accurate Page Rank!

3. View Competitors Source Code

It's important to view potential competitor’s source code to see if they have efficiently performed on page search engine optimization. To do this on your Brower click “view” and then click on the “source” option as displayed.”

This will bring up a page with all the html code on it. You don't need to be an expert with html to understand what we're looking for. We need to see if our competitor’s Web site is properly optimized. We look to see if they are using their keywords in the header tags, the title tags, and the image alt tags. These should all be located near the top of the source code.

If you cannot find these then go to the toolbar and chose “edit” and select “find” and type in h1 or title, etc. to see if there are being used for the keywords. If these don't exist or aren't being used to hold keywords, you have found an easily beaten page. This means that with some proper optimization you will be able to outrank this page. The last thing you want to look at is the body content and to see if the keyword is used a few times in the body content. A site lacking in keywords in the body context is a poorly optimized page. You should always make sure your Web page is keyword rich with relevant content.

4. Keyword Placement

After you've selected a few keywords to use we want to combine the ones that have like terms. For example, if you've selected three keywords such as: weight loss story; weight loss picture; safe weight loss, you see that all three keywords contain the words “weight loss.” We can combine the words to better optimize your page.

For the title tag the fewer the keywords used, the better the search engines will rank your page.

When we create the page it should NEVER have “Welcome to our Web site!” in the Title Tags.

It should NEVER have “weight loss story, weight loss picture, safe weight loss” in the Title Tags either.

The way the title tags should look is: “Weight Loss Story | Safe Weight Loss Picture” (Note: You can add this character | by holding the shift key on your keyboard and pressing the backslash key above the enter key.)

You should always remove prepositions such as “and” as this will only hurt your search engine optimization. The fewer, more relevant the words, the higher your search engine ranking will be.

Header 1 tags should be placed above your body content. This should contain your most relevant keyword in this tag. i.e. “Weight Loss Story” This main keyword placed in the H1 tag will substantially increase your page ranking! The Header 2 tag should contain your second most important keyword. The header 3 tag will have your least important keyword placed in it. These header tags are often overlooked, but make a significant difference in your on page search engine optimization.

The body content of your Web page should be rich with keywords and relevant content. You should have each keyword appear at least once for every 1-2 paragraphs. Do not stuff your body with keywords. You want to give your body a clean natural look, meaning do not over or under use keywords!

Image tags alt tags should also be keyword rich. Search engines often look at the alt tags of images on your Web site. If the alt tags don't make use of your keywords then you will be ranked lower than if you had keywords in your alt tags.

5. Homepage Organization

We want the search engines to notice your keywords and index you accordingly. In order to do this you should start and end your body tags with your keywords. This gives the search engine spider information that your page is highly relevant to your keywords.

When the spider looks through your Web site it reads through your content from top left to bottom right. Below is an example of how the search engine reads your page starting with 1 then 2 then 3.

Rather than creating a table that looks like this:
navigational links
Your body text...

You should create a table that looks like this:
Your body text...
navigational links

Now, search engines will view your body content before it views your navigational menu. The search engine will see the top of your page then see a blank area and skip to your body content then move onto your navigational menu

6. Search Engine Submission

The best way to achieve high search engine rankings for new Web sites may not be what you expected. You should not submit your site directly to the search engines as this process can take weeks or even months to get your site listed. Instead you need to get listed on top ranking pages that are relevant to your Web site's content. These high ranking pages are often optimized on a weekly or even daily basis. Every time the site is indexed your link will appear and the search engines will automatically list your site in its index.

To do this you need to search for Web sites indexed by search engines and get them to link to you. The incentive you need to give them is to write some sort of article relevant to your line of business. At the bottom of the article you include your web page URL to get picked up by the search engines. You submit the article to popular article directories on the Web and you will be indexed by the search engines in a matter of days.

Here's a list of the most popular article directories:

  1. GoArticles.com
  2. Ezinearticles.com
  3. ArticleCity.com
  4. Certificate.net/wwio
  5. Amazines.com
  6. Articledashboard.com
  7. Article-directory.com
  8. Submityourarticle.com/articles
  9. Magportal.com
  10. Isnare.com
  11. Pubs.acs.org/hotartcl
  12. Article-hangout.com
  13. Webarticles.com
  14. Articlecube.com
  15. Article-buzz.com

The other option is to perform a search of the most generic term that is related to your business. Click through these Web sites looking at the Page Ranks. Contact the Web site and ask them to link to your site and in return for linking back to their site. Always contact sites that are relevant to your line of work and always offer them something their visitors can benefit from once they add your link.

You can purchase a link in top Page Rank sites through link builders. A few of the good Web sites that can do this for you are: textbrokers.com or text-link-ads.com or linkadage.com.

Remember that you only need to purchase a link for one month, since it will take less than one month to get you indexed by the major search engines. Continuing to pay for the link after a month is a waste of your money.

7. Off page Optimization

Here, you need to study the linking strategies of the top 10 Web sites for your keyword. We want to copy their model, but do things slightly better to achieve the top rankings. First open up a spreadsheet in Excel and list the following columns: Linking Web site, Anchor Text, Page Rank, Link Popularity Page Title, and Number of Outbound Links. Then we search your keyword on Google and fill in the information for the top 10 Web sites.

To discover the linking Web sites go to Google and type in the websites URL “link:www.thewebsite.com.” Then count the number of sites that are listed to get the link popularity.

Anchor text is whatever follows the .com or .org of a website URL.

Page Rank is the rank Google gives to Web sites. You can download it for free at Google’s Web site.

Page Title is the title of the page that appears on the top left of the screen. If the title does not contain the keywords then the site is not well optimized and easy to surpass in rankings.

Number of Outbound Links is the number of links located on the webpage linking to the site you’re checking.

Once all this information has been collected you can see what needs to be done to your site to beat the top ranking sites.

8. Search Engines and Capitalization

Capitalizing different letters in keywords brings up different results in search engines. Search engines are case-sensitive so it is important how you use capitalization. The problem with listing every variation of a word results in the search engines thinking that you are spam and deleting your URL. This gets worse with singular and plural words!

The solution is to stick with lowercase listings rather than trying different variations. Studies have shown that most people search in all lowercase and this has the most relevant listings. Not using every other variation means you lose out on 18% of traffic. This is not worth the risk of being banned from the search engines.

9. Search Engine Spamming

Search engine spamming is attempting to achieve top ranks for extremely popular keywords. Search engines have discovered ways to fight keyword stuffing and other search engine tricks. Search engines can detect your spam and will act accordingly by penalizing or banning you from their listings. The risks aren't worth the temporary rewards. Search engine spam should be considered the same as email spam.

10. Hire a Professional SEO

Hiring a professional search engine optimizer is a great idea if your business relies on Internet sales. Search engine optimization is something that is time consuming and requires lots of research. Most businesses don't have time to optimize their Web sites. At SEO Optimizers we make sure everything is inline at your site and fix any problems that may be holding you back from reaching the top ranks. If you really want to be at the top of any searches you need professionals to help you solve the problem.

About the Author

Brandon Leibowitz has been a professional search engine optimizer for years. He can successfully convert a site into one with top search engine rankings! He is the creator and owner of SEO Optimizers.

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Created: March 27, 2003
Revised: December 28, 2007

URL: http://webreference.com/promotion/seo/1