Twelve Steps to Higher Search Engine Placement

Recent studies suggest that more than 80% of new visitors to any web site get there as a result of a search engine query. If this study is to believed, it certainly suggests that working to get high rankings in the search engines might be the most effective thing you can do to bring traffic to your site.

The following 12 design tips will help you get started in optimizing your site's search engine placement.

1. Design for Specific Search Engines - there are hundreds of different search engines, but for best results you should design your site to take full advantage of the search criteria of the big three - Yahoo, Google and MSN. If you can get high rankings in these three, you won't need to worry about the other search engines. Knowing how these search engines rank sites (as well as why they will penalize a site) is important. The rules change often, but the tips below are the most current.

2. Know your target audience. Before you apply any of the tips below, do some research and find out what are the most likely key words and phrases your target audience will be searching for. In most cases, the key words or phrases won't be your site name, but will be something related to the solution to a specific problem or the answer to a specific question. Knowing the question that will be asked is half the battle.

3. Use Meta tags. By now just about everyone knows about Meta tags. These are commands you can place in the html on your web page to help the search engines categorize what your page is about. The two most important Meta Tags are 'Keyword' and 'Description'. The description Meta tag should describe what is on the particular page, and the keyword Meta tag should include the important key words from the page. Avoid using 'fluff' words and phrases as these will be ignored by the site.

Warning: If the keywords in the Meta keyword line are not found within the text on the web page, some search engines will penalize the page or simply not list it. This is done to prevent 'meta tag' spoofing.

My advice - have a different Meta description tag on every page. And be sure that keywords in the keyword tags are used on the page.

4. Optimize your Title tag. Many search engines give considerable weight to the html title tag on the page. It is the first element the search engine will scan and weight. Not including a title instantly reduces the search engine ranking your page will receive. When yo create a title tag, include keywords and write it to catch the attention of the users be scanning lengthy lists of titles in search engine results.

For higher ranking, make sure the title tag matches headline text on the page. And be sure to use a different title tag for each page on your site. (Pages with the same title tag will often be ignored.)

5. Use Keywords in page headlines. Page headlines are important - to your visitor as well as to search engines. Use short keyword phrases, including hot button words and phrases. Avoid 'fluff' and generic words.

My advice - use a strong headline on the page, and use the same headline in the title tag.

6. Use interesting text. Search engines actually count all the words on a webpage, then rank those words by frequency of use. The more often you use a word or phrase(up to a point), the higher you will rank with that word or phrase in the search engine. For that reason, be sure to include words or phrases that are likely to be searched for on your pages.

My advice - Keep your text short, on topic, and packed full of keywords. Avoid useless and meaningless words, and certain phrases that will place you in the penalty box.

7. Use the AlT tags on all images. Search engines are starting to index sites by the images found on the site. They accomplish this by looking at all the image tags on the page, and cataloging the ALT tags accompanying the image. Obviously if you don't use the ALT tag, then images on your site won't be properly cataloged. When using the alt tag, be sure to use a keyword or phrase describing the content of the image.

8. Use the Title tag on links. Search engines look at all text on the site, including the title tag on the links on your site. Most sites still don't use the link title tag, so when you do, you gain an advantage. The link title should be a short keyword or phrase.

My advice - Check out how the pages on my site have a left navigation menu filled with department names. I try to make these names keywords for my site, and the link to the departments all make use of the title tag. Doing it this way means that the search engine ranks the department names twice. Once as text, and again as a Link Title Tag.

9. Provide a Link Trail. Search engines coming to your site follow the links on the front page that lead into your site. These links should provide a 2 level trail to all pages on your site. If you don't provide a link trail, the search engines probably won't find all your pages. (And even if you do provide a 'link trail' - if you use the same title tag and Meta tags on your pages, the search engine may ignore all the pages beyond the first one.)

My advice - check out how every page on my site has a one click link trail to any department on the site. You are never more than two clicks away from any page. Plus every page has at least 30 different link trails (through the departments) making it easy for visitors as well as search engine spiders to move through the site.

