Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Simple SEO Tips for Good Search Engine Rankings

Making simple changes to your website in order to improve search engine rankings and drive traffic is not as complicated as it sounds. Below details the elements that can be simply manipulated yet produce big improvements if implemented correctly.
These are worth book marking and/or printing so they can be used in the future as a checklist when creating new pages or reviewing your website.

1) Key Phrase Research
Before you can begin implementing any of the optimization techniques, you will need to know which key phrases you are going to optimize your site for. Once this is decided, everything will become much clearer.

You should be able to get a general idea of target key phrases from the content on the pages within your site. If there's not any content upon which to target optimization, achieving good search engine rankings will be extremely difficult and ultimately futile! Visitors will leave promptly if they are not provided with the content they are searching for.

A common mistake is to target the key phrases that drive the largest search volumes. It's more important to target key phrases that directly relate to your websites content, and the more defined the key phrases are the better.

Using key phrases that may drive 125 high convertible visitors to your site each month is likely to be much better than targeting a highly competitive broad key phrase that is only vaguely related to your business, even if it does attract 25,000 searches each month.

2) Page Titles
This is one of the key elements that can be optimized. Each title should be different, and full of key phrases related to the content of its individual page. Search engines often only display the first 65 or so characters of the page title, so it's imperative to get the most important key phrases at the beginning of the page title. In addition, the characters near the front of the page title are given more weight in algorithms.

The page title is displayed in the search engine results, so it must make sense and encourage searchers to click the link. Finding a balance between readability and key phrase concentration is a challenge but something that will improve with time and practice.

3) Meta Description
The Meta description is not actually included in search engine algorithms, although as it is displayed in search engine results pages, it is vital it is optimized. Similar to page titles, the Meta description should be specific to every page and contain text that is relevant to the key phrases that page is designed for.

The Meta description is limited to approximately 160 characters, so it can often be difficult to fit all the required info into such a small space. However, if no Meta description is entered, search engines are inclined to grab a indiscriminate chunk of text from the page, despite if it makes sense or is useful to the searcher. You can avoid this from happening; by making certain every page has a Meta description of some form.

4) Page Content
Page content is viewed as the best way of attracting visitors and incoming links to a website, so it's essential that it is given sufficient time and resource. Search engines thrive on content, so the more content on your site the better for your search engine ranking.
Content is less important now in search engine algorithms than it has been previously. However, it is suggested to make certain every key phrase that is being targeted is mentioned about every 100 words or so.Beware - don't fall into the trap of key phrase stuffing (being non-specific and just trying to cram every word imaginable in)! Search engines employ advanced techniques to track this and will more than likely pick up on it immediately and you could end up with a blacklisted site that is impossible to rank.

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