Ohio SBDC - Free Expert Business Advice

Trying to increase your search engine ranking is not the easiest thing to do if you don't know where to start. The methods used today to increase your search engine rankings may seem like rocket science to you, so you probably have avoided dealing with this issue. I am here to tell you - the time has come to face your website! A high search engine ranking for your website is so essential that if you have the slightest desire to actually succeed in your business, there is no way you can continue to avoid this issue.

At least 85% of people looking for goods and services on the Internet find websites through search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. The idea of optimizing your pages for high search engine rankings is to attract targeted customers to your site who will be more than likely to make a purchase. The higher your page comes up in search engine results, the greater the traffic that is directed to your website. That's what search engine optimization (SEO) is about.

You can immerse yourself in all the technical information available online to figure out how to optimize your web pages to achieve higher rankings. Or you can look at a few simple items on your pages, make some small adjustments, and most likely see improved rankings quite rapidly. The first item you should examine is the title bar on your homepage.

The title bar is the colored bar at the top of the page. Look at the words that appear there when you access your home page. To increase search engine rankings, the words on your homepages' title bar should include the most important keywords or phrases, one of which would include your company name.

Then click on all your links and examine the title bars on the pages you access. Each title bar on every single page of your site should contain the most important keywords and phrases taken from the page itself. However, avoid very long strings of keywords, keeping them to six words or less. Avoid repeating keywords more than once in the title bars, and make sure that identical words are not next to each other.

*TIP* Place your keyword twice within the first 100 characters in your description meta tag

The next item to put under your microscope is your website content. Search engines generally list sites that contain quality content rather than cool looking graphics. The text on your site must contain the most important keywords - the words that potential customers will be typing into search engines to find your site.

Aim to have around 250 words on each page, but if this is not desirable due to your design, aim for at least 100 carefully chosen words. If you want to achieve a high ranking on search engines, this text is essential. However, the search engines must be able to read the text, meaning that the text must be in HTML and not graphic format.

To find out if your text is in HTML format, take your cursor and try to highlight a word or two. If you are able to do this, the text is HTML. If the text will not highlight, it is probably in graphic form. In this case, ask your webmaster to change the text into HTML format in order to increase your search engine rankings.

Next we come to what is called meta tags. I know this sounds like something out of science fiction, but it is really just simple code. Many people believe that the keywords meta tags are the key to high search engine rankings, but in reality, they only have a limited effect. Google doesn't even bother reading them. Still, it's worth adding them in the event that the other 2 search engine (Yahoo & Bing) will use the keywords meta tags in their ranking formula.

To find out if your page is set up with meta tags, you must access the code. To do this, click the "view" button on the browser menu bar, and select "source." This will pull up a window revealing the underlying code that created the page. If there are meta tags, they usually appear near the top of the window. For example, a meta tag would read: meta name="description" content=. If you don't find code that reads like this, ask your webmaster to put them in.

Lastly, we come to the issue of link popularity. This is a factor that is extremely important in terms of search engine rankings. Almost all search engines use link popularity to rank your website. Link popularity is based on the quality of the sites linking to your web pages.

There are many ways to check your backlinks. I use seobook. This is a toolbar that really gives you some great tools to use. It doesn't hurt that it's free. Download your seobook toolbar. If you install the toolbar and discover there aren't many sites linked up to yours, consider launching a link building campaign.

Launching a link building campaign, when done right, takes time, research, and tools. The first thing you want to do is check out your competition. A good free option is Traffic Travis by Mark Ling. I use Traffic Travis all the time and it is great! I really like using the page analysis option. It gives me a score to know if I have the keywords in the right spots. Just having your keyword in your H1 tag can put you above your competition. Get Traffic Travis for free. But upgrade to professional to get all of the features. Mark Ling is running a 7 day trial for $5 right now. You can't beat that trust me!

Download Traffic Travis Now

Understanding your competition is the only way to beat them. Once you know where they are getting backlinks you can get back links from the same place or similiar websites.

Other than the websites your competition uses to get backlinks you can get your own backlinks elsewhere too.

***TIP*** If your site is brand new or not ranking well use web 2.0 websites to boost your search engine rankings. Use squidoo, hubpages, ning, blogger, etc. etc. These sites all have a high pagerank and thousands of pages. Putting your content on these will help get you ranked faster and higher first. Look at the picture below. I got to the top of Google in under 2 weeks for Keyword: "Article Marketing Strategy"


Here are other great places to get backlinks.

1. Article Directories

2. Forums (search google to find forums for your niche. Type your niche + forum )

3. Comment Luv Blogs - JR has a great list of do-follow blogs different niches that you can comment on (including this one)

4. RSS Feed Directories

5. Classified Ads

6. Web 2.0 Websites

7. Video Hosting Site

8. Blog & RSS Directories

Happy Rankings!

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