Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Critical Components to Great Search Engine Rankings

When people with websites find out I'm an Internet Marketing Consultant, the first question I'm often asked is: "why isn't my website ranking in the search engines?" There seems to be this assumption that "if you build it, they will come". Many website owners are often disappointed once their site is up that the site is ranking poorly or not at all. They question me why it isn't and what they can do about improving the site rankings.

Accelerate Your Site Performance!

If you want to improve your, or your clients', website rankings in the search engine results of the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN, you must learn what makes a site rank well. Not knowing what makes a page rank well is why your competitor's website is at the top of the search engine results and yours is not. Search engine optimization or SEO strategies are the critical components that help your site rank well. If you want your site to rank well in search engine results, your page must have these 4 essential factors of search engine optimization:

1. The first element to search engine optimization is the web page copy and content. Search engines look for good quality, relevant pages with the keywords your audience uses when they search online. Each of your website pages should have the keywords and phrases your clients are searching for on each particular page. If your site is about "Internet Marketing Strategies", then you should have those keywords in the web copy of that page. The more relevant your copy is to the targeted keywords your audience uses, the better the relevancy of the site in the rankings for those search terms.

2. The second critical factor to help your search engine optimization tactics are meta tags. Meta tags, often overlooked and misunderstood, are elements of HTML coding on a website. Search engines use these meta tags to help them determine what the site is about and assist with indexing a website. Most meta tags are included within the 'header' code of a website. The most important tags are the title tag, description tag and the keywords tag. Different search engines have different rules about how these tags are used and how many characters they should contain. Of importance to the process is if you know how the big three - Google, Yahoo and MSN - review the tags, then you'll be targeting 90% of potential web surfers.

Give Your Site A Voice!

3. The next component in your site search engine optimization strategy is internal linking. By optimizing your linking structure, you'll be creating a rich web of interlinking within your site. Whenever possible include links to related products, articles, and information. The navigation menu plays a key role in passing deep link gain into your site. This will help pass on your page ranking. To help out your internal page ranking, create a site map that can help search engine crawlers find all the rich content and related pages on your site. You should also use anchor text when internally linking within your site. Instead of using "click here", use keywords or phrases like "Search Engine Optimization" as a text link.

4. The fourth factor to good search engine ranking is off page tactics. The most common tactic is obtaining quality back links or inbound links to your site from relevant websites. Initiating and maintaining linking strategies is a core factor to getting your site in Google search results. Google expresses the quality and quantity of these back links as PageRank or PR. PageRank is a function of the quantity and strength of inbound links. PageRank estimates the likelihood that a given page will be reached by a web user who randomly surfs the web, and follows links from one page to another. In effect, this means that some links are stronger than others, since a higher PageRank page is more likely to be reached by the random surfer.

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