Showing up on search engines is one of the most critical ways to increase website traffic and expose your content, product or service to people who might be interested in what you have to offer. Most of the major search engines utilize an algorithm to determine where a website ranks. The search engines have set up specific criteria that a website must meet to get to the top of the list. The criteria are different for every engine, but all engines share several commonalities. It all boils down to the type and amount of content provided on a given website, the level of optimization done on the site, and the popularity of the website (link popularity/PageRank). Tailoring your website for improved search engine rankings is also known widely as search engine optimization, or SEO.
Steps to Improve Search Engine Ranking
- Title Tag – arguably the most important SEO tag for any website. Google supports approx. 60 characters in the title, while Yahoo allows for up to 110 characters in the title. It is important to target the most critical keywords in the Title. Every page should have a unique Title.
- META Description Tag – These were once important but are no longer. Some engines do display the description defined, while others do not. Some search engines do read the description tag, and do utilize the content found within in the ranking process. Google, MSN and Yahoo give very little weight to no weight for these.
To make sure that you have not missed any tags or damaged any links in the process, use an inspection tool to look over your website. In the process of inspection, you will also automatically be provided with a sitemap (refer to step 7 for significance).
Create a site map that tells people where everything is on your site. You will get about a 1% click through rate to your site map. However, it will do wonders for those who know what site maps do, and the Search Engines will like it as well.
Build up your popularity. So now you have determined the right keywords on the right pages, you’ve created all of the necessary content, and you’ve optimized all of the content to the best of your capabilities. Congratulations – you’re now in the top 80th percentile (from an optimization standpoint) of the websites listed for the keywords you’re trying to target. So how do you get a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd page listing? The answer is quite simple: You have to be the most popular, too. That’s right, it’s a popularity contest. In other words, how many other websites know you (link to you), and how popular are they? This is typically referred to as link popularity, or called PageRank by Google. The more sites that link to your site the better, and the more popular the site linking to you the more value you will receive for your link popularity. The best types of “link building” are directory registration, text link advertising, and press release distribution. Try to offer valuable information or tools so that other people are motivated to link to your site. Well-linked sites (that don’t use spamming) do better in search engines.