10. Avoid the Penalty Box. Search engines are getting smarter every day, and they will penalize a site if it violates search engine rules. These rules include:

Keyword spoofing - using keywords not related to site content

Keyword spamming - pasting hundreds of copies of the keywords on the page just to get high ranking

Numerous doorway pages - using hundreds of index pages that do nothing but point to the site

Link Spamming - submitting links to the 500,000 link submission services

Page Redirects - not necessarily a major penalty, but can cause loss of ranking

Frames on Main Page - not necessarily a major penalty, but can cause loss of ranking

Flash Movie on Main Page - not necessarily a major penalty, but can cause loss of ranking

My advice: Keep in mind that search engines are intelligent software. When they visit a page they try to determine what the page is about, relying primarily on the titles, headlines, text, links, and images on the page. That's why it is important to focus on those elements, and avoid the ones that can put you in the penalty box.

11. Check for errors. Before you submit your page to the search engines, run the page through an html checker and a spelling checker. Search engines do check and take into consideration spelling and html errors, and will penalize a page that has too many of either.

My advice - take the time to do it right. If you get a poor ranking on a search engine it might be six weeks before the search engine comes back to re-rank you. Get it right before you submit to the search engines, and then keep it right so when the search engine returns, you will continue to get high rankings.

12. Manually submit the site. Don't be tempted to use an automatic site submission program. They don't work, and can get you penalized. Better to manually submit your site to the top search engines. Yahoo, Google, MSN.

My advice - Start with Google.com, then yahoo.com, and then MSN.com. Each has a place to register your site with their search engine.

This may seem a lot of work, but if you do it right and get high rankings, it will pay off.

Craige Stacey has been studying search engines optimization as a hobby and has achieved some very good search engine positions in the past for PublisherGate - membership website software

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

Search Engine Land

5 SEO trends that will matter most in 2019
Search Engine Land
This year, Google's shaken the world with its mobile- and speed-related efforts. As a result, most of next year's SEO efforts are expected in this direction. However, some “non-Google” game-changers will also influence how we build our SEO campaigns.
The Search Future: Plan Your 2019 SEO TacticsValueWalk
Google Launches New Tool That Grades A Site's SEO ImplementationSearch Engine Journal
These are 2018's popular SEO trendsBorn2Invest
XDA Developers (blog) -Technotification -Business 2 Community
all 20 news articles »

Search Engine Journal

When Does User-First SEO Not Apply?
Search Engine Journal
Editor's note: “Ask an SEO” is a weekly column by technical SEO expert Jenny Halasz. Come up with your hardest SEO question and fill out our form. You might see your answer in the next #AskanSEO post!


Search Engine Journal

SEO Contest Exposes Weakness in Google's Algorithm
Search Engine Journal
Search Engine Journal - SEO, Search Marketing News and Tutorials · Rss · Twitter · Facebook. Follow Us. LinkedIn · YouTube · Instagram · Reddit · Google Plus · Pinterest. Follow Us. Rss · Twitter · Facebook · Instagram · Youtube · google plus. SEO. All ...


WFXG

New SEO scam targets small businesses
WFXG
AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Looking out for you and your money; Gigi Turner with the Better Business Bureau is in the FOX 54 studio to tell you about an old scam that has picked up a new twist. It's a warning to small businesses, a new target of scammers and ...


Search Engine Land

Solving complex SEO problems require a new 'discovery' approach
Search Engine Land
At SMX East I attended the “Solving Complex SEO Problems When Standard Fixes Don't Apply” session with presenters Hannah Thorpe, Head of SEO Strategy at Found, and Arsen Rabinovitch, Founder and CEO at TopHatRank.com. Here are key learnings ...


Forbes

Four E-Commerce SEO Trends To Prepare For In 2019
Forbes
Meanwhile, e-commerce businesses that already have SEO marketing strategies in place need to also adapt to these changes if they want to remain relevant and dominate their respective markets. Make one SEO mistake, and you could set your business ...
SEO Friendly Pagination: A Complete Best Practices GuideSearch Engine Journal

all 3 news articles »

Inverse

Conquer Google With The Ultimate SEO Tool
Inverse
Did you know that the top three spots on Google receive nearly 60% of all search engine traffic for any given keyword? That's the magic of SEO, baby, and you're falling behind if you're not learning the ins and outs of this vital tool.


