How well your site does on a search results page depends on three simple things…
- How easy it is for a search engine to parse or scan your website
- How well the content of your site matches a search term
- How many inbound links your site has from other websites
In order to make your site friendly to search engines you need to ensure that your web site utilises the following html elements:
- Domain, folder and page names – It’s a good idea to use standard English phrases in the domain, folders and web pages on the site e.g. mybabystuff.com/girls/bibs.htm might be a good web address if someone is searching for baby
- Title – You must ensure that your website’s title is well formatted, generally it should include the most common search term used to find the site, followed by the web site name.
- Description – This is not visible to the end user directly when accessing the page, however Google uses the description meta tag in its search matching algorithm, and it also displays it in the search results page so that users can make an informed choice before clicking a link on the search results page.
- Headings – Putting your key search terms in the standard headings Heading 1, 2, 3 etc. is critical
- Content – Placing key words and phrases throughout the body is very important, but don’t overdo it. To keep it reading naturally is a good rule of thumb. Sparing use of bold text for key phrases can also help.
In order to ensure that you are using the most suitable keywords and phrases on your site, you simply must use the Google keyword tool. This tool will show you what people are searching for in a particular country or region based on key phrases entered into the tool, or a supplied web address. The search terms returned are shown for the current month for the selected region and world wide. This tool is an invaluable resource to everyone, not just SEO experts. It should be used by anyone serious about their online business. Once your keywords and phrases are identified correctly you can place them on your site strategically using title, heading, description and other standard html elements mentioned above.
Getting content formatted correctly and selecting the best keywords is only the beginning of your SEO journey. After you have done this 90% of the SEO work must still be carried out. Google uses a system of ranking websites based on how many good quality inward links a site has. Therefore it is critical for you to get as many inward links as possible to your site. You can find out more about this by doing a search for the Google Page Rank system.
Good quality inward links come from sites that are considered important and relevant by Google. A good quality link will come from a page that is reasonably well ranked itself and is relevant to the search terms sought after for your site e.g. a link from a shoes blog to a shoes ecommerce store would be considered a good link because both sites contain the keyword shoes. If the shoes blog page has very few other links on it, Google may increase the value placed on that link also.
So that’s it really, remember to keep it simple stupid (KISS), make sure your site is well formatted with relevant keywords and get out there and get your site linked to from as many blogs, social networking sites, boards, YouTube, Flickr, partner sites, client sites etc. etc. and watch your site jump up the search results pages within a matter of weeks. Set yourself a target of acquiring 5 links a day and within a month you will have improved your sites rank significantly.