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Getting Better Search Engine Rankings By Focusing On the Basics

Need more visitors to your website through natural search engine rankings? Have you covered the basics of optimization and are you following through with your plan? Getting high rankings on the major search engines for competitive keywords takes knowledge, skill and patience. To do your best, focus on these basics, and build a user-friendly site with lots of quality information...

Need more visitors to your website through natural search engine rankings? Have you covered the basics of optimization and are you following through with your plan? Getting high rankings on the major search engines for competitive keywords takes knowledge, skill and patience. There's SO much information out there that it's easy to get overwhelmed by it -- blog after blog explaining 'latent semantic indexing' and other esoteric terms. Great to know, maybe, if you've really built a foundation of quality optimization work, and you're looking for that last 1% to put you over the top, but most of us running an internet business don't have that kind of time -- and even if we did, it's probably not where we'd want to spend it. So get back to basics. Statistical reverse engineering of the search engines has been done, and what's most interesting is they generally follow similar formulas for the weight given to different ranking factors. What's more, you can use this formula to plan your workflow, examine your week spots, and make the most of your time spent on getting high marks in the organic search rankings.Here's three important numbers for your optimization plan: 40, 40, 20. Negligible variations between engines aside (as in 'too small to care about'), these are the ratios of weighting of the major ranking factor categories. Forty percent of a web page's ranking is due to 'on-page' factors -- really, the sum total of the code a search engine spider sees. Another forty percent is from off-page factors, the sum total of the links from other pages that link to that page. The last twenty percent is determined by the page URL or filename -- mostly whether the keywords are in the URL. That's it! That's all you need worry about. Sounds simple, no? Well, while 'simplicity' may be in the eye of the beholder, it's critical to 'keep it simple'. Come up with a plan to optimize all three, and stick with it unless you're absolutely certain you have new and relevant data that is the most effective use of your time to integrate it. Otherwise, search engine optimization can be a giant black hole of your resources. But with focused effort, a solid plan built on the basics will most assuredly result in higher rankings and more visitors to your website.First, on-page factors: Get your keywords in all the right places, with the right density, for each important page on your site. (Don't know about keyword development yet? Use seobook.com's keyword tool, and see what people are typing in to all the major engines. For example, a site owner that sells aromatherapy products might type in 'aromatherapy' or 'essential oils' -- the tool will return all the permutations of those terms. Develop pages following the 40:40:20 formula for each of the terms that you can, focusing on one or two keyword or keyword phrases per page -- more than that is self-defeating, diluting your efforts; make a new page instead.) So what are the right places and right density? Get the keyword in the title tag, the description tag and the keywords tag. DO NOT STUFF these tags, be elegant and think about your reader. Experience has shown minor variations to be insignificant in terms of rankings, and more often than not, it seems folks go overboard with their keywords. As often as you might think, "I'll add it in just one more place on the page", it might be helpful to always consider the possibility that one LESS time might improve your rankings too.Let's look at the latest data for the 'sweet spots' for on-page ranking factors. A 10 to 20% density keyword density for the tile, 10% for both the meta keywords description is optimal. The keyword at or toward the beginning of each of these is optimal, but not necessary. What's this mean? If we use the term 'essential oils' again, an optimal title tag might be 'Pure Essential Oils and Accessories for Natural Health Professionals'. The keyword list would be ten to twenty words, comma separated, with the most important words at the beginning, and ALL words should appear in the body text of the page. The description can be (but doesn't have to) a well written, attention grabbing sentence -- it will likely be displayed in the organic search results, so you'll want it to be both SEO and customer friendly. Again, 20 or so words, keyword near or at the beginning. Keyword can appear twice, but no more than that. Body text: 1000 words or so (+/- a couple hundred), with a 2% keyword density, and the keyword (or words) appearing near the beginning, in the middle, and near the end of the page code (not just the output text). There are tons of density analyzers on the web -- pick one, focus on the body text number and ignore the rest. You'll get a lot of conflicting reports from various sites -- this can be confusing, misleading, and can can make you think you've got to go re-tweak other factors. Don't. You'll spend hours optimizing for that tool, only to find the next tool gives a different answer. Use the numbers here and move on.Briefly, other notable on-page factors are image alt tags, H1-H6 tags, bold and italic text, and the number of outgoing (inter and intra site) links. Here's the scoop: Alt tags matter. Get your keywords in them, but don't overdo it. Don't use H tags, as according to the data, they'll bring your rankings down. Use bold and italics if it suits the design and readability of your site; they may be a positive factor, but not