A Do-It-Yourself Guide for the Small Business Owner

A high search engine ranking for your site is essential. At least 85% of people searching for goods and services online find them through search engines.

To raise your site’s ranking on search engines, you can hire a company to do it for you. There’s an entire search engine optimization (SEO) business that will happily take your money. Search engine optimization is simpler than it’s made out to be, and there are lots of steps which you can do to increase the rank of your site.

1. The content of your site is essential. Search engines check to find out if search words appear near the top of the page and their frequency on the page. You must first decide what the keywords your customers search with. Think about the site from the perspective of a possible customer and try to comprehend what they’d be searching for on the net. Aim to have 100-250 words on each page with these keywords used as frequently as possible. Those identical important words should be included in the title tag of your coding, but keep it to six words or less. (this is the colored bar at the top of the page).

2. Link Popularity. This is a factor that is very important in search engine ranking. Just about all the search engines use link popularity to rank sites. Inbound links matter most, and highly ranked sites linking to your website are worth more that lower ranked sites. If you can provide content that other sites want to connect to, then you’ll move up in the rankings. This means that you might need to actively solicit links to your articles and write articles for other sites.

3. Proper Page Structure. This can be tricky for individuals that do not know HTML, but it truly isn’t that complex. Your pages must be coded properly so they’re easier for the search engines to index. Your website must have easy to follow text navigation, and you should avoid using Flash to construct your whole page as it makes the site harder to index. If you desire dynamics on your page created by other languages like JavaScript, you need to have these codes in external files. There’s also an html validation tool in http://validator.w3.org/ that’s useful. Errors in programming code and erroneous html may keep the search engine spiders from indexing your web pages. Keep coding clean and easy.

4. META Tags. This may seem like something from a science fiction film, but it’s extremely simple code which needs to be included on your website because its makes it more inviting to the search engine spiders that crawl the world wide web.

5. Don’t Cheat. Don’t attempt to’spam’ the search engines by adding invisible keywords repeated countless times or by repeating keywords in META tags. The motors are getting smart and will penalize you for this. They might even drop your website all together.

6. Patience, Patience, Patience! It may take weeks for the search engines to re-index and re-rank your website once you’ve made changes or if you’ve got a new website. Search engines are smart, but they taken time to sort through the huge amounts of information that is thrown at them. If you’re patient, you’ll see results.

7. Lots of the major search engines still include a free submission section for their own listings. It can take 6-8 weeks (or more) for your listings to appear, but Google, AltaVista and Yahoo still accept free submissions. Since search engine ranking is crucial for success on the world wide web, you might want to budget for search engine optimization and think about paid listings (Yahoo), or pay-per-click advertisements on Google.

Good website design is a balance between what seems great and optimizing your website for search engines. Your content has to be good enough so that other sites want to link to it while at the same time include keywords that will draw potential customers. In addition, you have to have your website built correctly and take the opportunity to handle it and keep it fresh. Now you’re well on your way to getting a high ranking website on Google.

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