Ranking well under free listings in major search engines basically mean one thing – Lots of free, recurring, and targeted traffic. Major search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN can be very powerful weapons in your internet marketing, if you know how to optimize your website to rank highly for your keywords. This article will focus on how you can optimize your website to rank on top positions in search engines.
Getting listed on search engines is one thing, optimizing for top rankings is a totally different thing altogether. If you type in any keyword, results shown may run into millions of pages. Visitors would normally focus their attention on first page of their search results, and few would browse to more than first three pages. It is thus crucial to rank your website on first page for your target keywords, or visitors would not find your site at all.
The three major search engines you should focus on are Google, Yahoo and MSN. Together, these search engines constitute more than 90% of searches done online. With an audience reach of more than 50% of internet community, Google is, by far, most powerful search engine for free listings. Because its results are completely determined by algorithms, its listings are totally unbiased and ‘pure’. Other search engines may contain sponsored listings as well as free listings. Thus, visitors are likely to go straight to Google when looking for ‘pure’ search results, and this is search engine you should focus on for optimization.
Note that since Google changes its algorithm very frequently, you have to continually keep updated on latest changes to search engine industry to keep your site on top of search engines.
Search engine optimization (especially for Google) basically comprises of two factors: on-page optimization and off-page optimization. On-page optimization involves manipulation of page components like titles, content and text links, to rank well for Google. Off-page optimization involves getting more links from other websites directed to your website.
On-page optimization. There are several on-page ranking factors for your website:
1) Title tag. When giving your website your title, you should include only your main keywords. The title must also be as concise and short as possible, and not include many redundant words. Do not include words like ‘and’, you can instead use symbols like a ‘dash’ to separate your title words. Fewer unnecessary words would give each of other title keywords greater weight, and thus a higher ranking for your site.
2) Good content. All search engines base their search results on content you have on your webpages, and how well they relate to keywords you want to optimize your website for. It is best if you write your website content on your own to prevent copyright violations, and to be able to control exactly content you want to place on your website. Search engine spiders like Googlebot also determine your ranking based on keyword density on your website. Keyword density is ratio of number of times that your keywords appear throughout your content to total number of words. When writing content, you should place your keywords evenly throughout your content. Use your keyword once in every one to two paragraphs, and also once in first and last paragraphs.
3) Header tags. The Header 1 tags of your website should include your main keywords, and Header 2 tags should include your secondary keywords.
4) Bolding and Italicizing. Whenever possible, you can bold or italicize your keywords throughout your content, as search engines to place greater weight on bold or italic words.
Off-page optimization. Off-page ranking factors are really what make a HUGE difference to your rankings, and search engines like Google may place up to 90% of their emphasis on off-page factors. They can mean a difference between ranked in thousands, or on first page. From this you can see great importance of focusing on off-page optimization. The off-page factors are: