Search engine optimization or SEO. Some call it the holy grail of succeeding online. Some view it as full of mystery and secret knowledge that only a few who are “in the know” can actually master. Still others like James Brausch will ask why someone could possibly think that they can optimize a search engine? Search Engine Optimization, optimize a search engine. Good one James. Perhaps WSO or web site optimization would be a more accurate term. Hmmm
Anyway, there are various ranking factors that influence how you will fare in the search engines. A few weeks ago James Brausch released his predictive analysis of the latest Google data. Here is his breakdown for the highest predictability results:
Nemeas (domain name & structure) Factors: 18.2%
RaSof (on page) Factors: 43.8%
Link Factors: 38.1%
What I’d like to cover are some of the on page factors that I have used that have given me significant results. First of all, you should know what keywords that you want to optimize your site for. I like using WordTracker for getting a feel for what terms the most people are searching for. Your stats are also a great resource for finding the keywords that people used to find your site via a search engine. Here are some on-page factors that you can use to crank your rankings:
Title – What you have in your page title is a biggie. You should use highly searched terms relevant to your site here. I’ve read that having your keyword(s) at the beginning or end of your title works best. I don’t have facts to back that up, but I’ve gotten my best results this way.
Anchor Text – This is the text in a hyperlink. For example – Internet Business Blog would be the key phrase that I would use in my anchor text to rank for “internet business blog”. Be sure to take advantage of anchor text. Many people waste perfectly good hyperlinks with totally irrelevant phrases such as “Click Here“. I’ve found many times that if I refer to another website with a good keyword, it boosts my own website for that term. Don’t forget the title text. You can enhance your link power with an extra phrase or word in your title text. This would go after your “href” URL. For example – <a href=”http://somesite.com” title=”great keyword”>
Images & Alt Text – When you add images to your website, be sure to name your image with a decent keyword. You’d be surprised how much extra traffic you could pick up from Google or Yahoo! image searches. Alt text is often ignored too. Use the alt text every time you use images.
Header & Footer – Bold text and <h1, h2> text in your header contribute to your on page factors as well. Even bolded text within the body of your content will make a difference. Be sure to have keyword rich links in your footer as well. The footer is a significant area to your on page ranking.
Obviously you will want to sprinkle your keywords throughout the body of your content as well. Don’t over do it and always write your content for your readers FIRST. If you don’t, your content will lose value by sounding unnatural and keyword stuffed. This will immediately drop your credibility down to the neighborhood of the MFA junk sites.
As shown in James Brausch’s stats above, domain name/structure and back links account for another 56.3% of the factors involved for a top Google rating. Deciding on your domain name and its structure comes before you build your website. On page factors come as you create your site, when you add new content, and when you’re ratcheting your site for better search engine results. Finally, getting back links is something that you always want to work on for the lifetime of your site.
Following these simple steps can boost your website from being off the radar to enjoying a high ranking in the search engines. By combining all of the three major ranking factors, you are bound to nail a top spot in the search engines.