Search Engine Optimization - A Beginners Guide
Getting your site listed in the top search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, or MSN is no small job. There is lots of work that needs to be done to guarantee the highest placement possible, and even more work is needed to keep your ranking for any period of time. Here are some simple tips and strategies to keep your site listed, and listed well, without spending any extra cash on pay per clicks.
Optimizing your site for the best search results
Linking and Links to Your Site
Getting links to your site is one of the most important jobs you have when trying to properly optimize your site for search engine listings, regardless of which search engine you are attempting to get listed in. Having links to your site assures that it will be found by the spiders of the major search engines, and the more links coming to your site, the more pages from your site are going to be listed in any given search engine. The more popular the site, the more exposure you get, both from the search engines and the general browser. Link trading, or exchanging links to other sites on your page for links to your own on their site, is an excellent way to get started in getting some links to your site. There are thousands of sites out there with automated link exchange pages, where you simply fill out a form and place their link on a page of your site, and you get a link from theirs. You can easily get 20 to 50 links a day from such pages, although they aren't as high quality as the others you can find.
Any site on the internet with a "Links" or "Resources" page can be a potential link exchange partner. Simply find the sites that relate to yours, even in a general sense, and send them an email requesting a link exchange. Be sure to have a link to their site on your links page and give them a link to the specific page their link is on. It also helps to have your links dispersed into categories, rather than having one long page with 1,000 links on it. This will make people more eager to trade links with you due to it being much easier to find their site on your links page. Keep a list of the sites you have emailed, and mark off which ones have or have not replied and have or have not placed a link to your site. If after two weeks no link is present, or the owner of the other site has not replied, simply delete their listing from your links directory and move on. There are enough sites out there, no matter what topic you relate to, that link exchanges are not difficult to find. These types of sites generally have a higher popularity and higher quality traffic than the instant submissions, although it does take a bit longer to accumulate the amount of links you need.
Another way to get links quickly would be to sign up at one of the various link exchange websites like linkpartners.com. These will usually charge a small subscription fee, but you will get a large amount of links in a relatively short amount of time. Remember when dealing with these type of sites to deal with only links from your particular category, as it will help more in the long run. Also, be careful who you link to within your own category. Try to stick with high-popularity websites that show up high in the rankings on your favorite search engine. Having quality over quantity with links, as well as most other optimizations, is vital if you plan on being ranked highly for any period of time.
Also, try to keep your links coming in. With a massive burst in incoming links that completely dies the next month, the search engines grow suspicious. Either try to spread out that massive burst out over the next few months, or keep the incoming links at or above the number you got last month. With this approach, the major search engines "see" that you are not only gaining in popularity rapidly, but you are continuing to grow in popularity instead of dieing out.
Content is another major factor in how you will be ranking in the major search engines. Having fresh, new content every month, or better, every day, will show that your site is not stagnant. It will also keep your visitors happy. Nobody will come back if your site never changes... they will move on to one that is updated more often. A great way to do this is through goarticles.com or other article sites like it. You can copy an article to your site (leaving the article fully intact, of course... you don't want to break any copyright laws) and have free, original content, every day if you would like. Again, it is best to use content that is directly related to your site, not only for the sake of your rankings (although you will have original content, it will not be related, and so it will be thrown out as "fluff" by the major search engines), but for your visitors as well. Nobody wants information on the newest video game when they visit a flower shop online.
Ever-changing, original content is very important to the search engines, as it shows your website is growing and popular. Even with one new article a day, you will be surprised at the results. If you have the time, you can even write your own articles and content and place them on your site. This content will be completely original, and nobody else on the internet will have a copy (or if they did, you can track them down and exercise your right to copyright as an author). Not only can you get original content by writing your own articles, but you can post them on goarticles.com for free with your name and a link to your site at the bottom. You provide content to the online community and they provide you links back to your homepage. A win-win situation either way you look at it.
Keywords are words within your meta tags that you would like the search engines to list you under and pay special attention to. Picking keywords can be tedious and difficult at times, but good keywords can make the difference between lots of traffic or no traffic at all. Search for sites on your favorite search engine that relate to your own and check what keywords they have chosen. You can do this by going to View -> View Source on the menu bar. The keywords will be marked by a "" tag. See which keywords they are using that you may want to use as well. Keep a list of up to 50 of the keywords you think will be the best match for your site and add them in to your meta tag. As always, be sure that these keywords directly relate to your site. This will help your listings in the search engines, as well as help browsers find the site they are actually looking for.
Provide descriptions in your meta tags for each one of your pages. Use descriptions to provide an outline of what each particular page on your site is built for. Keep them clear and concise, and don't load them up with keywords. For example, for your main page, use a description that contains the slogan for your website and a brief outline of what your site is meant for. For SuperFaster.com you would say something along the lines of "Online Marketing Information, Tips, and Strategies - We provide free articles on all you need to know about website promotion." With clear descriptions, the search engines will not consider a particular page a "duplicate listing" just because it has the same title as your other 30 pages, and it will make it easier for browsers to find what they need.
Alt tags are descriptions of images on your website. These can be seen when you mouse over picture, and can be seen by the spiders of the major search engines. Having a description of a picture makes it easier for a spider to understand what is actually on the site. If, perhaps, you have a tutorial on your site describing how to set up a web hosting account, and this tutorial has screen shots for people to follow instructions easier, you would want to make an alt tag for each screen shot. This will allow the spider to see that not only do you have a tutorial teaching your users how to create an account, but it comes with screen shots instead of random images of your dog or family.
Pictures that are part of the template for your site don't necessarily have to have alt tags, since they are purely for visual effect. For graphical buttons it would be beneficial to have alt tags, to explain to the spider that these are links to other portions of your site. Although these are not really necessary either, it never hurts to have tags explaining where a button will take you once it is pressed.
For further information on Search Engine Optimization, stay tuned for "Advanced Search Engine Optimization"
You can see other articles by Claude Beavers on this topic at: Website Promotion Articles and Resources at Superfaster.com
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