We are always asked by prospective clients if there are any quick tips that we can share to help optimize a web site in order to get better search engine rank. With a little HTML knowledge and some time there are some very easy things you can do in order to start ranking. Please be aware that your mileage may vary based on the competitiveness of the terms that you are trying to rank for and the age of your domain.
1. Put your key phrases in the first six words of your page's HTML title. The HTML title tag is one of the most important places you can put key phrases. It shows up at the top of the browser window like this:
The web site code looks like this:
<title>TD Media San Diego Optimized Web Site Design With Results</title>
It is important that the title tag go directly after the head tag as shown.
Although the contents of the title tag are visible, most visitors do not look at the text. This means that you do not have to worry about forming complete sentences.
2. Make sure that the title tag is unique for every page on your site. The title tag should contain phrases specific to the page. If you have a five page web site, this gives you five times the opportunity to rank for important keyphrases. Instead of using "Contact Us" as the title tag why not use "Company Name Service Name, Geographic Region, Contact" instead? There is even evidence that some search engines penalize sites that have the same title for every page.
3. Each page should contain at least 400 words of text. This is real text, not graphic text, not Flash. It is not important if your visitors read the text or not. Search engines will "read", or more accurately, index the contents of the page. As a test, search on Google for a phrase you are interested in being ranked for. Then look at the top ten pages. Most likely the majority will have 400 words or more of text. It is better to have 5 pages with 400 words or more than ten pages each with 200 words. Combining the "About Us" and "Contact Us" page for instance is an easy way to bulk up some of the more sparse pages on your site. In this case I would still suggest having navigation links for both, just point them to the same page with anchor links. If you are not sure what that means then you should probably print this article out and give it to the person who is going to help you.
4. Use semantic markup and control the design with CSS. Every page should contain <h1>, <h2>, and possibly <h3> tags. However, you must use these tags in the proper order or you could see an adverse affect on the search engine rank of your page. This means that <h2> tags should come after <h1> tags and before <h3> tags. Search engines view these tags as important and if your keyphrases are contained in these tags you may see an increase in rank for that phrase. These tags can look big and ugly in their default state so use CSS to redesign the look of these important tag. With CSS you can make a <h1> tag show up on the page as 10 pt purple Verdana if you want. Lovely.
5. Get links on other sites that point to your site. Do you have vendors that have web sites? Would they be willing to post a link to your site on their site? Links from high quality, established web sites can have significant power in increasing your search engine rank. It is critical that you use the key phrase you are trying to rank for in the link text. For example this is not a great link:
Click here to visit tdmedia.com.
neither is this:
However, this link is fantastic…
TD Media provides optimized web site design in San Diego.
If anybody wants to use that link, here is the code ;~) :
TD Media provides <a href="http://www.tdmedia.com/" title="Optimized Web Site Design in San Diego">optimized web site design in San Diego</a>.