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Search Engine Rankings

Updated on January 5, 2014

There are a number of things we do know about that can make a difference:

Page Title
Very important, don't waste it
Page name
Almost as important
Page description : meta
This is what shows up in the search engine so make sure you have a good one
Page keywords
As a metatag this is not used by Google so much anymore
Words in Headings, sub-headings, bold or italicized
Also key, don't make them all the same are the get seen as spam
The number of times a word appears in the text on a page
Also key, don't make them all the same are the get seen as spam
How recently the page was updated
Not so important but if Google has to choose between a search item that is 5 years old and one that is much more recent?

Getting to page 1 of a search

When you are searching for something in your favorite search engine how often do you look at page 2 of the results? Page 3? As a great believer in the 80/20 rule let’s follow the assumption that 20% of searchers will look at the next page of search results. For every 100 searchers 20 will go to page 2. 4 will go to page 3. To be honest 20% feels generous here. A recent report from Google stated that only 10% of people went beyond the first page of their search.

You quickly realize the problem. If you want to get maximum visibility for your web pages you need to find a way of being on the first page. The problem we all face is that the major search engines don’t tell us the criteria they use for deciding of search engine rankings

There are a number of things we do know about that can make a difference:

  • Page Title
  • Page name
  • Page description
  • Page keywords
  • Words in Headings, sub-headings, bold or italicized
  • The number of times a word appears in the text on a page.
  • How recently the page was updated

One of the most useful tools in helping you find the right words to focus on is free. It is provided by Google as part of their Adwords product. Go to Google and search on – Adwords keyword tool, you don’t even need an Adwords account to use it.

Stop! Before you just in and start typing in the words you think matter you need to change your shoes. Sorry but you need to get into the shoes of your target customer. Make a list of the words you think they will type in when they are looking for a solution like yours. Once you have a list you can start playing with the keywords tool.

Type in one or more of your keywords and the results will give you many alternative options along with an idea of how often each search term is used and what the competition is for that term. You can click on the headings for each column of results to sort by that heading. Click competition twice to bring the lowest competitive words to the top.

Then you can look down the list and pick out keywords that have low competitive score but large numbers of searches. If you focus on these keywords you have a much better chance of getting onto page one of your target search results.

What do you do with the keywords you have chosen?

You make sure that every item in the bulleted list above includes your keywords. You should create a dedicated page to each major keyword so that you can be as focused as possible. When it comes to writing the page text do not overdo the keyword usage or the search engines can penalize you and you will end up way down the page rankings instead of right at the top.

Once you have produced you pages you need to schedule regular updates to keep them fresh, once a month feels about right but this is a guess and some trial and error will be needed to test this.

What The Search Engines Cannot See

There is a trend among web designers to get flashy. To have pictures, animations and other visual content that is visually appealing. While this will impress those visitors that find your web pages it will not impress the search engines.

The search ranking of any page is based on the words the search engines can read on your page. They cannot read a flash animation or an image beyond the name of that object. To be search engine friendly you have to include words, never forget that.

One way to add value to images that you are adding to your web page or blog is to make sure the image has a text caption that includes one of your keywords. Then you set the alternate text to be one of your keywords as well. This way, while the picture is painting a thousand words for your visitor it is also slipping a few words to the search engine and that is a win-win situation.


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