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Article How To Gain Good Rankings
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So what is the SEO secret? There is no secret. It is all about making things easy for the search engines' robots when they come crawling around your site.
The search engines don't operate for the benefit of webmasters. Their main function is to provide good information to the public at large. This means that any website you submit to them must satisfy their 'good content' criteria. Therefore, to achieve a high ranking, it is imperative that your website has better, more illuminating content than your competitors. Never forget this expression Content Is King
How To Gain Good Rankings Let's Talk First Principles
One -- The Important Things
Search engine robots are pretty rigid in their approach to sites. The robot crawls your website from top to bottom. Given this, it is important that the first stick of body copy it comes across (the stuff your readers also see) contains copy which is relevant to, and reflects:
(a) the Url of the web page
(b) the Title of the web page
(c) the Meta Description tag of the web page
To put it simply, the first few lines of copy will often be grabbed by the search engine bots and used as a description of your site in their listing and the basis for their indexing criteria. So, if this copy does not reflect the 3 points above, then it will be banished to page 97.
Two -- A Few Words About Keywords
Some webmasters are obsessed by keywords. They drive themselves nuts attempting to coin exactly the right set of words with which to describe their website. This approach is essentially flawed. It's not keywords you want, but key phrases.
Allow me to explain. Let's say that you are in the market for a good book on copywriting. You open Google search and you type in....what? Copywriting? Not really, because that will result in approximately 1.5 million entries from copywriters looking for work. Thus, the obvious thing is to type the phrase "Books on Copywriting", which will cut the list to about half. But this list will largely be relevant to what you are looking for.
Research shows that people generally use phrases in their search requests - they rarely employ a single word. It makes sense, then, to populate your content with phrases you feel people will employ in their search for the products or services you are offering on your website.
And the easiest way to figure out what key phrases are optimal for your website, is to ask yourself what phrases would your customers use to find you, your products or services, then inject them into your tags, urls, and content.
One other point worth mentioning about keywords and keyword phrases, is that some search engines - Google, for instance - no longer takes into account the Meta Keyword tag! On the other hand, some others do. So it is generally better to incorporate it into your website but don't stuff it. It is good practice to use the content in the keyword tag as a guide. And it is also good practice to limit the number of keywords for each web page to 2 or 3.
Three -- The Url
I bet you didn't know that you could get to your home page by using 4 different urls. Type "http://wwww.yourdomain.com" or "http://wwww.yourdomain.com/index.html" or "http://yourdomain.com" or "http://yourdomain.com/index.html". This essentially means that you are serving up the same page on 4 different urls. Which also means that you are splitting your page rank. And also means that you have duplicate content. This can be fixed by assigning the url as the "canonical" url. You'll need to ask your web developer how to fix that, I won't get into that here. But I will tell you that by doing so you tell search engines that the url in question is the official version.
Now let us get back to nameing urls. Your website will and should contain an "about us" page. The subject and content of the page should be about your company or website right? But what should we name the url. Do we use "aboutus.html" or "about-us.html" or "about_us.html" or "about.html"? Well none really. Why not use about-your-company-name.html? It would appear that it is rather defined so is that not good? And the page will be about your company, right? So I assume it would be perfect. Now the only question to ask is, should you "dash or underscore it" or put it all in one word?
Personally I like things that look clean and clear so I would dash or underscore it. Between the two I don't think there is that much difference. What do search engines like? Well read the first line of this article "making things easy for the search engines".
Four -- The Title Tag
The "title tag" of your web page is the phrase you choose to name that page. Title tags must be unique for each page on the website. The general rule in framing your title tag is - tell me what this page is about. Essentially, you should try to incorporate a major keyword phrases into the "title tag".
The title tag should not exceed 55 to 62 characters with spaces. Anything over that will not be visable anyways, so why waste the words. For best results, it helps to match the title tag with the name of the url then add a keyword phrase to it. Let's look at an example. Page url "about-position-front-page.html" Title "About Position Front Page An Internet Marketing Company". Wow that's perfect and only 55 characters long. You know instantly what the page is going to be about.
Five -- The Meta Description Tag
First a few rules. Don't ALL CAPS the content. Limit the number of characters including spaces to no more than 150. Don't leave it blank or not include it in your code. Make sure it summerizes the content of your web page. And finally don't be afraid to use your keyword phrases.
As mentioned earlier, the crawler will grab the first content it comes across and then use it as a basis to describe your site. That's a good enough reason to make the very first paragraph on your website as key-phrase rich as you can. And logically it can also be your meta description tag. Huh, what are you talking about? Yeah I let it out. I just gave you the biggest kept secret. Indeed, the first few sentances of the first paragraph should summarize all the material on the web page. Therefore it makes perfect sense that it should also be the content of your meta description tag.
So let us look at our example Page Url "about-position-front-page.com" Title "About Position Front Page An Internet Marketing Company" Meta Description "Position Front Page opened in 2003, is an IT company based in Bangkok Thailand that specializes in internet marketing solutions including SEO services"
If we look carefully at that description you can see our use of 4 primary keyword phrases. "Internet Marketing", "Position Front Page", "Marketing Solutions", and "SEO Services". Now look at long-tail keyword phrase possibilities. "Internet Marketing Solutions", "Internet Marketing Services", "SEO Services in Bangkok", "SEO Services in Thailand". Just look for yourself and see how many more possibilities there are.
What we essentially did is mentioned the company name, then summarized what we offer, and included the location factor. Total 151 characters. Result perfect description which will also become the first two lines of our visiable content.
Six -- Content Structure
Do you recall what it was like to write a paper in school. Title, summary, headers, body, footer, subnotes. A web page is exactly the same thing. Remember please that the web was written by math scientists. They need structure. Crystal clear definitions. So shouldn't your web page be structured the same way?
The first thing you should put in the body of your content is an H1 Tag. Fittingly its contents should be that of your Title Tag. Oh oh I just revealed another secret. Ah hell, I'll give you another secret now, use only one H1 tag per web page.
The first paragrapgh's first two sentances should contain the content of your Description Tag. Then write away. Write compelling and interseting content.
Structure your content. Make proper use of Bold Text. Use Italics or "quotation marks" to draw attention.
• Use bullet points -- to highlight features.
Use the H2 and H3 header tags to support your H1 header tag. Use keywords in these tags. There is no limit to how many you should use but don't go crazy. One of each is usually enough.
All right, finally your content has to be read by your visitors, so it has to make sense. Writing content so that it is acceptable to both robots and humans is an art in itself. But perseverance can pay large dividends insofar as search engine placement is concerned.
The question we get asked the most about concerning content is How much content is enough content, specificlly how many words per web page?
The answer is a little complicated. As far as the user is concerned as little as possible. Just make your point. Use graphics, and images. As far as search engines go, you can't have enough. 450-1000 words is a good start. But remember this its not neccessarily the quantity of content, but it is more about the structure and the quality of the structured content.
Submitting Your Website
Now a quick word or two about how often you should submit your website to the search engines. Some authorities believe that if you submit it too often, your efforts may be seen as spam by the search engines and you'll be banned. On the other hand, it seems to be the consensus that you should submit it every time you make changes to its web pages or you add pages. The search engines seem to like changes and they react accordingly by shoving you farther to the front of the listings. The more you do, the better they like it.
Given Away Enough
And that's that. If this has been useful, and I know there are things here that my competitors are going to hate me for revealing, but I don't really care, perhaps you'll let me know by rating this article. Please use the form below.
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Artemis Glikakis is the Managing Director of Position Front Page International Co., Ltd..
His expertise in this field of Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization, has lead him to write many articles on the subject and he is always in the forefront when large clients come along.
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