High Search Engine Placement

High Search Engine Placement is the result of many factors. Here is a 'cheat sheet' guide to some of the 'geek speak' involved :-)

Higher Search Engine Placement is something that can help you make the most of your investment in a web site.

For many people not used to the jargon is that there are so many techniques, it's all a bit too confusing, so we decided to put together this page to help you understand 'geek speak' - the words and phrases that the experts you encounter when you are seeking high search engine placement for your web site will be using to describe what they do and how they can change your life (and yes - we are guilty of speaking geek from time to time!). 

So here's our selection of terms related to high search engine placement:

Alt-Tag for Images - Used to attach a text description to images. Describes pictures for people who are surfing the web with graphics display switched off. Has a minor affect on search engine placement but should be used consistently. 

Articles - Very specific essays about specific subjects. You normally submit your articles to Article Directories and allow others to download and use your content on their web site (with attribution to you of course). Good articles can significantly increase the number and quality of incoming links to your site which in turn will improve your search engine placement. 

Automated Page Creation - A wide range of tools that grab selected content from a variety of web sources (other web sites, Articles, RSS Feeds, Blogs, Amazon etc) and merge via templates into a new site. Works well as far as high search engine placement is concerned but the long term prospects for this approach are doubtful because it verges on spam. (See 'Spamming' below)

Blogging - The process of keeping an on-line diary about - well - anything. Expected to revolutionise publishing. Like articles (see above) you can embed links to your web site into the content to help increase incoming links to your site. Many blogging services are free - for example www.blogger.com is part of Google. 

Description Tag - An important tag for every web page. You should include keywords in the Description Tag. Because this content is often displayed on search engine results the content for this tag should succinctly describe the content for the the page and it also give people a reason to click on the link.

Directory Category - There are Search Engines and Directories on the Internet. For example Google is a Search Engine - Yahoo and DMOZ are Directories. It is important that you get your site in the right directory category otherwise it will never be seen by your target audience. 

Domain and Company Names - There is a good argument for every company to have at least two web sites. One site leverages the traditional 'bricks and mortar' brand. The other site(s) target the solutions your company provides - for example you might have www.acme.com for your company name site and www.stainsanddirt.com  to target people who have never heard of your company name but who are looking for products that deal with stains and dirt. You gain an advantage by including keywords in your domain name.

Doorway Pages - Pages designed for search engines that target a small number of specific keywords, and often aimed at just one search engine. A useful technique but becoming less effective relative to other techniques as far as high search engine placement is concerned. A better option for most sites is the combination of a good Site Map and clean links to individually 'keyword optimized' pages.  A site map should be included in any site containing more than a dozen pages.

Effective Copywriting - The web works on words - not pictures (well not yet anyway). Effective copywriting starts with a focus on your site objectives and then shifts to creating 'killer copy'. The importance of effective copywriting cannot be overstated - it can make a huge impact on the effectiveness of your web site. One important point - no matter how good your headlines and copy seem to be, do not neglect ongoing testing - without question testing can improve what appears to be the most effective copyrighting on the planet. 

Frames - A technique for merging several web pages into one visible pages. Unless you have to use them, not recommended as they are not considered search engine friendly.

Gateway Pages - A variation on Doorway Pages (see above). The idea is/was to put a page on a different domain to your main site and point it at your main site - thereby increasing your number number of links and gaining your site high search engine placement. This technique may help improve rank but there are better and smarter ways to do it. For most sites a Site Map is more important.

Header Tags - There are Header Tag Levels 1-6, with the H1 tag being the most important. Not only do they help provide structure for your web page these tags also tell search engines what your page is about. Use them.

Internet Service Provider -  Also know as ISP's these are the people who 'host' your site - i.e. they provide the computer that 'serves' your web site to the world. Aside from the prices and services that they offer, make sure that their equipment is able to handle your expected bandwidth - and that they have not been banned by the search engines for hosting spammers. 

Keywords/KeyPhrases -  The words that people use when searching for information about a particular subject. To get high search engine placement you have web pages that are related keywords that people are searching for. by way of example, 'deer stalking' gets a few hundred searches a month while 'deer hunting' gets tens of thousands of searches - but they both describe the same thing.. 

Keyword Positioning - Where a keyword appears in a web page. For example the most important paces are the Page Title, Page Description and Heading 1 Tags - and in the body of a page it is in the top 1/3 of the content.  

Keyword Prominence - Related to where keywords are on the page as a Search Engine 'sees' them. For example you might have keywords on the top 1/3 of your main content section but as far as the search engines are concerned they may have had to wade through a huge menu structure and several table cells to before they actually come across your keywords. Moral of the story - page structure matters - remember what you are looking at on a page is not what  a search engine sees. Keep your page design simple so the search engines find it easy to index your words.

