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Search Engine Optimization Tips

How to optimize a website for top search engine placement in the major search engines

This single sentence is the basis of the worlds quest for better search engine placement within the major search engines. (Google, Yahoo, MSN) How do you optimize a web page for search engine placement? What mystical incantations must be performed to place a web page at the top of the search engine results listings? The process of optimizing your web page for search engine placement success is common sense.

I'll explain the basic process of web page optimization for search engine placement in a simple, easy to understand way.

The following web page optimization techniques are provided as a starting point for your web pages.

This web page optimization process is the basis for all search engine placement performed by our professional web design company. There are additional web page optimization techniques that are not listed here for obvious reasons.

Web Page Title Optimization
The web page title is 20% or more, of your search engine placement and web page optimization. It's nice to place your business name in the page title, however, unless you have a well known brand name stick to using your keywords in the web page title area. Keep the total web page title character limit below 70 characters. Place your most important keywords towards the beginning of the web page title. Every page of your web site needs to have it's title optimized for it's own particular content. Examine each and every web page, each web page title has to reflect the web page content, or it is of little relevance to the search engine listing.

Web Page Content Optimization
Web Page content is the single most important search engine optimization and web page optimization issue. If you expect people to find you within the search engine listings for the word "widgets", you had better make sure that your web page content is all about "widgets". You can NOT get off topic with your web page content and expect to be found in the search engine listings. Examine your web page, how much of the web page is actually about "widgets"? A blurb, or a couple of sentences is not enough to tip search engine placement in your favor. Think about the big picture, the search engine is delivering search engine results about web pages based on a specific keyword or key phrase. The search engine results page ( SERP ) shows web pages that are "all" about widgets, not... here are web pages with "something" about widgets. The more your web page is about your target keyword or phrase the better you will do with search engine placement. 

If you intend to drive search engine traffic to your website with search engine listings, your web page must be about your keyword or key search phrase. If your web page content is thinned out by other information on the web page, this dilutes the overall pertinence of the key search term.

Sometimes less is more when it comes to optimizing a web page for search engine placement. A web page with a small amount of content sometimes comes out on top of the search engine listings. Due to the small amount of content, there would be no thinning out of the web page content by other off-topic information. Stay focused on your keywords when optimizing your web page for search engine placement. Keep your web page keyword strategy to 1 or 2 keywords or key phrases per page at most. Herein lies one of the major keys to search engine placement, the balancing act that is performed. Use your keyword too much or too often and you stand a chance of getting banned from the search engines for "Keyword Stuffing". If you don't use your keyword enough then you drop like a rock in the search engine results.

Web Page Content Position, HTML and Web Page Layout
When you pick up a newspaper or an advertisement, the major point is usually placed at the top of the item. Search engines consider this fact when ranking your web site in the search engine listings. The search engine considers information placed at the top of the web page is probably more on target with what the web page is about. Place your keywords or search phrases as close to the top of your web page as possible when optimizing your website for search engine placement.

Web Page Graphics and Alt Text Optimization
Web page graphics inserted into a web page can provide alternate text that is beneficial to search engine optimization. This alternate text can usually be revealed by holding your cursor over an image on a web page. This text is called "ALT Text", if the image cannot load, this text should enable the user to figure out what was supposed to be there. This text can be used to an advantage for search engine optimization. Use your current keyword strategy here, the product is a widget, the picture is named widgets.jpg, the ALT text should also contain the word widgets in order to optimize your web page for search engine placement. This text is something that the search engine can read from your web page and has an effect on search engine results listings.

