Search Engine Optimization
How do you make your web site gain rank in search engine listings? Search Engine
Optimization (SEO) is the word you’re looking for. Search engine’s don’t see pages the
same way we doe, there’s no color, no flash, no pizzaz that makes them go “this is a
professional page” – you have to make it know what the page is about, and SEO makes
sure the search engine sees your page the same way you do. Here are some rules I’ve
gathered along the way, and for the record I am mainly referring to Google for all of my
SEO tricks since it is the most prominent search engine out there. Search engines like
Yahoo, AOL Search and Alexa use Google’s index.
Your first mission: Pick keywords for your site. Key words are phrases or words you
would like your web site to correlate to. For example: search engine optimization. Make
sure your keywords are relevant to the content of the site and when you’re writing your
content try to use these keywords as much as possible without obvious repetition.
Remember that keywords are the most important factor of search engine listings, and
search engines are where 80% of new traffic comes from.
Now let’s get into the different factors that affect your rank in a search engine for your
Domain – Believe it or not your domain name has a large amount to do with your
ranking in Google. A domain name such as http://www.search-engine-optimization.com
will rank MUCH higher than a domain such as
http://www.mycrappyurl.com/stuff/misc.html for keywords like search engine
Title – I cannot stress how important your <title> tag in your web page is. It is probably
the #1 factor in search engine rankings. Put keywords in your title! There are two
portions to this: keyword density and keyword occurrence. A title of My Search Engine
Optimization Page has a density of 60% and 1 occurrence of search engine optimization.
Keep this in mind when titling your web pages. Don’t settle for a non-informative title.
Preformatted Tags – These tags are the <h1>, <h2>, <h3>… tags that are used to help
structure an HTML document. For example, if you have a section of your website titled
“Googlebot” and use the source:
It will be given less weight than a section of your web page using the source:
If you don’t like how the format of <h1> looks, then that’s no problem. Just use CSS to
change the looks of the preformatted tags to your liking. To learn more about CSS in
web pages visit http://www.w3schools.com.
Links – Google looks at all of the links in your web page as content. Make sure the
pages you’re linking to correlate to the text linked and your keywords. Avoid words like
“click here” and try to use the format like so:
Bolded Words – As in print, bolded words stick out more – and googlebot recovnizes
this and gives more weight to bolded words.
Alt Tags – Use alt tags in your images! This is a major flaw overlooked by many
webmasters today. Not only is it a W3C Standard for HTML 4.0 Transitional and
XHTML 1.0 Strict/Transitional, accessibility MUST, but Google also uses this text. Use
something like this:
<img src=”google-rank.gif” alt=”A bar graph
describing the relationship between page rank
and use of SEO”>
Use well-formed sentences that correlate to the graphic.
Content – This is a no-brainer – if your web page is about the keywords you’re aiming
for and repeats them throughout the document, you’ll get higher listings. But be warned!
Flooding or “spamming” keywords will get you BLACKLISTED. Meaning no rank in
Google at all. Be proper with your content and make sure it pertains too the keywords.
Also remember that any “hidden” content or low-contrast content will not be spidered by
Google and puts you at risk of blacklisting.
First 25 Words – This is a subject of great confusion to webmasters because of the avid
use of tables in laying out designs. Many people do not realize what the real first 25
words of your site are. Check out this tool to see how Google “sees” your webpage. The
first 25 words are given more weight than the rest of the page. Try to add an overview of
each page at the top that end up being the first 25 words.
Backlinks – Type into the Google search box “link:www.yourdomain.com” this will
show you the pages that link to your site that google counts. The amount of these links
add to your page rank. Also remember the page that is linking to you depends on how
much weight the backlink is given. If the page has a high page rank or has content
pertinent to your key words, it is given more weight. Here’s a good quote about what
page rank is:
PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link
structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a
link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more
than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that
casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily
and help to make other pages “important.” – Google
DMOZ Listing (www.dmoz.org) – This is a great way to not only get backlinks but good
traffic. It’s a human edited directory (that is also Google’s directory – they are one in the
same). This will give your page a great bump in ranking AND give you a Category and
Description line to the bottom of your page when it is listed in Google! Beware, in
flooded categories it can take several months to get listed – be patient and pick your
category wisely. Also don’t’ be afraid to use the DMOZ Forums to find out how to
submit, where to submit, and what happens after you submit.
Google uses over 100 different methods to weigh your web page, but I’ve outlined most
of the major ones. What’s this, you don’t see meta tags in my post? That’s right –
Google completely ignores meta tags (except for robots). In my honest opinion, they’re
not worth the wasted effort. For the few search engines that use meta tags, they don’t’
bring in much addition traffic.