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Free Tips on Getting Higher Search Engine Ranks

02/21/2009
Maui Hawaii Waterfall

Maui Hawaii Waterfall

A lot of people don’t blog because they don’t have to know how to put one on their website. Well, there are tons of free blogging services. If you can build a link in your website to your new blog, you’re in business. Or, more business.

In fact, often, hosting your blog on one of the free services, besides being free and easy, can actually help your site more. By creating an authoritative blog on your subject, the linking power from your blog goes up. And if, in your blog posts, you often link to content on your web site, your blog is constantly imparting authority or, “link juice,” through its links.

However, none of this will do much unless your site has some basic things going for it… This is often called search engine optimization. I prefer to think of it as “search, duh.”

Think like a search engine. You want to know what a site is about right from the top, or the title. You want to see that thesis reinforced, if you will, throughout the site, on the pages, in the picture alt tags, in the links, in the navigation structure or architecture of the site. All should be logical: special instructions, a map, and lots of content.

I recommend you hire a professional to help you get higher search engine ranks, because I am one, and because there is much more to all this than I could possibly ever explain. You can help yourself a lot, though, by doing at least a few of these basic things to help your site.

1. Your HTML title tag should have the 7 or 8 keywords that people most use to search for what you have. Of course, if your subject matter is highly competitive, you might want to do some keyword research (I use Word Tracker), and find a niche.

2. Repeat those words on the home page at least 4 times for the most important 4 (not too many times though, as it will look like you’re spamming), and 3 times for 2, and two times for the last two. This is not a hard rule. You can repeat them all 4 times, but if you’re tying to keep your home page short, you can truncate.

3. Still, you should have at least 400 words on the home page. Content is still king on the internets.

4. If in those 8 main words there are 4 categories, then the titles of those categories (and the corresponding pages) should have the keyword pair as the first words in that title tag, followed by words that are related, or subsets. This navigation, or architecture, is very important. The better organized, the better.

5. Get a robots.txt file.

6. Get an XML site map.

7. Use the main words in the ALT tags of the images, and in the names of the images. On other sites, use images to link to your site, and be sure your keywords appear in the ALT tag of the image, and in the name of the image, as I’ve done here with the Maui waterfall picture. Also, use the TITLE tag in the link, if you can.

8. Google doesn’t read the description or keywords metatags, but use them anyway. There are other search engines, and those people spend money too.

9. Blog. Set it up at blogger or wordpress if you have to. In fact, I recommend using one the free blogs for small businesses, because you can benefit from their “piggy back” page rank. I helped a client in Hawaii set up a blog about Maui last year, and she’s already got a Google PageRank of 3 (out of 10), which is quite good. Link prominently to the blog from the site, and vice-versa.

10. Get inbound links from quality, high-ranking sites, preferably from like-minded sites. Get them often. Then get some more. Make sure the links to your site have your keywords in the “anchor text” or the text that’s actually in the link. Link images that have your keywords in your alt tags.

It’s a lot of work, but, like most smart work, it pays. After all, what’s the point of having a web site if no one goes there?

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