Webmaster Secrets for Top 10 Search Results in Google, Yahoo and MSN.

Mar 19 15:14 2005 Mark Senden Print This Article

In the following article a very simple 3 step process will reveal just how
simple search engine optimisation can be once you know how. There are multitudes of websites that will theorise you to death about engine algorithms, page rank formulas, key-word density or what have you. This article will not dwell any of that mumbo-jumbo. Lets leave the academics to do what they do best and argue till the cows come home. In the meantime we can work towards getting your website returning in the top 10 results at Google, MSN and Yahoo.

There are only three simple steps of the SEO equation to remember:

1. Choose to target search terms that are not hotly contested by competitors.2. Optimise your page content and html for those terms.3. Actively seek external,Guest Posting one-way, incoming links with those terms as theanchor text.

Let's take a look at those 3 steps in greater detail.

Choose to target search terms that are not hotly contested by competitors.

Why? Ask yourself this question; would you rather spin the roulette wheeland take your chances against high-rolling competitors who throw tonnes ofcash into professional SEO and advertising campaigns or get qualified traffichitting your site now? Websites targeting the most popular search terms aresmall fish in a big pond. By targeting less popular terms with fewer possiblesearch results, your a bigger fish in a smaller pond.

Lets take an extreme example. Your a commercial web host and want your homepage optimised for search engines. With Google, the terms 'web hosting' returns 23 million results. That's a lot of competitors; small fish in a big pond remember. How about 'commercial website hosting'? Well you have about 9 million other pages to compete with there. The term 'webhosting specials' only returns 1.2 million results. So how many other pages do you want to compete against, 23 million or 1.2 mil?

There are a few convenient tools around for selecting your search terms. To find how many search results competitors exist for related terms, check out Google keyword suggest http://www.google.com/webhp?hl=en&complete=1. Once you've narrowed down a list of candidates, head on over to the Overture's site https://signup.overture.com/s/dtc/signup/?mkt=us and start up a dummy account. The key-word suggest tool is invaluable for gaining an insight to what people punch into search engines and how many hits these terms are scoring at Overture. Your looking for a sweet spot of say 5-10% of the possible number of results that your industry's hottest terms return.

Optimise your page content and html for your new terms.

The most logical page to Optimise first time round is your homepage. There are factors that play into SEO which are heavily dependant on how many external websites link to your page. The most common link you are going to score from other sites is the default homepage, so it follows that this is the best place to start.

The most critical part of your web page is behind the scenes in the html. Particularly important is the header and it's relationship to the rest of your html. Your website should include 3 important tags in the head. They include title, meta description, and meta key-words. It's important to have the title as the first tag in the head, with the 2 mentioned metas soon following. Stuffing your head tags with other metas and clutter such as lengthy javascript can only harm your search engine results page ranking (SERPs); this practice will never improve it.

So lets take a look at our web hosting site example. The beginning html for the index page should be something along these lines;

<html><head><title>Webhosting Specials</title><meta name="keywords" content="webhosting specials, webhosting,specials, web, hosting" /><meta name="description" content="ACME Webhosting offers competitivewebhosting specials" /><style type="text/css" media="screen">@import "your_css.css";</style><!--keep your css external --><link rel="shortcut icon" href="favicon.ico" type="image/x-icon" /><!--get a funky bookmark icon in there --><script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript" src="externalJavascript.js"></script><!--getany javascript external to head tags --></head>

Now the header tags have set the stage for the rest of the page. The idea is to make the rest of the html and content appear with 'Website specials' as the most prominent topic. Search engines see tags such as <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <strong>, <em>, <u> and <a href> as prominent indicators of topic relevancy. You want to make sure that 'website specials' appears in a h1 or h2 tag as close to the beginning of your content tag as possible:

<content><h1>Website Specials</h1><!-- this may be the web page title -->..snip..<h2>ACME Webhosting offers competitive webhosting specials</h2>

Whatever copy or text content you have on the page, you want 'website specials' to appear in bold and italic or underlined (just once will do). Don't go overboard in repeating the terms throughout your text content over and over. Don't hide the terms by giving them a font colour the same as the background. Just sprinkle the term sparingly throughout the copy so that it remains easily read. Remember you still have to sell product too, and no one likes to read spam; say a ballpark of once per 100 words of content. For the first 3 images that appear in the html from the top of the page, you want the key terms to appear in their 'alt' attributes.