Search Engine Land

SearchCap: Google seller ratings, complex SEO & local reviews
Search Engine Land
Solving complex SEO problems require a new 'discovery' approach. Nov 9, 2018 by Eric Enge. The SMX presentation with Hannah Thorpe and Arsen Rabinovitch reviewed Google's latest updates along with diagnostics and tools to get your site back on track ...


Search Engine Journal

7 Key Considerations When Developing Your In-House SEO Structure
Search Engine Journal
In-house SEO is a different beast than agency SEO. With in-house SEO, you're typically in charge of one website, rather than 50 websites at once. Your focus shifts toward a long-term, holistic approach to website SEO rather than the mechanical approach ...


Entrepreneur

The Sneaky Way SEO Spam Is Costing You Business -- And How to Stop It
Entrepreneur
Small businesses are losing business and potentially harming their reputations because of SEO spam cyberattacks. These attacks are known as search engine poisoning (SEP) attacks. As the name implies, the desired outcome (i.e., action on objective) of ...
Search Buzz Video Recap: Google Spooky Search Updates, Search Console Domain Property, Lazy Loading SEO ...Search Engine Roundtable
Digital Marketing Agencies and SEO Providers Boost Business and Lead Generation with New Software Powered by ...MarTech Series
Seven bad SEO tactics that would cost your rankingElite Business Magazine

all 13 news articles »
Google News

How To Soar In Your Search Engine Marketing, In The Post Google Era Part 2

'Are Google's Days in the Dominant Position in Search Technology... Read More

Get Better Search Engine Rankings with RSS

RSS is the latest craze in online publishing. But what... Read More

Link Popularity: Why Its The Best Investment You Can Do For Your Business

More and more search engines rank your web pages based... Read More

Abandoned by Google! Googlebot, Wherefore Art Thou Googlebot?

As a search engine optimization specialist I often optimize existing... Read More

Recommended Tools When You Put On The SEO Cap For Your Web Site

The name of the game is search engine optimization and... Read More

Google Slavery...Old Habits Die Hard

For the first few months after Yahoo decided to go... Read More

Search Engine Ranking... Oh, the Mystery!

Rankings, Rankings, Rankings!How do you get your website ranked well... Read More

21 Search Engine Terms Every Web Marketer Should Know Part 1

1. Search Engine - Is a database of web sites... Read More

SEO #3: Getting Listed In Google in Under 24-Hours!

Yesterday you should have read the second course out of... Read More

The Secret Benefit Of Search Engine Optimisation: Increased Usability

A higher search ranking is what many website owners dream... Read More

Top Ten Listing? Hmmmmmmmm

This is my question...I spend a fortune on SEO and... Read More

Reciprocal Links to Boost Link Popularity ?

Link popularity means the number of incoming links pointing to... Read More

Search Engine Optimization, Positioning: Is Chasing Google Algorithms Worth It?

Google is the undisputed heavyweight champion of search engines. Most... Read More

How to Prevent Duplicate Content with Effective Use of the Robots.txt and Robots Meta Tag

Duplicate content is one of the problems that we regularly... Read More

Would You Let A Dog Or A Butler Market Your Website?

The latest news to hit the Internet's 'water cooler' is... Read More

Top Search Engine Ranks- The Only Secret You Need- Explained: Part 1

The top three search pages- the only place you'll be... Read More

Driving Your Website through Google Sandbox

What is Google Sandbox?Google Sandbox is applied on new websites,... Read More

SEO Expert Guide - Ongoing Monitoring of Results (part 9/10)

In the Guide, you have, so far, learnt how to... Read More

Why Does The Link Page Have A PR Zero?

For beginners, link exchange campaigns can be a minefield of... Read More

Getting Listed in the ODP, Google Directory

First of all, the Google directory is really just the... Read More

How To Choose Keywords Before they Skyrocket in Popularity

Long before the days of researching phrases with the helpful... Read More

SEO - Google Sitemaps Explained

Once again I seem to be writing about Google. The... Read More

Search Engine Metrics: Organic Search vs. Paid Placement

Let me preface this report by citing advertisers in 2004... Read More

Alert Marketing - Get Google Search Results By E-mail

Sometimes our jobs as marketers means we need to look... Read More

7 Essential SEO techniques

1) Title Tag ? When we're talking about SEO Technique,... Read More