In order to compete online, you must have a high ranking on the world’s major search engines. While it is possible to drive traffic to your website using advertising, this is traffic doesn’t come cheap. Paid ads can often run as high as a dollar or two per click and that seldom translates into enough sales to be profitable. Improving your search engine ranking is a free way to drive quality, targeted traffic to your site. The art of improving your ranking is called “SEO” or “search engine optimization”. Roughly, the idea is that you can tweak your site so that search engines will rank you higher in their listings. This article will present five legal and honest techniques that will help you boost your ranking in the world’s top search engines.
Identify Relevant and Reachable Keywords
The first place to start when optimizing your site for search engines is to identify the keywords for which you would like your site to be higher in the list. This may sound basic, but often webmasters will just generally want to appear higher in the list without thinking about the specific keywords to target. For certain keywords, it is easier for a site to be the number one result than others. For example, it would be near impossible for a new site to be the first result for “web host” or “Windows”. While these keywords are tempting as they have a lot of traffic, bumping down other established sites is a difficult proposition. By contrast, “web hosting with JSP and PHP” will have less traffic and less content directly relevant to that particular keyword.
Identifying easy and relevant keywords is simple with a bit of practice. There are many keyword suggestion tools available online. You can also do searches for targeted, relevant keywords and look at the content of the results. If you see lots of results that clearly haven’t been written for that exact keyword, then you have a good chance at reaching the top. It is also important that you consider the amount of traffic a keyword gets as well. There are tools online that will give you an estimate of how many times a keyword is searched per month. The secret is locating relatively high traffic keywords that are still reachable. With a bit of practice and perseverance, these are still possible to find.
Your Web Address Matters
Search engines take a holistic look at your web site to determine its worthiness for a keyword. One overlooked aspect is that search engines do take into account the actual domain name, folder name, and title of the page. It is important to consider this when giving a title to your page or deciding in which folder it should be. Suppose you have a review dedicated to the best web hosts, which you’re hoping gets to be the first result for that keyword. You have a better chance of that page climbing the ranks if it has “best web hosts” in the title and that keyword in the URL (such as example.com/best-web-hosts). This is why popular blogging packages like WordPress always include the article title in the URL as well. It helps optimize your site in a way search engines can easily read.
Targeted Content is King
As we have seen, search engine optimization is a set of techniques that combines multiple aspects of your site. The largest influence upon a site’s ranking is the number of times a keyword goes into an article. Therefore, it is important that you have content written that is very relevant to the keywords that you have selected. You cannot get to the top of the renewable energy listings if your article does nothing but talk about guitars. Similarly, search engines are quite adept at finding bogus articles. Ideally if you’re looking to take the number one spot for a keyword, it’s advisable to include that keyword in your article about 4% of the time. Work it in fluently and reasonably. Then make the entire article makes sense around the keyword. If you have a site on renewable energy and would like to target that keyword, then a good article might be on using solar power as a source of renewable energy. This would be a natural, useful article in which the keyword fits in fluently. Major search engines will see this and respond positively to its content.
Get Fast Web Hosting
The faster your site is, the quicker a crawler can load and parse the contents for indexing. For economic reasons, all crawlers have built-in penalties for slow-loading web sites. It is imperative that you take the time to optimize your overall site structure. You should not need many megabytes of CSS styling. Similarly, you should not have your web site hosted on your home internet connection which may have lots of lag. Invest in professional web hosting and take the time to actually trim down your site. A faster site means a higher ranking. If you don’t feel that you can reduce the size of your site, remember that some of the world’s top sites are primarily text.
Don’t Put Relevant Content in Images
Crawlers cannot parse images. This may sound fundamental but it’s important to consider when designing your overall site. Although it may be tempting to put slogans and other relevant information in images on your site, this is generally a bad idea with regards to search engines. If you must put this information in an image, make sure you also include an “alt” attribute as well. Some search engines place less emphasis on an “alt” description, but overall it generally helps to include it. Adding the “alt” attribute also has the added bonus of making it more accessible to disabled people.
In short, there are five techniques that you should consider when doing search engine optimization on your site: identify relevant keywords, structure your site so that those keywords are included in the URL, create targeted content, make sure your site is fast, and finally make sure that you don’t put keywords in images. SEO techniques are surprisingly simple in theory but hard to master. If you’re unsure of where to start, there are many search engine optimization companies that will help guide you through the process. While the upfront cost may seem substantial at first, it’s usually cheap when compared with traditional pay-per-click advertising. Having one of the top 10 spots on a major search engine is the only way to ensure your site has constant, free, and relevant traffic.
Written by Federico Einhorn
By Federico Einhorn, Founder and CEO at FullTraffic. Passionate about Search Engine Marketing and Optimization, regular writer for the FullTraffic Blog. Since 2005, FullTraffic has evolved to become one of the most important Traffic providers worldwide for small to medium sized businesses.