5 Simple Steps to Great Search Engine Rankings
By: Jason A. Martin
Having your website rank well in the major search engines is crucial to a successful Internet business. However, the information on doing so, which abounds on the Internet, can be perceived as complex and contradictive. Many website owners end up overwhelmed by all the data and simply quit and move on to other areas of promotion. By following the handful of steps presented in this article you will be well on your way to solid rankings.
Each webpage is its own unit, which has its own title and theme. A theme is most commonly referred to as keywords or a keyword phrase. The theme should be based on the most dominant data for that webpage. Therefore, if you have a webpage that lists ten types of coffee cups, “coffee cups” would be the likely choice for the theme. However, if the theme is too general then you should work to compact it as there will be far too many results in the search engine to contend with. Perhaps your webpage lists ten types of coffee cups which all have American symbols on them. Two of the various possible themes would then be “American coffee cups” and “patriotic coffee cups”. To determine if a theme might be too broad, search for the theme at a popular search engine and see how many results come up. It is typical to see up to a few million results for any theme. However, one hundred million results would be extremely high and a different theme should be chosen.
Step One: The title of your webpage means a lot.
A website should never have a loose and thoughtless title. The title should be clear, compact, and related directly to the main theme of the webpage. Let us look at three title examples for a webpage that sells different types of red coffee cups.
Bad Title: Welcome to Joe’s!
Better Title: Joe’s red coffee cups.
Best Title: Red coffee cups.
Notice how we trimmed the title down to simply the main theme. In the bad example, the title does nothing to describe the products offered on the webpage and therefore will end up hurting the search engine rankings for this webpage.
Step Two: Use the tag.
On the top of your webpage put the main theme in a tag. This will help establish what the webpage is about and Google will take the data enclosed in the tag more seriously which helps boost the overall theme in its ranking algorithm. This should be at the very top of the webpage if possible and include only the main theme. Using our title example above, you would insert the following on top of the webpage: Red coffee cups
Step Three: Utilize the written word properly.
The main keyword phrase (theme) must be printed on your webpage multiple times. It must appear natural in the flow of writing and not just thrown on the webpage somewhere a few times. After massaging your keyword phrase into the copy, bold one instance, underline one instance, and italicize one instance. Again, basing this example from the one above:
Bold One Instance: My name is Joe and I sell red coffee cups.
Italicize One Instance: Our red coffee cups ship directly to your front door.
Underline One Instance: Order today and receive free shipping on all red coffee cups!
By doing this you will help enforce the theme of the webpage and achieve better search rankings.
Step Four: Establish incoming links.
Before going any further, I recommend you visit google.com and install the Google toolbar. This will allow you to see what is called PR (page rank). Knowing a website’s PR is extremely helpful, and basically mandatory, for this step. It is more important to have links today than ever. To rank high in the search engines, you must have people linking to you. Failure to acquire incoming links results in low or non-existing rankings. Here are some techniques to build up incoming links:
Submit your website to directories. Once listed, directories, such as the ODP (dmoz.org) and business.com, will increase your incoming links. When viewing a directory, check to see if they have PR. The higher the number the better.
Purchase text links. Many websites today sell text links at varied rates. Purchasing a text link can help you gain traffic and will increase your incoming links. Text links must be purchased or placed only on websites that have either the same or related theme as yours. If your website is all about coffee—a link from a website about oil changes is not going to help you much—and could actually harm your website rankings in the future.
Link Research. Find out who is linking to top ranked websites under your keyword phrase (theme) and try to get listed on them. The idea here is to not reinvent the wheel, rather do what already works. To find out who is linking to top websites, visit Google and type the following text in the search box: “link:site.com”—where site.com is the website URL.
Step Five: Work to ensure anchor text from incoming links contains your main theme.
When other websites link to you, try to get them to use the keyword phrase for the webpage they are linking to as the anchor text. This is not always possible and that is ok. You simply want to try and get as many links on target as possible. Not all links need to go to your homepage because having incoming links to a webpage within the website is beneficial also.
It is possible, I believe, to go certifiably insane trying to deal with the all the information out there on search engine positioning. Everyday the game changes as search engines alter the way they rank listings. Can you do more to improve your rankings? Yes, but I have listed the more powerful items. Following the above, especially the link steps, will help you build a solid foundation that will withstand the changes—and keep you out of trouble.
Getting listed in the search engines and some directories takes time. Changes and new listings can take weeks to a few months to appear. The best way to get your website in a search engine is to let the search engine find you. Do not waste your valuable time trying to submit to search engines or paying someone to do so. By gaining incoming links, the search engines will find your website and rank it accordingly.
For more information on marketing and all the aspects of running a business on the Internet, please visit Internet Business Entrepreneur—a website I setup to aid those doing business on the Net.