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The Recipe for Search Engine Optimization

A #1 search results position for your site, it almost seems like a fairy tale. Like the abominable snowman, many question the validity and effectiveness of the tips, tricks and techniques that are commonly found on the web or elsewhere. I have read many books, articles, newsletters, gotten sound advice from experts, and gone through the time baring process of plan do review many times. Through my experiences I have learned the strategies revealed in this article and have decided to share my knowledge on the matter with you.

Before I begin, I would like to tell you what this article is not going be about. It is not a thrown together set of tips that you normally find. It will, obviously, include some strategies you are familiar with or may have heard of before but will also describe techniques that I have proven to be successful and that hopefully you will use to do the same.

Firstly, No One Technique will get you the results you desire. That would be too easy and in the fight for a good search engine position the old adage, ‘No Pain No Gain’, is deemed appropriate.

Ok enough of the intro let’s get down to business.

Domain Names
Contrary to popular belief your choice in domain name can play a significant role in your search engine position. E.g. you have a website that is about web hosting and you would like to target the search term ‘web hosting’ one of the best domain names you could choose is

1. The search engines see this domain name as being highly relevant to the search term as it is composed of the search term.

2. Other people having an interest in ‘web hosting’ also see this name as being highly relevant and will feel that this is one of THE websites for web hosting and will be more willing to link to this URL. With link popularity very important, for the #1 search engine Google and others, this will definitely aid in your chances for a high position.

Does this mean that I am at a disadvantage because my domain name doesn’t contain the search term mainly used by my target market?
Not necessarily. You see you could have a much more popular site with more valuable content than say your competitor that managed to grab this domain name before you could. This is also very important. Remember, No One Technique will get you the results you desire.

However, if there were two identical sites in every aspect except for the domain name then in a search for ‘Web Hosting’ would prevail. You also have the option of using however the use of hyphens is less popular end users as it is more of a hassle.

Links & Link Text
Hyperlinks and Hyperlink Text are also key ingredients in the recipe for great search engine placement. If you are targeting the search term ‘web hosting’, having links on your site with names like webhosting.html or web-hosting.html or web-hosting-faqs.html as well as text with a similar naming convention also add a great flavor to your site’s success. You, more than likely, won’t find it appropriate to use this naming strategy for all your links but keep in mind it takes 25 pennies to make a quarter and falling short of this is just that. Using these names show the search engines that it isn’t only your homepage that has information about ‘web hosting’ but also other areas of your site.

Tag You’re It
Meta Tags
To Meta or Not To Meta? If that’s the question then here’s the answer.
Definitely use Meta Tags in your web pages. Search engines do still use these as a factor in their algorithms and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to add them to the html. Some say “But what if Meta Tags don’t work?” and in return I say “What if they do”.

Your Meta Tags should be relevant to your web page’s content. Don’t stuff in keywords to try and increase your chances in the search engines. That makes no sense. Search engine optimization is a science and should be treated as such. Choose your Meta keywords wisely ensure that any keyword used is either on your page or directly related to the content on your page. Your Meta description should be enough to give a blind man insight on your site. Customize the Meta tags for each of your pages. Once again Your Meta Tags should be relevant to your web page’s content. There are some very helpful programs that will aid you in your Meta Tag creation such as Web Position Gold2.

Alt Tags
Name your Alt tags to reflect the search term you are targeting. If your site is and you’re adding alt tags to your logo, don’t simply put NetVisits, or add a few words to give your users as well as the search engines a bit more information. E.g. – Pay Per Click Search Engine.

Other Tags
Though I will only briefly mention the following tag they all pay a role in boosting your movement to the top. The Comment Tag, Headline Tag, Table Summary Tag and the Noframes Tag should not be neglected. Many website creators neglect to utilize these tools to aid in their search engine optimization. Don’t be one of them. Add them to your arsenal.

Potent Content
There is no point to targeting a search term if there is no content about it on your site. Your homepage doesn’t have to be densely populated with content for a good placement but it should have some form of relevant content even if it is just a brief description of the benefits gained by using it. The search term MUST be present a few times on your homepage. This is not critical but more along the lines of essential.

Content is a MAJOR factor but not just anything thrown together on the topic. Lets say you’re eating your favorite meal (yes I use the food analogy a lot, what can I say, I love food). Any restaurant or person can slap together the ingredients to make it that meal but if they use the best quality ingredients and take the time and make the effort to do it right, then they become the one that you remember, the one you want to go back to. Get it?

Try and include a paragraph or two about or relevant to your site near the top of your page that include the search term you are targeting so the search engine robot is quickly faced with content.

The search engines crave good content, make them crave yours. Use articles, newsletters, general information, tips, FAQs, whatever is appropriate. But use something, and don’t stop even if you’re content with your content, always strive to improve on the old and introduce the new. If you don’t have time to write articles etc, there are many resources on the web that provide these free of charge. They normally include a link back to the author’s site but it’s worth it, nothing in life is free.

What’s Your Title
To show you the power of a good title here is a brief story. TRUE STORY I once had a site that was #2 in Google for the search term I was targeting. I created some additional pages but neglected to fill these pages with content, due to an unexpected lack of time, for a few weeks. These were new pages, with no content at all, just titles and Meta Tags. The next time I checked my statistics I noticed an amazing increase of over 30,000 unique visitors. I had no idea how this happened until I notice that these pages had all been spidered and were now in the search engines results. Needless to say the titles and Meta Tags were the key to this increase. When they were populated with content the results were even more amazing. Need I say more?

Use Maps
Graphics, animation and the like will make your site attractive but use them sparingly as search engines prefer simplicity. Don’t present the search engine robot with a clutter of things to search through, keep it simple. Try and place the most important links near to the top of your pages and once again at the bottom and keep those page sizes below 50k (a more than generous size).

Further feed the search engine robots by creating a sitemap. This is a page which contains links to the major areas of your site. Include as many of your site links as possible and with a small site include all links. Add a short description to each link to guide users as to the purpose of the link destination. This also gives you the opportunity to add more of your keywords to this page.

Link & Close
Link popularity is when other websites contain links to your site. The more links to your site, the higher your link popularity. With link popularity, quality is just as important as quantity. Having sites with similar content to yours link to your site is worth more than unrelated sites linking to your site. Many search engines, including the #1 search engine Google, put a high importance on link popularity.

When optimizing for search engines there’s one thing that must never be left out EVERYTHING. Do it all, use all methods and use them well and you’re sure to see the results you want. Remember, No One Technique will get you the results you desire.