Run a search on any of the 200 major search engines, and the results will come up in similar orders on quite a few of them. How a website owner/operator gets their website to the top of a list is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. Optimizing a website involves many of the same techniques, whether the aim is to optimize for Google adwords, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves or others. There is a list of what not to do as well, and that list is applicable to all engines, as it mostly refers to tricks and hacks unscrupulous designers use to try to trick the engines. These kind of pages generally get removed by automated tools and don’t generally last very long, so they are not recommended to bother with.
Website optimization starts with content. If the content is irrelevant, the website will not last long in the rankings, no matter how many keywords are included. The best way to get relevant content is to get an expert to write the content. General content may be more friendly to beginners, but in the search optimization arena, content is what is going to keep readers coming back and webmasters linking to the page. Many search engines use link counters to rank sites. If enough people like and value the site, they will link to it from their own site as an example of expert help for visitors seeking more detailed information than they can provide, or are willing to provide. Often, general-interest sites will link to expert sites, thereby also driving their own traffic up as the initial portal to those expert sites and improving their own rankings in the optimization listings. The quality of the sites linked is also a major factor in the rankings, as quality sites such as Microsoft and Google are going to be more effective “heavy hitters” than a link to Bob’s House of Website Optimizing.
When the content is being created, keywords are the “anchors” that search engines hook onto, but just filling your content with keywords risks being dismissed as a spam site, as many spammers merely fill a page with keywords, hoping to hook anyone searching for anything. These kind of pages are usually removed quickly, but they exist nonetheless. Specific keywords are the key–instead of Search Engine, use Search Engine Optimization for Google, or combinations of the key words or phrases. Optimization for Search Engines in one area, then Optimizing for higher Search Engine rankings in another increases the chances of an engine ranking your website content a little higher than it may have otherwise.
The guidelines for content also go for Meta tags such as the title. Title is very important, as it is one of the bigger spots for an engine to catch, as well as the hook that draws a surfer in once the rankings have been displayed. A recommended length is 50-80 characters (including spaces), with keywords located near the beginning in case the window is resized on the screen. A good example would be “Search Engine Optimization tips and tricks for Google”, instead of “How to do important SEO for websites.”
Search Engine Optimization–what to avoid: Don’t use huge strings of keywords without relevant content–you may be labeled as a spammer and blacklisted off the engine(s) you’re trying to climb. Stay away from pop-ups, excessive load times (by keeping the page clean and using fast hosting servers), and lots of flash animation, as this takes time to load and also detracts from the readability of the site.
More specific information can be found by typing “Search Engine Optimization” into any major search engine like Google or Yahoo and following the links. Good luck!
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