Debbie Mayo-Smith international inspirational motivational how-to speaker technology, time management, improving business performance
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10 Expert Tips To Improve Your Search Engine Ranking

10 Expert Tips To Improve Your Search Engine Ranking

Just a page in a book
Ask me "what is a website" in terms of marketing that is. I'd reply "nothing more than a page in a book, sitting on the shelf of the central library". Websites need to be found. Most often that occurs through a search engine query (or emails forwarded). Once found, don't expect people to come back to your website again - even if you think you have the most valuable content on it (see Case Study). We're all tooooooo busy nowadays. Instead a mechanism must be put in place to reach out, grab those people and bring them back time and time again. And let's not forget that when you do get people to your site, it's imperative to give them what they want and make it easy, or you'll lose them within a blink of an eye - or should I say "click"?

Getting Them
Don't let the marketing team spend a fortune on advertising or banner placements to get eyes to the site to generate leads. Instead, help them to get those eyes with great search engine ranking by assisting with the technical requirements for placement and guiding on the how they should write the content with search engines in mind.

Also by thinking outside the square, there is a world of opportunity by forming smart strategic marketing alliances and finding good online homes for some of your companies original content.

The Travesty
From the largest corporation to the self employed, website design briefs are always slanted towards eye appeal for the viewer, information about the company and accommodating a big database back end easily. And let's face it, webdesign tools are so easy to use, many designers show their expertise graphically, rather than guiding clients through marketing and search engine strategies. In fact the ultimate travesty is that most are designed without search engines in mind. I just walked out of a client meeting this week leaving a very shocked management team behind. They had just forked out big dollars to redesign their site. After I pointed out the problems I saw (based on the 8 tips below), I said "Just go to Google, type in your most important keyword and see if you come up in the first few pages". They didn't. "But Debbie, we assumed they would know and guide us right" was their response. You can't assume. Search engine ranking is an ever changing discipline and most webdesigners wouldn't have a clue.
So let me give you 10 world class tips to immediately make a difference to your ranking results.

1. Google is king.
It now even powers Yahoo - so it's got 80% of the search engine market cornered. concentrate on getting a good Google ranking, and you'll do well.

2. Incoming Links
Links into your website is of top importance. But from relevant sites in relation to your keywords.

3. Text. Text. Text. Not graphics
Are your navigational links graphics? Are many text items graphically produced instead of using ordinary fonts? Does the actual text start low down on the page? Search engines work on text. Not graphics. Let me say this again. Search engines read through text. NOT GRAPHICS. That's how they rank your site - how your text fit's in with the keyword search being conducted. When I was in New York presenting at Internet World this year, I used the example of the Merrill Lynch website. The entire home page is a series of graphics, and the words Merrill Lynch never appear on the home page. NOT ONCE! Even the web address is www.ml.com
But search engines can't read pictures, can they? They can only scan text!

Top Tip - get rid of unnecessary graphics, instead use keyword rich text. Give every image an alternate text source rich in keywords.
Example for CIO magazine Don't have an image name as ciologo.gif, instead have technology magazine.gif

4. Each page unique in keywords
Have the copywriters write each page with keywords that are unique to the subject covered. So if you have a section of the site covering 5 different product groups - then not only would you have five different pages, each devoted to it's own group of products - and only talking about that group - you'd also want lower level pages each uniquely covering only one specific product within that group. The rationale is that each page will have a higher search engine ranking because of it's keyword density and also you'll multiply the chances of the website being found -and of course when someone comes in to any page of your site - they can get to the rest (right?)

5. The title is the most important part of the page.
You know the title - it's the text in blue at the very top of a webpage.
Give it keywords and don't have your company name first. Don't have "contact " if it's the contact page. Instead use keywords and the company name at the end. The first word is most important to Google. The second word is second most important. Etc. Remember people type in problems, questions, not company names.

6. Heading 1&2
These are style "tags" given to text, designating it as headings, thus important. So a great tip is to have lots of headings and sub headings in the text, breaking up paragraphs. With what? Yup - keywords. In my Successful Internet Strategies website, I have lots of text heading and subheadings that is given Heading 1 designation but the font size kept at 12 point.

7. Meta tags - forgettabouthem
They're old news. No one except Altavista uses the metatags at the top of the webpage coding anymore.

8. Home page is the most important page of a site
Google considers your homepage the most important so give it incredible attention. Don't have a lot of graphics high on the page. Use H1 and H2 designations as mentioned above.

9. Site Maps
Have one again rich in key words as it helps pump up your ranking.

10. BONUS: Cardinal Sins
Dynamic pages w/ "?" or "&" or "cgi-bin" in the URL
Flash navigation

I don't want to make your marketing team cry but guess what? Framed sites, dynamic pages with all the "?" or "&" in the url and flash navigation leave google so cold it won't go near them with a ten foot pole.

Let me explain. Dynamic pages with the "?" or "&" makes Google get sucked up in an endless loop so it doesn't go near them.

Flash is graphics - there's no text behind it so what on earth can it rank? And framed results fall apart. So if it does get in the search results either the navigational link portion will come up or just the content side without the links. There is a way that the webdesign team can write the coding so that dynamic pages don't have the "?" or "&" in the url. Remember I'm 98% marketing, 2% technical - so I can't exactly tell you how it's done, but it can be.

Debbie Mayo-Smith (BSc Hons Econ) is an International Motivational Business Speaker and Managing Director of SuccessIS! (http://www.successis.co.nz) and a leading specialist in easy practical ways to improve business profitability, personal productivity and Internet marketing. Debbie lives in NZ and travels the world speaking, writing and training. By the way, if you'd like to get lots of neat tricks like this, plus marketing and business development tips, why not enrol for our free newsletter?

This article is copyright to Debbie Mayo-Smith & SuccessIS. You may use it for your newsletter, website or as an article. It can be reproduced - but in its entirety and with inclusion of Debbie Mayo-Smith as the author and the weblink www.successis.co.nz


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