..blah...<strong>Webhosting Specials</strong>. <u>WebhostingSpecials</u> ..blah..<img src=mainlogo.jpg alt="Webhosting Specials Logo" />

Look at the links on your page. "Website Specials" should appear as link text 3-6 times. Those links can also do with an additional 'title' attribute with the terms mentioned too.

<a title="Website Specials of the Month" href=website_specials.htm>WebsiteSpecials</a>

You also want the terms to be mentioned as close to the end of the page as possible. One idea is to have a footer with a link to an about-us page.

<a title="About ACME Website Specials" href=about_acme_website_specials.htm>About ACME Website Specials</a>

Now for a list of "Don't's";

Don't bother optimising a page that redirects.Don't use robots.txt or meta tags to impede search engine access to optimisedpages.Don't use same colour text and background.Don't spam keywords with immediate repeats.Don't force any text to appear at 4px or under.Don't use frames, if you HAVE to, your serps are going to hurt in some engines.Don't fill your pages up with internal scripts. Where possible, use links to external scripts.

Actively seek external, one-way, incoming links with those terms as the anchortext.

Don't trust automatic linking software. It's far, far too easy to get listed in link-farms and dodgy directories when using automatic submission software. You want to ensure that you have a certain level of control over who and how your site gets linked. The most valuable links you can get are from highly (Google PR) ranked sites that are related to your optimised page content. If you haven't submitted your site to http://dmoz.org, then do it now.

Each time you submit a form or email for a link, keep a record. Part of a good SEO campaign is link management and you'll be glad you have records of all applications sent out. When at all possible, when asked for a "Title" of your site, give your search term, e.g. "Website Specials". The title in most cases is the anchor text for the link. Remember, external links with your key terms in the anchor text are the most valuable.

When searching for link candidates, it's wise to have a google toolbar installed on your browser. If there's one available for your browser, install it. If your worried about your privacy from Google's IE toolbar, install Firefox and get the google toolbar extension installed. Your main objective is to get a link on as many pages that have a Google PR of 4+. Totally avoid unranked pages and steer well clear of pages that register as a gray bar in IE's Google toolbar. This is an indicator of a site being "black-listed" for exploiting search engines.

Directories, directories and more directories. This is a good place to start. Many directories will give you a free link without the need to reciprocate. Do a google search for directory + [insert your industry name]. Here's a list of some high ranking directories: http://www.bestcatalog.net/seo_tips/directories.htm. Start at the top and work your way down.

Free Classifieds! Search for sites that allow you to post free or cheap classifieds with basic html enabled. Get your key terms in the classified ad as the anchor text in the link to your optimised web page

Discussion Forums! Start hunting for discussion forums with high ranking Google PR's. The forums must allow for links in your account signature. When making the sig, be sure your key terms are the anchor text for the link/s to your site. Once your registered, start posting your little heart out and be sure to enable your signature to be attached to your post. Each post = 1 external link. Join a dozen or so forums and those links will start piling up.

Press Releases! Do you think you have something newsworthy to say? Then write up a news story and be sure to include a link (don't forget keywords = anchor text) in the body or by-line. Submit the article to related sites in exchange for prominent links. Submit to all the major web news sites. Each website that publishes the article is another incoming, one-way link with your key terms as the guiding light.

Do backlink searches on your competitors. Back link searches are search criteria which asks for sites linking to a page that do not include the page's domain. For example, at Google a back link search for www.acmehosting.com would be link:www.acmehosting.com -site:acmehosting.com. Duplicate your competitors efforts and get your site linked where ever they've managed to.

On a finishing note, one important thing to realise about Google SERPs is the "Sandbox" effect. It's theorised that Google filters new domain names out of all searches except for their own domain name for a period of 6-9 months depending on the popularity of the site's targeted key-words. Google PR rank and SERPs are inter-related but are not the same thing. Your site can enjoy a Google PR of 7 yet still be sandboxed and appear nowhere in the results for your targeted key terms. The only thing you can do is work on your external linkage and Optimise more pages of your site. The hard work will pay off on steady incoming traffic and high ranks at MSN and Yahoo etc. When Google finally releases your domain, then you'll enjoy similar SERPs and reliable, incoming traffic.

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About Article Author

Mark Senden
Mark Senden

Mark Senden is an Australian professional within the commercial art and display service industry. His services are sub-contracted to media studios in Australia, UK and USA. Brisbane Web Site Design and Promotion at v2Media.

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