a huge one, and don't stuff your keywords in them. The higher the number of links on a page, the better. One hundred links seems optimal, but don't sweat it. Always keep in mind that usability and aesthetics are crucial too. Having javascript on the page appears to be a positive ranking factor. Finally, page size (all the text, minus the images) is optimal at 50-60k. This number is shown adjacent to the page in search results. A note on on-page code in general, a balance is important -- the search engines don't care what your page looks like from a design standpoint, they only see the code. But your customers do. And while data is not available, it is more than likely the major search portals are noticing how long a visitor stays on the page, recording whether they return to the search results to find another page. Strive to make your site clean, useful and engaging -- this will pay off in more ways than one.Off page factors -- these include links from within your site and 'backlinks' from other websites. You MUST get backlinks to rank well, and it's probably the most challenging of all search engine optimization to do. You'll need to continuously acquire backlinks, or your rankings will stagnate, or even slowly drop. Optimally, you'll get a few links a day, with a steady increase in the total number. The two most often used routes are link exchange (asking for links from other sites, and putting their links on your site in exchange) or article distribution. There's lots of information on the web about exchanging links, read some, develop a plan and stick to it. Once you've got a system in place, you'll likely be able to hire someone to help you. Article distribution is another matter. Articles should really be quality, readable, helpful information for prospective customers. You'll get to post links within the author resource box, which serves both as an enticement for readers to visit your site, a means to give credibility to your internet business, plus search engines will also see these links and use them in their ranking algorithm. An effective linking program will utilize both these link sources. Remember, it's not the total number of links, but a consistently increasing number that has the greatest long-term results. Don't start a scheme that will give you 1000 links in one day, then none for the next month, or links that will slowly disappear -- this can do more harm than good.Some caveats about links -- links from within your own site should be text links with the keyword in the link. So the Aromatherapy site would use 'essential oils' in all the links to their essential oils page. Off-site links should also use keywords in text links, but not always the same words. Mix it up. Here, for example, some of backlink text examples would be 'pure essential oils', 'organic essential oils', 'aromatherapy essential oil', and 'essential oils'. Further, about 30% of your links should just include the webpage address, like 'www.johnnysessentialoils.com' or 'www.bestbathproducts.com/essentialoils.php This helps your backlinks appear naturally created, rather than machine made search engine spider spam. A final note on backlinks, all pages that link to yours are not weighted equally. The older and more relevant the page, the more weight your link will garner. If your site is selling essential oils, links from a natural health website will likely be more beneficial than those from a poker website.With that we'll describe the last 20%: the URL. Web pages with the keywords in the address, be it the homepage or any other page on the site, rank better. If the If you're just starting a site, getting your primary kewords in the url is useful. If not, and it makes sense to do so, use keywords in the filename like www.homepage.com/essentialoilspage1.html. Again, it appears better if the file does not have only the keywords in it, like the title and meta tags. If you already have pages without keywords in the filenames, you could create new ones and create a 301 redirect from the old ones to maintain any ranking status the 'old' pages had. Hyphens are still questionable, and are probably not needed. Short filenames and shallow directory structures appear best.Some last remarks: A page's age means something. If you want to change a filename to include keywords in it, always employ a 301 redirect if the page has been indexed already -- do a little research to get this right. Search engine ranking change constantly, and some engines are quicker to appreciate your optimization efforts than others. Be patient -- it can take months to see results if the site is new, and sometimes weeks otherwise. Don't think you made a mistake just because nothing happened the first time a spider visited your new page. Keep working on your accumulation of backlinks; you probably have lots of pages targeting various keywords you can get links for. More optimal could mean higher quality -- the engines continually get smarter, and may be keeping track of how long visitors linger on your page versus your competitors. This leads us to the final important note -- visitors are only one part of the equation. A well-designed site, product mix and pricingPsychology Articles, and customer service all play key roles in the health of your business.

Article Tags: Search Engine Rankings, Search Engine, Engine Rankings, Search Engines, On-page Factors, Links From, From Other, Essential Oils, Body Text, Search Results

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


The author does optimization work when someone is twisting her arm. Her favorite projects are the makers of therapeutic essential oil blends in Boulder, Colorado: Ananda Aromatherapy. She teases her business partner about her personal website regarding naturopathy, iridology and herbology leading her to think someday she'll optimize her site, too.



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