Optimize Your Site Pt1

Listed here you will find the five of the most important points to remember when optimising your site and individual pages for the search engines.

If you optimise your pages by working through these points one by one you will see a significant rise in your search engine rankings.

1: Buy the right Domain names! The best way to increase your rankings in the SE's(Search Engines) and for the least amount of effort is to choose the right domain name for your site from the start. The SE's give a domain name the highest prominence and score when issuing a ranking. So it's a major priority to have your domain name contain keywords relevant to your site content.

The other point to remember is that domain names can have up to 67 characters in them including the extension(.com, .net etc) now as opposed to the original 23. So you can load your domain name with a number of keywords to boost your ranking, just remember to use a hyphen to separate them out.

This also means that if a really great domain name has gone you can get something close and in fact better because you could simply add another keyword. Eg say exercise-equipment.com wasn't available, I could register best-exercise equipment.com or cheap-exercise-equipment.com.

I have a number of clients using this technique very successfully, and of course if you check out the address bar above this very site does the same thing. ;-)

For the cheapest domain names online with the best control panel online try www.123-reg.co.uk I highly recommend these guys I've used them for years now and register all my own and my clients domains through them.

2: Choose the right Title for your page. The title of your page is what visitors will see across the top of their browsers when they visit your site. It's important that each of your site pages is titled differently to distinguish them from each other and to tie in with the content of the page.

This is also the title of your listing when your site is returned in the results of a Search Engine.

This is probably the second most important thing to get right after choosing your domain name. If your domain name has good keywords then repeat these keywords in the title of your page, add a hyphen and then add your keyword rich title for that page. So going back to the example above exercise-equipment.com your title should probably be along the lines of -

Best Exercise Equipment - Best, Cheap, New and Used Exercise Equipment.

Notice how I get exercise equipment in there twice, first as the name of the site and then as a description of the page. The capitalising of the main words within the title will help your page stand out in the results a little. Don't be tempted capitalise all your letters this looks cheap and some directory's will not list your page with a title in this state.

I've mentioned keywords a fare bit already and I should probably say jump down to No5 for a better idea of what they are and how to use them.

3: Use the H1 tag on the, on page, title/heading of your page. A H1 tag is the heading text tag in HTML. SE's give this tag more relevancy as it's generally used for the title of a page eg h1 best exercise equipment /h1.

That 's the actual on page title and not the browser title.

If you try this out you'll find that it looks pretty ugly, with lots of space around it and much to chunky for a nice looking site.

So here's a trick you can use to keep the H1 tag but have the text appear as normal. *whisper use css style sheets to shrink the text back to size. Check the title of this page 'Web site optimisation Part1' that's a H1 tag that's been fixed. Big difference isn't there.

This is a little known but very useful secret. ;-)

Here's the code to do the trick, drop it into your css document or place it 'style' tags at the head of your code -

h1 {font-size: 13px; margin: 0px;}

Its that simple, play around with the font-size until it's in proportion to the rest of your page. Remember it's the title of your page and should stand out a little from the rest of the text.

4: Meta tags are still useful. Choosing keywords. Not as important as they once were due to abuse. But still used by a number of well known search engines, the new Yahoo search checks them as does the MSN search. But Google gives them little relevance. Which means it's still important to use them to cover all your bases.

Essentially the meta tags you should be using when targeting the search engines are keywords, description and robots.

Keywords should also contain keyphrases and list keywords/keyphrases relevant to the page they appear in. There are two ways to list your keywords/keyphrases. Either with commas separating them or without. The benefit to not using commas is that the keywords side by side can also be read as keyphrases by the SE's. Where as a comma separates everything out. So not using commas allows for some odd combinations to be picked up by the SE's.

meta name="keywords" content=" best exercise equipment cheap home gym equipment health good exercise order online"

That's just an example off the top of my head I haven't researched the words as I normally would, you should also have much more in there around 20-30 words at least. Notice again I've started of with 'best exercise equipment' to echo and boost the use of that phrase elsewhere as discussed above.

The description is self explanatory again and it's a good move to echo the title of the page and fill it out a little so -

meta name="description" content="best exercise equipment - best, cheap, new and used exercise equipment reviewed and available to order online"

The robots tag is very simple and is not strictly necessary but useful. What it does is tell the visiting SE spiders what to do when it comes to listing your site. Spiders are the little programs that crawl the web gathering info on websites for the SE's. You can also use something called a robots.txt file to further control the spiders, but I won't go into that here since its not strictly necessary and the robots tag is enough for our aims at the moment.

Here's an example - meta name="robots" content ="index, follow"

With this we're telling the spider/robot to follow all the links when visiting this page. If you have a members area or an admin area on your site that you don't want listed in the SE's, or any other pages you want to keep to yourself then you can use this -

meta name="robots" content ="index,no follow"

A well known and very useful tool for checking out what search words people are using on the SE's is Wordtracker. When you know what people are searching for you know what keywords and keyphrases you should be weaving into your website. This tool is used by all the online Marketing experts. Another tool is the Overture suggestion tool which will list the number of times a word or phrase has been searched for on the Overture engine over the previous month. A handy tool that will query Overture directly from your desktop and store all results of your keyword searches is Good Keywords.

For a more extensive list of keyword resources try my keyword research page.

5: Body text Keyword/Keyphrases and bold text. This is very much where the focus is when it comes to keywords and keyphrases. Generally it makes sense the more focused your body text is on what your page is about the better you will get ranked. In those terms everyone's a winner. You get better listing and your content is more relevant in order to achieve that. Does that make sense ? let me clarify.

Returning to our examples again our site is called exercise-equipment.com We've already used the phrase 'exercise equipment' in our domain name, page title, on page title and in our meta tags. If we now add this same phrase to the main text of our page a number of times ideally near the top within the first paragraph we'll boost our ranking in the SE's yet again.

Note you should try to make the phrase fit the text and not just cram it in there. It's also important not to over do it. As it is with the other techniques described in this article. You can get your site dropped and even barred from the SE's if it's seen to be 'spamming' them by abusing these techniques. So tread carefully and try not to be tempted to over do it.

Back to the keywords/keyphrases, there's a further twist to this if we also make the body text 'exercise equipment' bold we'll score again in the SE's since text in bold is seen as being more important and again more relevant. ;-) The side benefit is that it breaks up the text a little on the page too for our site visitors and makes the page a little more interesting and easier to read.

About the Author
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