Web Page Anchor Text
Anchor text is nothing more than a fancy Search Engine Optimization term referring to a link constructed of text only. Sometimes a web page will use a graphic for linking purposes. (a graphic being a picture of a button, or some other image used to link to another web page). The search engines prefer a text link over a graphic link when considering search engine placement. If you have a website that uses an image of a button for navigation, several other optimization factors are considered. First, the name of the graphic that is being used for the button (do not use the name "button1.jpg" or some similar naming arrangement when optimizing your graphics for search engine placement) If that button links to a page about "widgets" a better web page optimization strategy would be to name the graphic something like "widgets.jpg" or even better, "buy_blue_widgets.jpg") Remember to keep focused on your keyword strategy when naming ANY element of your web page. Search engines do not see a web page exactly like humans do, the only information they have to consider for search engine placement is the raw HTML within the web page. Search engines cannot view pictures! Even though you may have a nice picture of a widget with the text "click here" across it, the search engine can only see the image name, the alt text associated with that graphic, and the name of the web page that image links to, nothing more! A search engine will give greater placement to a web page that uses a text link over a web page that uses a graphic link. A text link cannot be used to fool a search engine, the search engine can read the text in the web page, and read the linking web page. The search engine knows "for sure" if this is a link to widgets or not. When considering a graphic link, you can name the image "widgets", it can link to a web page about widgets, however the graphic picture can actually be an image of a toaster. Since the search engine can possibly be fooled by this, it will place a text link higher in the search engine results than graphic links. Always use text links whenever possible when optimizing your web page for search engine placement.

Web Page Naming and Website Subdirectory Naming
Usually your main web page HAS to be named something similar to index.html (default.htm, index.htm, default.cfm, index.asp, etc.) you cannot change this. However, the rest of the website is open to web page optimization techniques. If you have a web page that is about "widgets", that web page name should also follow the same keyword strategy when optimizing your web page for search engine placement. (Example: name your web page "widgets.htm"). If you are attempting to optimize your web page for a specific key phrase, use that key phrase as a naming convention for your web pages. (Example: buy_widgets_online.htm). Separate your title words with underscores, or hyphens.

There is some controversy over the usage of the hyphen or the underscore when separating words in web page names relating to search engine optimization. Naming of the directory structure within your web site should follow the same keyword strategy as web pages when optimizing your web pages for search engine placement.

Keyword comments Within The Web Page
Several discussions have evolved on the topic of web page optimization and Keyword Comments. Our web design company utilizes keyword comments placed within the web page to enhance web page optimization and search engine placement. An HTML comment syntax example could be

<!-- widget -->

 placed in the web page in an attempt at better search engine placement.

Web Page Linking
Web page linking is only one aspect of search engine optimization. Large companies spend huge amounts of money on their inbound website links to increase search engine placement. A link is a reference on a webpage that includes your website address. It can be a standard www text link, a web banner or a graphic.

It's getting harder and harder be "Top 10" in the search engine listings, most search engines base a portion of your website position by the amount of times you appear on other websites.

There are basically two types of web page links, a reciprocal link and a non-reciprocal link.

Reciprocal links are links based upon an informal agreement between website owners to display each other's links on their websites. The web page link agreement will only last as long as each website continues to reciprocate or return the favor of the web page link. It may be a week, a month, or a year.

Non-reciprocal links are basically a one-way link between 2 websites, only one website provides a link to another website, with the the other website providing no link back. Inbound non-reciprocal links can provide a large lift to your search engine placement. It's harder to get a free inbound website link if you don't give a link back.

A reciprocal web page link
Web Rings - small groups of websites that revolve around a certain type of theme will display a link to other participating websites within the ring. Each website takes turns randomly displaying a link from a different website.

Banner Links - Normally a web banner of a predetermined size ( 468x60 web banner, 125x125 web banner, 120x600 vertical web banner ). There are several websites that offer banner exchange programs for increasing inbound web site links.

Text Links - Probably the best way to link a web page is with a text link. The search engine seems to like web page links that are text only over other forms of web page linking.

Web Ad Swapping - It's a mutual agreement, one website displays a website link for free as long as the other website displays their website link.

Non-reciprocal web page links
A non-reciprocal web page links refers to one way linking. Writing good web page content is a great way to get other websites to link to your site for free.

How to get non-reciprocal web page links
You will need to actively help your visitors to link to your website, usually by giving them instructions on how to link to your website. On your site, provide "How to Link to my website" instructions. Create web banners, and instructions that will make linking to your website easy. If your website has good design, is useful, and updated regularly people will link to your website.

The search engine placement and search engine optimization techniques listed here are only a sample of the basic requirements needed for search engine placement. Our professional web design company utilizes these web page optimization procedures along with a several other search engine placement techniques to ensure our customers a long lasting placement in the major search engine listings.


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