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Google’s search engine, www.google.com, uses a variety of methods to determine which pages are displayed first in the results. Their exact formula is a secret, but there are a few things you can do to improve your positioning. The term for this is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
These tips may not make your website the first one to appear in the list, but they just may help you move up a little.
Ignore spam and websites that offer to submit your website to hundreds of search engines. At best these are wastes of time or money and at worst they can actually hurt your ranking.
Rather than focusing on a single word, try adding a few words to make a keyword phrase. You may want to read about effective Google searches to see how keyword phrases help with searches.
If you were searching for your own website, what keyword phrase would you type into Google for each page? Would you look for super fast widgets? Would you look for cooking with widgets? It may be helpful to get a different perspective. Ask someone else to read your page and suggest what they think your keyword phrase might be. You can also check Google Trends to see if one phrase is starting to gain popularity.
Try to stick to one subject per page, and stick to one keyword phrase per page. That doesn’t mean you should write stilted text or use odd phrases. Clear writing is both easier to search and easier to read.
One of the things Google looks for when it catalogs pages is the density of the keyword usage. In other words, how often the keyword occurs. Use natural phrasing. Don’t try to trick the search engine by repeating the same word over and over or making text “invisible.” It doesn’t work. In fact, some of that behavior even get your website banned. Read more: Google Dont’s – Bad Tips and Dirty Tricks That Will Get You Banned.
Give a strong opening paragraph. Google may or may not search beyond the first 200 words or so of your web site, but it definitely looks at the first paragraph for keyword density.
You can check your keyword density with Google Toolbar.
Name Your Pages
Give your pages a descriptive name with the tag. This is vital. Google displays search results as a link using the Web page’s title. A link called ‘untitled’ isn’t enticing, and nobody is going to click on it. When appropriate, use the page’s keyword phrase in the title.
Learn more about why titles matter.
Link Early, Link Often
One of the biggest factors Google looks at is the hyperlink. Google looks at both links to and from your website.
Google looks at the words you use in links to help determine the content of your page. Use links within web pages as a way to emphasize keywords. Rather than saying, “click here to learn more about SEO” you should say: Read more about SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Learn more about why hyperlink names matter to Google.
Links from other websites to your website are used to determine PageRank. You can use Google Toolbar to check your current PageRank.
You can improve your PageRank by exchanging text links with other relevant websites. Banner exchanges are not as effective. You can also improve your PageRank by making sure your website is listed with important directories. In other words, check the PageRank of the home page of the directory.
Submit Your Site to the Right Directories
Submit your website to the open directory project, if possible. Google considers this directory to be an important link. Be patient. A real human has to check your site, before it’s listed in the Directory.
Submit your site to specialized directories. For instance, a work at home mother owned business (WAHM) should submit her site to WAHM directories. A site on butterflies should be sent to biology or entomology directories.
Don’t get too submission happy, though. Google, in an effort to combat click fraud, often filters out websites linked from link farms, or pages with nothing but links to other websites. This is one reason why free services to register your website may hurt you. Stick to specialized directories and organizations. They’re more likely to help and not hurt your rankings.
Social networking sites can be a good way to promote a site, but not all of them will affect your rank directly. Digg and Del.icio.us are social linking sites that could potentially have the most impact.
Make Your Graphics Search Friendly
Keep the Flash to a minimum. People may enjoy reading Flash, but search engines tend to skip right over it. Google has gained some ability to read Flash, but it is still limited. If your menus are in Flash, they might as well be invisible. Consider making plain text links in addition to or instead of Flash.
Give your images tags. Not only does it make your website more accessible to the visually impaired, it also gives you another chance to place your keywords where Google can see them.
Good Design Is Popular Design
In the end, strong, well organized pages are pages that Google tends to rank higher. They’re also pages that tend to become more popular, which means Google will rank them even higher. Keep good design in mind as you go, and much of the SEO will design itself.
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