Tips for organically increasing your web site ranking:
First and foremost your website needs to meet the needs of your customers and target markets. Does it solve their problems? Your website needs to be highly accessible by everyone regardless of their browser or operating system and they need to be able to quickly and easily navigate around your website to find (and buy) what they are looking for. Include a site map and have all web pages two mouse clicks or less from the home page. The website should also be structured in a way that makes sense to the user. Start broad and end up with pages with specific information. Search engines favour easy to use sites.
Highly Accessible Website
- Ensure all HTML links are working
- Ensure your website complies with standard practices for HTML coding and website layout display (such as consistent use of design elements, top and side menu bars, links underlined in blue and logos in the top left corner) and functionality so it can be spidered.
- Keep website file sizes (including whole pages) down to below 150k – this is easier for both spiders and users to download your information.
- Ensure you can be seen on all types of browsers and operating systems.
- Use a high quality server that isn’t slow or cumbersome.
Keep your content unique (original and not written by anyone else) and relevant to your product or service, your target markets and your industry for successful SEO. Reusing the same content over and over again in your website or not regularly updating your website content (with new content or the use of blogs, news feeds and forums) will ensure that spiders will stop indexing your website or will only index one main page every time. By using duplicate content you are putting your website at a disadvantage and negatively impacting on your potential web rankings. Search engines are looking to rank the sites with the most relevant and unique content first on the results pages.
While search engines are indexing your website and its content they also attempt to measure the quality of the content contained in the website and its articles. If the keywords or phrases people use to search for your website are in the important parts of your content (title, headings, body text etc) the more the website will be seen as relevant, reliable and of high quality by the search engines.
The key is to know what the problems of your end users are and address these in your content. Research by visiting forums and blogs to see what people are discussing. You can also include expert advice or articles from industry professionals, which is both worthy of links (more information on link strategies below) and people interested in what they have to say.
But, before you start rewriting your website content it pays to research the keywords and phrases (this is what the search engines are looking for) that should be included in your website’s content. Brainstorm, ask your customers, check out what your competitors use and then try a couple of online keyword trackers such as Overture and Wordtracker which give data on how often a keyword comes up in specific searches, to develop a list of the most valuable keywords for your site.
Rank those keywords or phrases by most to least relevant to your customers to decide which ones to use. It is also valuable to know how much revenue you earn per customer per search term and how many users convert (buy your product or service or click an online advert) by using which keyword in their search. If your site is new the best idea is to focus on a couple of keywords that are highly relevant to your target market(s).
Keep the important keywords you need to include within the flow of the text and subject and ensure that there aren’t a number of breaks in the text with coding. There are resources on the web about copy writing and SEO writing for more tips but the higher the quality of the writing the better for the search engines. Ensure that your content is actually readable, enjoyable and helps to answer the problems of your customers.
Descriptions of URLs and Title tags
Keep your URLs, Meta tags and title tags short and sweet. Relevance and accuracy are highly important for URLs, Meta tags and title tags for users and spiders. Be descriptive by using your list of important keywords but keep them brief. Title tags are valuable as they are the information shown on the results pages and will help your potential user to make the decision to click through to your website or not. Ensure they represent the brand, include clear keywords but don’t go over the top. First impressions count and your title tag will be the first thing seen on an SERP (Search Engine Ranking Page).
Search engines have a way of remembering the content of websites and have found over the years that some websites don’t always tell the truth about how important they actually are (mostly through the over use or spamming with meta tags). Some commercial websites are able to manipulate and stretch the truth with the information they have on their websites. To search engines the validity of articles, documents, citations and who links to you is very important. Search engines used to look to meta tags in websites but have found, now, that some websites load lots of meta tags into their website to pretend they have more importance than they actually do. They now look for “off the page” parts of your website that you can’t easily control such as links from other sites.
Links analysis includes indexing the information in a link’s anchor text (text that describes the words and characters which hyperlink to another website’s document), the number of other links from other websites pointing to the original website (popularity), how many website communities reference documents and interlink with your website, how much text and what it says around the link and the linking page’s subject matter.
Having links to your website from other websites will boost your perceived popularity and therefore your web rankings, especially if the website linking to your site is seen as trustworthy by the search engines. Unique, reliable content on your site that other groups link to and talk about because they see it as an “industry source” will provide exposure and improve your public relations and public perceptions. Search engines look for these links, who is linking and what they are saying to analyse your linking popularity and your web ranking. Linking is a great way to organically promote your website, get a higher website ranking and then an increase in return visits, sales conversions and perceptions of you by your market.
