An important part of promoting your website online is tohave it listed by search engines in their search results. The higher positionsin the search engine results you get, the more clicks and traffic you will have for FREE!
The key to having good rankings in free searches is the so-called “search engine optimization” (SEO) which starts by having your site indexed by search engines, goes through optimizing your content for search engines and then building valuable links to it. Google has the most dynamically changing algorithm to consider for search engine optimization so often when we talk about SEO factors, we mean factors that will affect most of all your Google rankings.
1.Search Engine Submission
Practically everyone who has access to Internet uses Google, Yahoo, or another popular search engine to browse the net and find extensive information in a matter of seconds. For every search, the search engines return relevant results in two categories: free and sponsored links. The big fight is to have a good ranking on the free search as it gives great exposure and is free!
The search engines have a way to find new websites, however, them finding your newly created site might take a while. To get listed on free search results faster, you may submit your site to the most popular search engines and thus invite them to index your site in their results.
It is free and very easy to submit your website to search engines! You better do that submission manually as the search engines ask for verification when submitting the site. Here are the most popular search engines and the pages where you can add your URL:
How to submit a website to search engines?
The first step to the search engine optimizationis to choose the keywords you wish to target with your website. Your task is todetermine on which search phrases, you wish to have your site listed in theSearch engine results page. Once you determine a set of such phrases, youshould include them in the content and the meta tags of your web page(s) tohave a successful SEO process.
What are keywords?
The keywords are important words that your visitors use tofind your site. The prospect visitor will type a keyword (or a combination ofwords) in the search engine and will get a list of results. In order to have yourwebsite displayed by the search engines on a specific search phrase, the searchengines should “believe” that your website is relevant for thissearch phrase. To make your website relevant for a certain keyword you need tochoose them carefully and to use them wisely in your website content and metatags.
How to choose successful keywords?
Although this is the most essential question, it is actually simple and very logical. The keywords are words that describe the topic(s) included and discussed on your website. For example, if your website features the surfing lessons that you give, you may use the following keywords and phrases:
surf lessons, surf instructor, surf, surfing, learn surfing, learn to surf, etc.
One thing you should remember, when choosing successful keywords, is that the best keywords are the ones that people will use in their day to day language in describing your service, product or website topic. We recommend that you choose some less general keywords in order to achieve better results. For example in the case of the surfing website, the word “sport” is far too general. If you choose it you will be competing with far too many websites on that word and many of the people who use this word as a search phrase will not be looking for surfing lessons but a totally different sport.
Also, if you are a newbie, the keyword “surf lessons” might be too competitive for you and your not yet authoritative website might not show on first page search results for that word. That is why initially, you may want to focus on smaller in search volume keywords or combination of such where you could more easily pop up on first page and even first spot. If “surf lessons” is too general, you may try “surf lessons Miami beach” for example – adding your geographical location will narrow the search volume but might be easier to fight for high positions.
Get Help from Google Webmaster Tools
When selecting your keywords you may want to check Google Webmaster Tools -> Keyword Tool. When you a type a targeted keyword in that tool, it will display the volume search within a selected region and/or industry, depending on your filters. This will help you compare the reach potential of various targeted keywords. It will also suggest related keywords for your convenience.
The meta tags are a very important part of the HTML code of your web page. They are read by the search engines but are not displayed as a part of your web page content. Usually they include a concise summary of the web page content and you should include your relevant keywords in them. Most meta tags are included within the ‘header’ html code of a website. They are title, description, keywords and robot tags, but currently the most important two are title and description. These two are displayed by search engines when listing your website in search results.
How to optimize meta tags?
The title tag and the meta description should include keywords relevant to the content of the web page they describe. You should consider the length and the order of the characters/words included in each of the meta tags. Note that the search engine robots read from left to right and those words that come first are more important than those that come towards the end of the page.
It could be said that the title is one of the most important factors for a successful search engine optimization of your website. Located within the <head> section, right above the Description and Keywords tag, it provides summarized information about your website. Besides that, the title is what appears on search engines result page (SERP). The title tags should be between 10-60 characters. This is not a law, but a relative guideline – a few more symbols is not a problem, you won’t get penalized for having longer title tags, but the search engine will simply ignore the longer part. Make sure the most important keyword you have decided to fight for is used in your title tag and as early in the phrase as possible.
Meta Description Tag
The description tag should be written in such way that it will show what information your website contains or what your website is about. Write short and clear sentences that will not confuse your visitors. The description tag should be less than 200 characters. The meta description tag also has a great importance for the SEO optimization of your page. It is most important for the prospect visitor when looking at the search engine result page – this tag is often displayed there and helps you to distinguish your site from the others in the list. Again, use one or more of your most important keywords in that tag.
Meta Keywords Tag
Lately, the meta keyword tag has become the least important tag for the search engines and especially Google. Many websites have stopped adding keywords meta tags.
Meta Robots Tag
This tag helps you to specify the way your website will be crawled by the search engine. There are 4 types of Meta Robots Tag:
Index, Follow – The search engine robots will start crawling your website from the main/index page and then will continue to the rest of the pages.
Index, NoFollow – The search engine robots will start crawling your website from the main/index page and then will NOT continue to the rest of the pages.
NoIndex, Follow – The search engine robots will skip the main/index page, but will crawl the rest of the pages.
