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E-Marketing Performance Blog

Search Engine Optimization Tips

Getting Your Site Optimized

Getting your site optimized is one of the most essential aspects of achieving top search engine rankings. A poorly optimized site will perform poorly in the search engines, while a properly optimized site can achieve many top positions for your keywords.

Most web site designers know very little about proper search engine optimization, and when it comes to preparing your site for top search engine listings, they do just that: very little. There once was a time that the only thing you had to do to properly optimize your site was put your keywords in a couple of meta tags and you were set. Today, meta tags hold little or no weight in how the search engines determine how a site should be ranked. Does this mean you shouldn’t use these tags? No, but proper search engine optimization does not end there, by any means.

To get the most out of your site, you want to be sure that every page is properly optimized, rather than just the home page. By optimizing each page on your site you are creating not just one entryway into your site, but many entryways. Sure, you want most people to come through your front door (home page) and a majority probably will, but if somebody doesn’t find the front door, wouldn’t you want them to still come in and shop, even if through a side entrance? The goal here is to sell and you can’t sell unless you can get them in the door, and it shouldn’t matter which door that is. By optimizing each page on your site each page can act as its own doorway into your site. You have not just one entrance but 5 or 10 or 20 entrances into your site.

If you do the research, you can find quite a few tips on how to optimize your site. Of course, anywhere you go the information will vary slightly on what is right or wrong. This is because search engines don’t advertise their ranking criteria so everything you can find about it is best guesses, and from experience. What works for one person on one site may not work for the other on a different site, so take any information you receive with a grain of salt. Try different methods and see what works and what does not. You also have the option of hiring a search engine optimization professional to do the job for you.

With that said, here are some tips and recommendations that we have found that work. This is by no means an inclusive list nor does it guarantee top listings, however these are our general recommendations that seem to work well in conjunction with our promotion packages.

Search Engine Optimization Tips

Because every search engine is different, it would be impossible to optimize your site for every search engine. However because they each have some common aspects we will offer some general guidelines that may help you in the process.

Do’s:

  • Use relevant keywords in the name of each page. For example if your keyword is ‘boots’ a good page name for the typical ‘about us’ page would be www.yourdoman.com/about_boots.html, or something similar.
  • Keep all top-level pages in the root directory and out of sub-folders. Pages that are located in the root-directory level are known to achieve better rankings than pages located in sub-directories.
  • Use plenty of keyword rich text. Sites and pages with very little text stand little chance of receiving top placement among the search engines. Every page on your site should contain at least a couple of paragraphs of text. We recommend pages contain 300-800 words of descriptive text. You will also want to load your text with as many keywords as possible while still making sure the content makes sense to the reader. If the search engines do not find your important keywords on the page it is unlikely you will get top rankings with that term. An important note: The home page is the page most likely to achieve top placement. This page, more than any other, needs keyword rich text.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t use frames. Sites that have pages enclosed in frames, while being extremely convenient, pose several problems for search engine placement. 1) Many major search engines cannot follow the frames tag within the code, therefore not allowing any pages enclosed in frames to be found naturally by the search engine spider. 2) If a page meant to be enclosed in frames does get found by the viewer, there is generally no company name, contact info, or proper navigation structure for the viewer to get into the site proper. Because of this and other reasons, we don’t recommend the use of frames.
  • Avoid dynamically driven pages that use stop characters. Pages that are created through a database or Cold Fusion have a very difficult time being indexed with the search engines. Any database or Cold Fusion generated pages that contain a ‘?’ or ‘&’ in the URL will not get listed with most of the top search engines. There are ways to remove these from the URL, and if money and time permits, we recommend you do so.
  • Don’t over use script coding. We recommend moving all excess JavaScript coding and cascading style sheets into a separate ‘.js’ or ‘.css’ file. While java script coding should not get in the way of search engine placement, an excess of script coding can hurt page performance. Overall, the less coding and the more text a search engine finds, the better your chances of receiving top search placement.

Meta Tags:

  • Title: It is important to utilize some keywords in your title tags. You may wish to rewrite your tags based on the specific examples provided below. You should also be sure to have only ONE title tag per page. It is not recommended to use a single keyword more than once in each title tag. Title tags should be 6 to 15 words in length.
  • Keyword Tag: We recommend that you do not repeat any word in the keyword tag. The keyword tag has lost relevance with many of the major search engines, and in some cases is ignored all together. Multiple repetitions of the same word will only over-use your keyword in a place of little relevance. We also recommend that you DO NOT use words in the keyword tag that do not have specific relevance for that page. Utilize your best keywords near the front of the tag, leaving less relevant words toward the end. Keyword tags should be under 40 words, though a tag with more words will most likely not affect page ranking.
  • Description Tag: Be sure to utilize different keywords in each description tag. With some search engines the description tag is utilized only for the page description in their search results. A compelling description is key to getting someone to click onto your site. Your best keywords should be used as close to the beginning of the tag as possible. Description tags should be no longer than 20 words in length, however a tag with more words will most likely not affect page ranking.

The above information can be useful as a starting point to getting your site properly optimized. Implementing even just a few of these may help increase your site’s rankings. One thing to keep in mind, however is because the search engines continually change their ranking algorithms, the recommendations above can quite possibly become null and void with time.

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

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