You can create valuable links by using some or all of the following ideas:
|Sharing web tools that are free (such as mortgage calculators but make it relevant to your industry), number lists that rank particular information, RSS and blogs or forums, event reviews, animations or films, graphs and charts, expert advice, spotting trends and the use of competitions and contests.
|Build a community through the use of a wiki, forum or blog that becomes a meeting place for people in your industry. People will create links to that community thus increasing your popularity.
|Use PR campaigns with interesting industry news to promote your website and increase links to your website in the short term.
|Stay competitive with your competitors. Get linked to by the same websites they are linked too. You can check who links to your competitor’s sites by checking the linkage data on Yahoo! In the URL address type the following command link: and then the website URL. At the moment Yahoo! is the only search engine with reliable and accurate link data.
|You can also look to other websites listed in the SERPs when you type in relevant keywords for your website. Links from those other websites will be valuable in achieving high web rankings.
|Take part in online discussions in forums with relevant and appropriate contributions to connect you to your markets and build your reputation. It is basically online networking to increase traffic to your site.
|Don’t forget to promote your website address whenever you can – on your business card, your email signature and other branding tools.
|Make sure that the links you get also contain your keywords or phrases.|
Word of warning
Stay away from underhand manipulation through the use of spamming, duplicate content or artificial linking. You run the risk of being black listed by the search engines and not showing up on the SERPs at all for a very long time. You also run the risk of alienating and losing the trust of your end user, which you have worked hard to gain the trust of (especially if they promoted you through a link). One amazing article or paragraph is likely to be more successful than just adding lots of keywords in lots of pages.
Putting it altogether
Once a search engine has spidered your web pages and indexed all the information it will (through the complex algorithms) put it all together and measure each component working out your score for each part of your website and then your ranking. This will be done on a monthly basis which gives you time to analyse your current web status and make changes to improve your web ranking.
Review and evaluate your website regularly – Make sure you have a good web analysis tool that not only looks at hits and popular pages but can help refine keywords to use in your content. You can track many things in a simple website analysis but the most important are:
|The most popular pages – use this information to improve pages that are looked at the least often
|Promotions via email, adverts or links
|Looking at referrals from search engines – who sent you the most visitors, from where and what were the keywords or phrases they used.
|Task tracking – which website actions or tasks are used the most often such as completed transactions, carts buttons, signups to newsletters.
|Domain and URLs – which domains and URLs are sending you visitors.
|Entry and exit pages – where do visitors start and finish their browsing on your website
|Return and first time visitors- how many are coming back repeatedly to visit your website. This will let you know if you are maintaining an interesting site.
|The Demographics of your visitors – what browsers and operating systems do they use (to improve accessibility of your site), which pages do they visit and when.
|The number of pages viewed per session – this will let you know if there are any pages that aren’t valuable to your visitors and give you a chance to improve them and which pages hold the attention of your visitors.
|Path analysis – How do your visitors navigate your site – the path that they follow? This will help you to improve on how the web pages are set up to make it easier for visitors to complete tasks.|
Analyse your website on a monthly basis and you can gain a better understanding of what needs to be added, deleted or improved to better your web rankings.
Improve your website to stand out for your customers
Be the best in your industry. Having a highly professional website in design, look, branding and content is not only desirable in order to be competitive and attractive to potential customers but it will also be attractive to search engines. Search engines are more favourable to websites that are usable, informative, functional and include high quality information. This will ensure that you are found first and continue to be ranked highly for the long term. One of the first things you should do with SEO is promote your website through Google Adwords. Paying for an advert that is listed with the keywords for your website will ensure that you will be seen in the first few SERPs.
Ultimately you want your site to be so popular that people visit not by using a search engine but by having your website URL in their favourites list, bookmarked or they type it directly into the URL Address bar. These websites are the ones that are ranked the highest on SERPs.
Like other long term marketing strategies optimizing your website(s) for high web rankings, increasing traffic to your site and increasing sales (repeatedly) is a long term strategy. It takes time to build a reliable and trustworthy reputation amongst the search engines and to get list in the top 10 of an SERP. You need to spend the time building a reliable site and then analyzing the results from web analysis to make better SEO decisions. Follow the above guidelines and research SEO strategies on the web for more information and you will no doubt start to reap the rewards. Develop a high quality long term strategy for your website in your marketing plan that includes promotion, development and optimization. Review and evaluate regularly and monitor the results of web analysis to stay competitive and improve your web rankings.