Keyword Proximity - At the phrase suggest this is about the distance in space, as measured in words, between two words or two key phrases. Too close together and you are spamming - too far apart and you are diluting the effectiveness of your keywords and will have a hard time getting high search engine placement.

Keywords in Hyperlinks - If you can, you need to make sure that the text used in the hyperlinks that point to your pages - via incoming links, internal site page links, menu links etc - are related to the page content the links are pointing to - otherwise you are losing a great opportunity to improve your search engine placement. 

Keywords in Incoming Links - As per keywords in Hyperlinks except the text is used by incoming links. If you have any control over how people link to you, ask them to use specific words in the links - better still offer them the text in HTML format to improve your chances of getting what you want.

Keywords in 'normal' text on your page - You can improve your ranking by putting keywords inside bold tags. For example, the title of this page is 'High Search Engine Placement' - this would display as High Search Engine Placement.

Keywords in Meta Tags - Make sure your keywords appear in the important locations on each of your pages. The Page Title is most important - and yet so many pages fail to put their keywords in the Page Title tag - and in many cases that is why they do not rank well.

Link Exchange Programs - These involve you swapping links between your site and other sites - either via a 1-on-1 process or via membership of a dedicated link exchange site.  Linking is crucial to your success - but you need to do it intelligently - 1000 links from low-traffic and off-topic sites will be outranked by 10 incoming links from high traffic and on-topic sites.

Page Rank - This is a measurement of the importance of your pages on your web site according to Google. It is dependent on links to your site as well as the number of links out from your site (as well as a wide range of secret factors that keep the pundits guessing). The higher the 'PR' of incoming links, the better the impact they will have on your page PR, and the better your chances are of gaining a high search engine placement. 

Refresh Tag - Used to control how long your page is visible to the visitor before they are automatically directed to a different page. While there are many valid uses for this tag, but it is often used as a 'black hat'  search engine optimization technique to 'bait and switch' site visitors. People click on a search engine link expecting one thing and end up seeing another when they arrive at a web site. Avoid such techniques and anyone associated with them - they will get your site banned. 

RSS Feeds - If you haven't come across these, you will. You subscribe to RSS feeds about specific subjects and get updates directly and automatically via a RSS Reader. For web site owners RSS feeds (used responsibly) offer a great way to keep new and fresh content in front of site visitors and to easily keep in touch with specific audiences. You don't need to run a mailing list to get your messages out.

Search Engine Submission - Even Google and Yahoo combined have only indexed a small fraction of the available content on the Internet, so submitting you site to as many search engines as possible is useful - even though most of your traffic will normally come from 4-5 Search Engines / Directories.

Site Popularity - Do not confuse Site Popularity with success - you can have a very popular site that is a complete failure because it is not helping you achieve your objectives. This cautionary advice aside, you can get a good idea about how popular a web site is by checking the number of sites linking to it and it's Alexa Traffic Ranking.

Spamming - DON'T DO IT. Whether it is e-mail, automated page generators, RSS feeds, Blogs - it is a complete pain the the backside. That is why there are more and more laws against it.

Synonyms - When looking for keywords it is sometimes difficult to come up with all of the possible words people might use to when they are seeking the same thing. Use your word processor thesaurus or an online service to generate alternative words and phrases. Also - search engines like Google offer Keyword Suggestion Tools that generate some very interesting variations. And, of course, when it comes to your web pages, synonyms help bolster the relevance of your targeted keywords because they help confirm the relevance of your content. 

Tags - An innocent little word but one that you need to watch. When in doubt ask which tag. All tags are not created equal.

Text Colour - In the early days of the Internet (i.e. a few short years ago) it wasn't uncommon to see people 'keyword stuffing' - using the same word again and again in the hope that it would help their search engine ranking. It looked unsightly so they then decided to make it invisible to visitors by making the text colour the same colour as the page background. Well, that lasted about five minutes, and they lost any high search engine placement they might have had because the technique considered spamming. So, if anyone you are dealing with suggests the technique - fire them!

Title - Last but certainly not least in this quick and dirty overview. Make sure you include your keywords in your Page Title. If you don't you lose any chance of high search engine placement against someone who does.

As we said at the outset this simple guide covers the mainstream techniques used to secure high search engine placement. There are many others.

Referring to this cheat sheet while you're checking out prospective site gurus should help. 

At the very least, by using 'geek speak' in the right context the people you are working with will be inclined to consider more of the items on this check list - which should result in your site getting high search engine placement.

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