5 Top Tips for improved search engine ranking

Having a website that gets found in Google, Yahoo! or MSN, etc. isn't hard to do, but it can be difficult to know where to begin. Here are our latest tips to help get you started.

Optimise for your Visitors!

It sounds like common sense, but very few businesses actually do it. Many businesses optimise their site for search engines, putting in keywords and phrases that are commonly used in search engines rather than actually researching what customers actually search on.

Search engines are looking for pages that best fit the keyword phrase someone types into their search box. If this person searching the internet is typing in search words that relate to what your site actually offers, then they are most likely members of your target audience.

You need to optimise your site to meet their needs. If you don't know who your target audience is, then you need to find out one way or another. Look for studies online that might provide the relative information, and visit other sites, communities, or forums where your target audience might hang out and listen to what they discuss. This information will be crucial to your resulting website design, keyword research, and copywriting.

Research keywords

Research your keyword phrases extensively, and never give up, the smallest of tweaks in the right direction can make a huge difference to your ranking.

The phrases you think your target market might be searching for may very well be incorrect.
To find the very best phrases to optimise your site for, use research tools such as Keyword Discovery, Wordtracker or any Google or Yahoo Search Marketing data you can lay your hands on.

Compile lists of the most relevant phrases for your site, and choose a few different ones for every page.
Never shoot for general keywords such as "parties" or "cars" as they are rarely indicative of what your site is really about.

You are aiming for a list of just ten good keywords or phrases, then start your optimisation.

Labels

It’s great coding too, but remember to label your internal text links and clickable image alt attributes (alt tags) as clearly and descriptively as possible.

Your site visitors and the search engines look at the clickable portion of your links (i.e. the anchor text) to help them understand what they're going to find once they click-through.

Don't make them guess what's at the other end with links that say "click here" or other nondescriptive words. Be as descriptive as possible with every text and graphical link on your site.

The cool thing about writing your anchor text and alt attributes is that you can be as descriptive (and relevant) as you want to be, and try to include some of those keywords too.

Copywriting

Great web site copy is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal to get you ranked well on the major search engines.

Write compelling copy for the key pages of your site based on your chosen keyword phrases and your target market's needs, and make sure it's copy that the search engines can "see".

This is a crucial component to having a successful web site. The search engines (i.e. Google and Yahoo!) need to read keyword rich copy on your pages so they can understand how to classify your site.

This copy shouldn't be buried in graphics or hidden in Flash or as coding comments. Write your copy based on your most relevant keyword phrases while also making an emotional connection with your site visitor.

There are no magic number of words per page or number of times to use your phrases in your copy, just do not use too many or too few! Try aiming for between 5 percent and 15 percent keyword density and you should be OK.

The important thing is to use your keyword phrases only when and where it makes sense to do so for the real people reading your pages. Simply sticking keyword phrases at the top of the page for no apparent reason isn't going to cut it, and it just looks silly.

Linking

Make sure your site is "link-worthy."

Other sites linking to yours is a critical component of a successful search engine optimisation campaign, as all of the major search engines place a good deal of emphasis on your site's overall link popularity.

You can go out and request hundreds or thousands of links, but if your site is poor, why would anyone want to link to it?

On the other hand, if your site is full of wonderful, useful information, other sites will naturally link to it without you even asking.

The jury is out on where it is fine or not to simply trade links, the approach of black and white marketing is to get as many one way links for our clients as possible because we know that this is the very best linking approach to take; but it does take time.

When you link to lousy sites, keep in mind what this says to your site visitors as well as to the search engines.

Conclusion

There are some things that you can do to your web site to help you get a better search engine ranking, but it takes time (a long time), it's hard work, and lots of people think its boring, I actually enjoy doing it!

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