Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

In an increasingly competitive business environment, it’s not enough just to have a web site. Your web site must be properly designed, maintained and marketed. If your site has been online for even a few months, it might have broken links, incorrect or missing meta tags and keywords, And may not be taking full advantage of current browser and web server technology.

Search Engine Optimization requires careful attention to the keywords used on each page of your website, how you use graphics and text, and how you market yourself to search engines. SEO can make a huge difference in the amount of traffic your site receives, and the types of sales leads you’ll get from your website. In addition to website analysis we can help you optimize your website for best placement on Google and other search engines.

Why isn’t my website in the Top 10 when I search?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions we get. It is also one of the most complicated questions to answer. It can be a difficult and time consuming process to achieve a high ranking and keep it over an extended period of time.

How Search Engines Work

Search engines use a program called a spider or robot to read through your web pages and generate a ranking based on the content within those pages. The more your keywords are reflected in the content on your page, the higher your page ranking. While this seems like a simple equation, there are many other factors considered by the spider in determining what your final ranking will be. In addition, each of the different engines puts more or less weight on those factors, so changing something may give you a better rank on one search engine and cause you to have a lower rank on another.

Factors That Affect Your Ranking

The single most important factor is: how many people link to your site (i.e., how popular is your site). This one can’t be underestimated or ignored. For Google, your link popularity ranking is about half of your total ranking. Search engines determine how relevant or important your content is based on the number of links TO you. More links imply that you are authoritative in your subject matter, or have something interesting to say. The most important thing you can do to improve your ranking is to get listed on as many quality websites as possible. Note that this can also work against you if you have lots of links to your site on unrelated or poor quality websites.

Other factors are: How long the website has been online, what rank you had the last time the search engine read your site, and in some cases, they even track how much traffic your site gets and the sites with more traffic will get a better rank.

Flash content can seriously hurt your ranking. The problem is that Flash is self-contained, mostly graphics and animation, and search engines can only read text. If you use Flash on your site, use it sparingly, and make sure that it is NOT your entire page layout. A Flash site that is entirely contained within one Flash object will be almost invisible to the search engines.

Good content is essential. Pick your keywords carefully, so they aren’t too generic, and try searching using the words and phrases you think your customers would use. Take a close look at the content on the resulting pages. Make sure that your content is better. You can use a keyword analysis utility (there are several available online) that will parse your pages and show you the number of occurrences of your keywords/phrases. Rewrite your page to maximize the number of occurrences of your keyword or phrase (but don’t overdo it). Also make sure that each page of your site targets a different keyword/phrase, and edit those pages accordingly.

Metatags were once thought to be the solution to the problem of determining the right keywords for each page. The page designer would add meta keywords and description, to tell the search engines what the page is about. The problem is that this has invited massive abuse, so most search engines today don’t even bother looking at the meta tags. The best thing to do is use a good page title (the <title> tag and make sure each page has a different and appropriate title, and make sure that each page has a few paragraphs of text that use your desired keywords/phrases.

Summary

The search engine developers make changes on a continuous basis to deal with changing technology, and unfortunately, people who are trying to beat the system or fool the search engines.

The only way to maintain good ranking is to make sure you have relevant and high quality text content on your pages, relevant page titles, lots of links TO your website, and continously monitor your pages and your ranking to adjust to what your competition is doing. For more information or an SEO consultation, please email, or call us at 402-477-8300.