I’d like to start out this article by telling you that I have experience in Search Engine ranking technologies dating back to before Google was even a day dream. If you are looking for true Search Engine Optimization experts, look to those who dealt in the early days with Yahoo before they charged $199 to get your site listed in their directory, Altavista (Pre-Babelfish) and MetaCrawler to name a few. I will start in order of what I believe is most important in Search Engine Optimization.
1. TITLE Tags. Imagine yourself in the library, what’s a library right? Well we’ve all sat at those old school Pentium II or Pentium III computers searching the directory by typing in keywords related to the subject of the book you are looking for. Once you got your results, you jotted them down on those tiny pieces of paper smaller than a Post It note with a little pencil you could barely get a grip and off you went searching for the title that seemed most relevant to what you were looking for. TITLE tags, the information between the TITLE tags on a website are just as important as the title of the book you were searching for at the library back in the 80’s. The TITLE tag best describes what each page’s content is about and helps the search engine spider to index that page correctly. Whatever is in your TITLE tag should match the content of what is on the actual page itself.
2. META Tags. A lot of search engines these days don’t use META tags anymore, but they can still be helpful. Especially the robots.txt file which you will need to create a tag for to let the spider know where on your server it is created. This should be in your server’s root or home directory.
3. H1,H2, H3 Tags. Every HTML page should feature at least a H1 tag which should be used to highlight the subject of that page. For example, if my Title Tag was “Cleveland Website Design Service” an appropriate H1 tag for the subject or heading of that page would be “Website Design Services.” The geographical reference is just an example, this works just the same for any other subject. H1 Tags appear before H2, H3, H4, up to H5. This gives a hierarchy of the page for the search engine spiders to index your page more efficiently.
4. Reciprocal Links. I know, I know you have heard this a hundred times that you should take time and put forth effort in establishing reciprocal links between your site and other websites that are based on the same subject as yours and you are still asking yourself, “If I own a website development company, why would I go trade links with my competition??” The answer: You don’t. When I say it’s important to establish reciprocal links with other relevant sites, it doesn’t mean that you should approach your competition to trade links. It means find other sites that talk about the types of products or services your site sells. I’ve personally noticed and factually know that Google takes links pointing to your site as a high importance maybe even more important than META Tags. This is because it is easy to flood a website with keywords to boost your rankings, but it is considerably more difficult to establish your website as a reliable source of information. You trade links with other websites because Google will begin to recognize your website as a reliable source, thus pushing your listing to the top. Don’t expect this to happen overnight. If you are serious about making money, generating leads or closing sales from your website then expect to put forth effort in establishing reciprocal links. Go ahead, do yourself a favor.
5. Keyword Density. Keyword density refers to the denseness of keywords in the text copy on each of your web pages. I have noticed many business website owners talking about how long they have been in business, how many clients or projects they have developed and how important they are, but they are missing one key thing. KEYWORDS! It’s OK to have copy that is dense with keywords that borderline doesn’t make sense to everyone. Not everyone is going to come to your website and read every single word on the page. After all, how do you browse the net? I know that when I browse I look for something that catches my attention, maybe a product I’m looking for, a phone number or address or maybe a contact form. If I’m at a particular website that I searched for I already know what I’m looking for and probably don’t need to read their introduction paragraphs, which is a great place for keywords because search engines will give more importance to keywords that are placed higher on a page.
6. Sitemaps. Sitemaps have become important in the past few years because it tells search engines about all of the pages on your site. This will help the search engine spider thoroughly index all of the pages on your site. If you do not want certain pages to be indexed, but still wish to display that page in your Sitemap you may exclude the page in your robots.txt file. I very rarely use a website’s sitemap unless I feel I have searched every square inch of the site and have no other place to look for information. In my experiences, I have noticed that older men tend to use sitemaps more.
7. Age of a website. I read an article recently about how Google puts importance on the age of your website. The age is not calculated by how old your domain name is, rather how long ago the information on that particular domain was published. It is a good idea to publish your content in a timely manner, but even more so important to keep that content fresh and up to date. I can’t stand when I visit a website, read some information then realize that it was published 4 years ago and is completely out of date.
This list goes on and on this certainly isn’t all of the Search Engine Optimization tricks out there, but I feel this is the most important items that have personally helped out my rankings. I hope this information helps give your Search Engine Optimization a head start so you can one up your competitors. Don’t forget that it’s OK to get into a particular niche and that you don’t have to target the broadest keywords. Considering the size of the internet today and what it was 10 years ago, you will have plenty of visitors coming in from even more refined and longer keywords.