Like a lot of marketing professionals who designed and coded their first websites in the early 1990s, I thought I knew everything about getting listed in search engines. After attending Danny Sullivan's Search Engine Strategies event back in August, I realized how much things have changed and how very little I knew.
Here are some basic tips that will help you understand how to optimize your website so it will rank higher on search engines. For more comprehensive information on search engine optimization (SEO), visit Danny Sullivan's site and read the article Search Engine Submission Tips.
You may also want to hire a firm that specializes in SEO. If you do a lot of business over the Internet and/or rely on your website as a primary lead generating source, we strongly recommend you hire a SEO firm. The MarketingSherpa.com website has a great report entitled “Buyer's Guide to Search Engine Optimization Firms.” In the meantime, here are some basic SEO tips:
If you do not want to replace your image map navigation sidebar, then either (1) insert a navigation row that has HTML hyperlinks or (2) create a site map page that includes HTML links to every page on your site.>
- Targeted keywords (i.e., key search terms) are the terms or phrases people use to locate your services (i.e., "payroll services"). Place your targeted keywords (at least two words) or keyword phrase (50 – 80 characters) in the HTML Title Tag on every page of your site. Each page will have a different title that pertains to the content on that respective page.
- Place targeted keywords near the top of the page (first few paragraphs).
- While few of the major search engines pay attention to the META Description and META Keywords tags, some still use them so you may as well have them. Your META Description tag should contain 200-250 characters that describe the content of a respective page. Your META Keywords tag will reinforce the target keywords on a respective page.
- Create a site map page with text HTML hyperlinks to every page on your site. Then submit this page to major search engines.
Keep in mind that once you optimize your website, the major search engine "crawlers" should find your website and rank it higher than it would have been without optimization. However, it can’t hurt to manually submit your website(s) to the major search engines.
- Go to a major search engine and type in keywords that you hope will bring up your site once it is optimized. Consider getting some of the top ten sites to link to your site. The more sites that link to your site, the better your site will be ranked – especially if those links are from the most popular sites in your keyword category. Obviously competitors will not link to your site but you may find a few sites that will (i.e., maybe a directory site).
For information on how to manually submit your site(s) to major search engines, read Danny Sullivan's article, Search Engine Submission Tips (referred to at the start of this article) or visit each search engine to learn more.
For a great example of a website that is search engine optimized, visit TempWorks.