Even if you’re clueless when it comes to Internet marketing, you probably already know about search engine rankings and the importance of being near the top of the list when people search for key words related to your product or service. Although there are other ways to get attention and drive customers to your website, rankings are still an important part of the online marketing puzzle. The rules often change, and it can be difficult to keep up with the crowd, but if you follow a few tried-and-true tricks of the trade you will be more than likely to meet with success.
So what is the best way to optimize your site without getting into trouble with the search engines? Set up to constantly work against spammers and provide search results that users can trust, Google and Yahoo! work with search algorithms in order to come up with relevant search results. They change these algorithms on a continual basis to stay one step ahead of those looking to exploit the methods employed by search engines and reach the top of the list unfairly. But there are legitimate ways to optimize your site without landing in hot water with Yahoo! and Google.
One method of achieving a good rank in the major search engines is to optimize your site’s content using keywords, although this technique is losing ground in favor of newer ranking systems. Including particular keywords in your site’s content makes it easier for the search engines to find you on the web. You must also keep up with relevant keywords over time and continue to optimize accordingly. Keep in mind it’s best to focus on Yahoo! and Google search engines because they are the top 2 in the search engine world and will drive the most traffic to your website.
Keywords can help improve your rankings, but you have to be careful when using them. Only use keywords that are relevant to your site’s theme because inserted keywords that are unconnected to your site are a cause for penalty. One great place for a keyword is in your domain name. Just be sure that the keyword shows up in the root of the URL, rather than the stem, as some search engines do not take kindly to sites that include keywords in a URL’s stem.
Also add keywords to any content you have on the site. Other places to put keywords include: title tags in your source code; in the meta description of your site; and in your meta keyword tags.
But now the best way to become popular in Google and Yahoo’s books is by proving your popularity in the online world. The way the search engines determine a site’s popularity is by analyzing how many other sites link to it. So let’s say you run a website selling cookie cutters. You will rank high in the search engines if a lot of other quality websites, related to your business in some way, contain a link back to your site. For instance, you might ask the person running a site selling cookie dough or baking accessories to place a link to your site on one of their pages. Getting your link on a site offering cookie recipes, baking tips and other cooking information might be a good idea as well. In turn, offer to list their websites, and you just might start showing up higher in the rankings.
Of course, the pure number of links you have is not the only test of popularity. In fact, the major search engines mostly look for quality links. If you have a bunch of links to irrelevant websites, you won’t really turn up in the search engines. But if your links show up on high-traffic, quality websites relevant to your own site’s theme, the search engines are going to pay more attention to you as a trusted site.
Another effective way to rise in the search engine rankings is by including high-quality content on your site, such as articles. Good information related to the theme of your website will ensure that real people find your site useful and want to link to it. Sprinkling keywords throughout the text naturally is also a good way to make use of the content on your site as a way to attract search engines.
Next, submit your site to online directories, such as Yahoo! and the Open Directory Project. Search engines also scour these directories so being listed in as many places as possible can’t hurt.
You can also create several sites all related to your overall theme or product as a way to boost rankings. This establishes a community of sites that is easier for the search engines to sniff out. Then use your group of sites to link to one another, thus making all your product sites more popular in the eyes of the search engines.
If you work hard to establish your site and avoid the pitfalls that can get you kicked out of the search engines, your site will climb the search engine ladder before you know it.