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Optimize Your Web Site
by Brian D. Chmielewski
At one time or another, I have discussed the importance of optimizing
your HTML code for the major search engines. Today I will bring
several ideas together in an attempt to crystallize them for improving
Between 70 and 80 percent of traffic that is driven to your web site
originates from the major search engines. That metric indicates
traffic, not sales. If most people share my surfing behaviors, they
would type in a keyword at a search engine and then sort through the
top ten to twenty results, actually clicking through an even smaller
percentage. So, listing near the top and speaking to your target
audience in the proper way are very important. There are six
components of the web page that you should pay strict attention to
when preparing a page for listing in a search engine.
The first step toward improved listing is selecting the best keywords
to do the job. Keywords are the foundation for your presence in the
search engines. Applying the same keywords throughout each component
is very important, so converging upon a specific collection of
keywords is very important.
How do I choose effective keywords?
You should already have some idea of the keywords or keyword
combinations (keyword phrases) that you will want to use. To get a
comprehensive idea of all of the keywords that could assist you with
your optimization, there are two things that you should do. First grab
an online or print Thesaurus. Investigate synonyms for your original
keywords. Write these words down on a sheet of paper. Next, perform
searches at each of the major engines for your original keywords
and keyword phrases. Pay close attention to the web sites that rank 1
through 10. You will notice that the sites do not always rank in the
same location and some do only appear on one engine. View the source
code of these pages, looking for patterns and placement of keywords in
the <TITLE>, <META> <BODY> and <ALT> tags. Next,
search for your known
competitor's web sites and view the HTML source code and their site
text. Noticing patterns is your key to advanced ranking above them.
Rather than visiting each engine and performing a search, you can
simply use RankThis! < http://www.rankthis.com >. RankThis! allows URL
searching of all of the major search engines by keyword or keyword
phrase - all at one location.
Since the title tag is the first thing that a user sees if your web
site is returned for their keyword query, it is a very important.
Place those keywords that are most pertinent to your business in the
title tag. When you select title tag keywords, you should be thinking
of them like the words on a nameplate on the entrance to a business.
Effective title tags include relevant keyword or keyword phrases only.
They also avoid non-indexing filler words, such as a, an, the, welcome
and home page. Example: <TITLE>uPromote - Center for Intelligent
META keywords tag
These tags are HTML code that permit a web site developer to tell
search engine algorithms what keywords are relevant to their site. The
META keywords tag is your location in the HTML code for the placement
of keywords and keyword phrases. Presently, META Tags are supported by
AltaVista, Infoseek and HotBot. Example: <META Name="keywords"
Content="web marketing, online promotions, promote, internet
marketing, search engine submissions...">
META description tag
Similar to the keywords tag, this tag offers behind-the-scenes
placement of additional keywords. Some search engines use this
information to derive your site's description and some search engines
use this information in developing your web site's relevancy for a
particular search term. Example: <META Name="description" Content="Use
our intelligent Internet marketing programs to drive qualified traffic
to your web site. Choose a custom tailored web site promotion or an
individual Web marketing solution to promote your web site traffic.
More about keywords
It is good to have a broad set of keywords to begin with, but what
really matters are the specific keywords used by surfers to find your
web site. Using the leader page strategy can help you to reduce the
unnecessary overhead of unexhausted keywords. To initiate this tactic,
break your larger set of keywords into smaller subsets. Place one set
of keywords into a web page that is indicated by the URL
www.yourdomain.com/index1.html, a second set of keywords at
www.yourdomain.com/index2.html and so on with the remainder of your
keywords. Submit each of these pages to the search engines and watch
your server logs. Based on which pages are more popular, you will know
what your customers are typing in to find you on the Web. uPromote's
Optimization Guide explains this process for each engine in detail.
Alt Tags are the HTML code that allow you to add keyword significance
to images. Using this tag adds additional keyword relevance for search
engines to index. This tag also enables visible text to be present
when the 'view images' preference is turned off in browser. Example:
<IMG SRC="/images/picture.gif" BORDER="0" ALT="web site
Side Note: Remember to use images sparingly in a web page. Words in
images cannot be read by search engine spiders, since they are part of
a graphic. No valid ranking information is available for images that
don't use ALT Tags. Also, every image should have some relevant
symbolism or functionality. The proper use of images and ALT tags
improves web page load time, improves potential for high placement and
improves user's experience at your web site.
Many people forget to make pages that they want to perform well in the
engines focused for certain keywords. Use targeted keywords in the
pages that you wish to rank in the engines. Create multiple
keyword-centric pages for advantageous listing for each of your
keywords. Use additional pages that you are less concerned with to add
detail to the keyword-centric pages. When writing the content of your
body, be aware of keyword placement, use keyword and keyword phases.
use synonyms of your keywords and don't be verbose. This will assist
you in improving the ranking of each page for a particular keyword,
while enhancing the user's experience.
You can check out the most recent specs for the search engines at
Once your web site is optimized, use
uPromote Directory Submissions to get the best
for your site in the search engines.
First published in WebPromote's August 1998, Vol 4 newsletter.