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Tips For Good SEO

There are two ways of getting people to visit your site from search engines. ‘Natural’ or ‘organic’ listings are the results which the search engine itself has determined are most relevant to the search. ‘Pay per click’ or ‘sponsored’ listings are advertisements which appear when certain specified words have been searched for. The merchant pays each time a searcher clicks on an advert. The good news is that everyone who comes to your site by either method is probably searching for the stuff that you sell. Eighty percent of users do not look beyond the first page of search engine results. That means if your site is not on the first page, you will hardly be noticed. So make sure at least one page on your site – preferably your home page – is set up as described here, to give yourself the best possible chance of getting noticed.

Choose two or three key phrases that you think customers will use to search for a product or service like yours.

Avoid single words like ‘shoes’ or very broad terms like ‘ironmongery’. There will be so many sites in these kinds of category that you will be very unlikely to get ranked on the first or second pages. Don’t try to cover too many phrases on a single page. If you need to target more phrases, set up another page.

Test the phrases you choose

Use a keyword research tool such as Wordtracker (http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com) to check how many people are actually searching for the phrases you selected. Search the newsgroups for these terms, and see what alternative phrases are used there to describe the same thing. These steps will also help you identify any phrases you have missed.

Try a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising programme Google Adwords, MSN Adcenter and Yahoo! Search Marketing are the best-known schemes

PPC ads can be useful and cost-effective traffic generators in their own right, and you should at least test them. But they attract fewer clicks than natural or ‘organic’ listings and are generally much more expensive than optimizing your site for those. However, you can get a “double whammy” by using PPC as you both test whether PPC is cost-effective and also test out how good various key words are. You can subsequently optimize for the natural listings using the best-performing key phrases.

Include the key phrases early in the title tag.

For example, suppose you are running a sailing site and you have decided that ‘boats for sale’ and ‘yachts for sale’ are the search phrases your potential customers are most likely to use. You would set up your tags something like this:
<HEAD>
<TITLE>Boats for sale and yachts for sale from Seven Seas Sailing</TITLE>
<META Name=’description’ Content=’boats for sale, yachts for sale and everything you need to know about sailing’>
<META Name=’keywords’ Content=’boats for sale yachts for sale sailing sails”>
</HEAD>

Repeat the key phrases at least four times near the top of your web page

If your page is based on a table, this will mean placing them near the top of the left-hand column. Add a Meta Description tag (as shown in the previous tip), but don’t worry about Meta Keywords tags unless you know you will be targeting a search engine that uses them. Most don’t. Also, work your key phrases into text that describes your site, so it reads well for visitors.

Get as many links to your pages as possible from other relevant sites

This will affect your ranking in some major search engines. The text of the link should ideally include one or more of your key phrases.

Act natural

Don’t try to conceal key phrases, for example by putting them in small or white text or in the same colour as the background. And don’t ‘spam’ by repeating key phrases mindlessly. You may be blacklisted irrevocably by the search engines for using these kind of tricks.

Don’t use frames

It complicates things. In some cases, search engines will not link through them. However well your pages are optimised, they won’t get ranked if the search engines can only find the frameset page. In other cases, the search engines will drive visitors straight to the content frames, missing out the frameset page, and customers will not be able to navigate elsewhere within the site.

Manually submit your pages to your target search engines

Make sure you include the major search providers listed below (note some require payment). Don’t worry about the hundreds of others, and don’t believe any pitch that emphasises them. The key ones are: Google, Yahoo! (web sites and directory) MSN, Open Directory (dmoz.org).

Consider concentrating on smaller search engines

If you operate in a market where there is a lot of traffic through search engines and a lot of competition, consider concentrating your effort on smaller search engines. You may get better results for the same expenditure, and the overall market volume means that there are still good pickings, even from the smallest engines.

Avoid the scam where a supplier offers you “guaranteed top rankings”

No-one can guarantee top rankings except for phrases that aren’t important and will generate hardly any traffic. So that’s what you will get.

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