NoIndex, NoFollow – None of your pages will be crawled by the robot and your website will not be indexes by the search engines.
If you want to be sure that all robots will crawl your website we advise you to add a “Index, follow” meta robot tag. Please note that most of the search engine crawlers will index your page staring from the index page, continuing to the rest of the pages, even if you do not have a robot tag. So if you wish your page not to be crawled or to be crawled differently use the appropriate robot tag.
How to edit meta tags?
You can edit your meta tags through the File Manager in the cPanel of your hosting account. You need to edit the file of each web page. The file contains the HTML code of the page.
The content of your website is important for the search engines as they consider your website’s relevancy and importance based on both meta tags and content in relation to the important keywords you fight for. There are several guidelines you should follow:
Include keywords in text
You should make sure that all those keywords you have included in your meta tags and on which searches you wish to come up are included in the text of your site.
Consider 5-20% density of the keywords in text
You should make sure that about 5% to no more than 20% of your text is keywords. Be careful not to overcrowd your text with keywords cause you might get penalized. Note that you should have the most important keyword(s) in the beginning of the page as thus they are given more weight.
Mind the formatting of the text
Formatting (bolding, H1 titles, etc.) is also important to show the search engines that certain words are more important than others. Thus, if you bold your keywords in your text, they are perceived as more important than other words and thus your text becomes more relevant to these keywords.You should be especially aware of the H1 and subsequent title tags. The H1 is html abbreviation of the most important title on the web page. Make sure you use your most important keyword in that title.
Add regularly relevant content to site
You should make sure that you add relevant content to your website. This content addition invites Google to visit your site more often and increase its relevance and importance. An easy way to refresh content is adding a news or tweet module to display most recent feeds.
Link building is currently the factor with highest importance for getting good rankings. The more links you have to your website from other authoritative sites, the more important becomes your website according to search engines.
The quality links are the ultimate criterion for the quality of your own website. exchange is the most successful way for increasing your visitor traffic without paying any money for advertising. Link exchange is also considered essential for the searchability of your website – search engines like sites with a great number of incoming links as these sites are perceived as more important than poorly linked sites.In the ideal world, it would be great if you could only have incoming links to your site and no outgoing, however, in reality you can rarely have your link listed on a relevant site unless you link in return. That is why link exchange is so important. There are a few guidelines you should consider when swapping links.
Get as many incoming links as possible
The greater the number of incoming links to your site, the more popular it becomes for search engines. When in an early stage of growing your website, any link is a good link EXCEPT for the paid links. There are many sites that will offer to buy certain number of links for you, most often using paid directories submission. These links are a loss of money – Google does not like them and might even penalize you for them. Paying for text and banner ads is a totally different thing and is not considered a problem.
Get links with pages with higher Google rank
The higher the Google rank of the pages linking to yours, the bigger the boost to your site rankings is. The more relevant the content ofthe partner sites to your own, the higher your URL shows in search results andthe more people visit your page.
Interlink site’s pages
A specific page’s importance is also measured by the importance and depth of the other pages on the site that refer to the page in question. Itis a good practice to interlink your web pages by making text references or having the most important pages linked in your site footer.
You should be careful with link exchange because it presumes you have to give in order to get. It is not a problem to give exposure to another websiute from your own, just make sure you don’t crowd your own pageswith external links as you will be losing link juice. Also, make sure you don’tlink exchange with direct competitors as you might end up losing sales.
6.Avoid the most common SEO mistakes
There are a few SEO mistakes that you should avoid. These simple-to-follow guidelines are essential for the way your pages rank in search results.
Targeting the wrong keywords
You should carefully choose the keywords, which you want to compete for. For example, if you are making a website for your local American football team where you only feature the players and their results, you should not aim for a keyword like “soccer” as you don’t really care where you rank on the word “soccer,” even if you mention it anywhere on site.
Duplicate Meta tags
This is a common mistake among web designers. Meta tags should be unique and meaningful for each separate page. If they are the same, search engines consider them as duplicate content and rank you lower in their search result pages. Or, if you target the same set of keywords with two different pages, your pages will be fighting between each other for a position in results on the same keyword thus devaluating each other’s worth.
Website is entirely created with Flash without an HTML alternative
Although websites created with Flash can be very pretty and attractive, search engines cannot crawl them. Since they cannot index your content, you will not rank for the keywords you would like to. Therefore, you should create an HTML alternative of your Flash website and provide your visitors with the option to choose one of them. By doing this you will increase the usability of your website and improve the way search engines index it.
Missing “alt” tags in the code for your images
Unfortunately, search engines cannot scan what is shown on an image. They cannot distinguish a photo of a flower from a photo of a truck. The only way they receive information about an image is through its file name, its title and “alt” tag. Make sure you enter relevant title and alt tags for each one of the images on your website. You should give them meaningful names; avoid using image1.jpg, image2.jpg, etc. By doing this, search engines will receive the information they need for your images. In addition, they will be included in the search results when someone searches for a photo in Google for example.
Failing to create a content hierarchy
Many web designers underestimate the power of a well-structured website. Search engines rank higher websites with well-organized content. You should use heading tags (h1, h2, h3) to organize your text. This will improve the readability of your content and the way search engines index it.
These are only a few of the many methods for improving your search engine ranking. If you want to learn more, we recommend the following resources:
Top SEO Plugins for WordPress: