Follow these easy to implement, free tips to achieve better search engine ranking for your website today.
Search engines can only index pages that they can find.
Check how many pages are indexed by Google by using the site:www.yourdomain.com command in a Google search window.
If few or no pages are indexed then check that the navigation system on your site is accessible by using a ‘search engine spider simulator’ which will crawl your site in the same way as Google, Yahoo! Search engines follow links.
If your website is new and has no links from other websites on the World Wide Web it may never get indexed even if submitted to Google. So always add a few directory links to help search engines index your content.
If your website content is not fully accessible (IE the simulator cannot find all of your pages) then we suggest implementing a text link sitemap which is linked to from your homepage listing all of your pages.
The navigation system of any website is vitally important for SEO. It is used by search engines to assess the importance of content.
For example, a page that is linked to from every page of a site is deemed more important than a page that is linked to only once or twice.
For this reason, ensure that your navigation system is well structured for search engines and usability.
3. Content focus
Search engines are primarily text readers. If your website is built in Flash and has no text then it will be very hard to determine the theme and focus.
It is sensible to put 300 – 350 words of the text of unique copy on every page to help search engines determine what your site is about.
Each page on your website should have a slightly different theme and keyword focus, with the whole site collectively covering all aspects of your business, including core services and products.
When embarking on SEO copywriting, think of terms that buyers will use to search for your wares online and use these terms as ‘seed keywords’ in the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to check search volumes and competition.
For best results, target keywords that get reasonable search volume and have moderate competition – using a small selection of keywords per page in natural, well-written text placing your target keywords at the top, middle, and bottom of the page.
Keyword density no longer forms part of the ranking algorithm of major search engines, so concentrate on well written informative content that has keywords naturally dispersed in it.
Avoid any attempt at ‘keyword stuffing’ or unnatural keyword repetition.
When targeting a large selection of low search volume, low competition keywords build more content pages each providing a slightly different slant on your business, avoiding using the same keyword focus on multiple pages.
4. Page URLs
When adding new pages, choose sensible URLs that are short and descriptive, always relevant to the page content.
If you are a plumber you could have a page on bathroom refitting which could have a page URL ‘bathroom-refitting-service.htm’.
Try to avoid too much hyphenation as this can look ‘spammy’.
If your site has a content management system, check to see how page URL’s are managed and ask your web development company whether session ID’s are used.
This can be a difficulty for search engines to index as can very long URLs, which should if possible be re-written using Apache Mod Rewrite to shorter, search engine friendly URL’s.
5. Broken links
Search engines don’t like badly constructed websites with dead links and 404 pages. Always analyze your website on a regular basis for broken links with a tool like Xenu Link Sleuth.
This free SEO tool will crawl your site and check for any broken links, both internal and external, and even including broken image links.
This will improve your website usability and remove 404 errors which can if present in sufficient quantity, adversely affect website quality.
6. Page titles
Well written, descriptive Meta titles are very important for usability and SEO. Try to keep titles short (80 characters or less is best) and include one or two unique keywords.
No two pages should have the same title and it makes sense to emphasize the keywords you have picked for each page in the title tag.
The title tag of any page can be found towards the top of the HTML code inside the area of code.
Whilst not having significant search engine value, the meta description of any page is often used in the Search Engine Result Panel and as such well-written meta descriptions can lead to improved click through to your site.
We recommend using short, well written, descriptive sentences incorporating some of your target keywords towards the beginning of the meta description as these will be picked up by the engines and highlighted in bold text.
Meta descriptions are not mandatory.
If they are not used, the search engines will take relevant sections of page content to use in the result panels for various searches. But, where implemented each page should have a unique Meta description.
A few years ago, the Meta Keyword tag was used in the ranking process.
Today’s advanced search engines make little use of it, but it still makes sense to list a few unique keywords per page by way of a summary of page keyword focus.
9. The importance of links
A large part of the ranking algorithm of major search engines is the analysis and valuation of links that a particular domain receives from other websites – known as ‘inbound links’ or ‘backlinks’‘.
Search engines use advanced techniques to assess the quantity and quality of links into a particular site from other websites.
Sites with more quality links enjoy better search engine ranking. This is known as ‘link popularity’ and the importance of getting links cannot be over-emphasized.
Without inbound links, your domain is extremely unlikely to achieve search engine prominence.
Try to develop links to your site from high Page Rank web directories, relevant ‘do follow’ forums, social networking sites and if possible from your clients.
Various social networking widgets exist to encourage visitors to your site to add a social bookmark and these can be effective at building up a social media following.
These widgets provide HTML code for easy inclusion into your website template.
Also, consider writing a blog and updating it with rich articles relevant to your business and linking it to your service or product category pages.
Avoid getting sucked into ‘get rich quick’ link schemes such as mass reciprocal linking campaigns and paid links which can result in search engine penalties.
Instead, concentrate on article submission to leading article sites and building up informative, useful resources onto your site to improve readership.
10. Free SEO tools
Understanding how visitors interact with your website is vital to improving conversion.
Google provides valuable free SEO tools to provide traffic and ranking analysis and it makes sense to verify your website for Google Webmaster Tools (by uploading a file to your webserver).
And setting up a Google Analytics account to monitor traffic and keyword performance.
11. XML sitemap submission
Help Google to better index your site by submitting an XML sitemap through Google Webmaster Tools.
The sitemap even allows you to set the importance of various pages, although the navigation structure of your site probably overrides those set in the sitemap.
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Ajay Dalal is a content writer and a copywriter who specializes in writing marketing blog Technology and sales pages. He often writes for Dricki and Digital Junkies and explores new technologies to share his knowledge through writing.