How To Use Search Engine Optimization to Achieve a Higher Rank
If you designed your own site, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to work promoting your site via search engines. But first you need to determine how compatible your existing site is and whether or not it needs optimization. A good starting point is to take our fun quiz, How Compatible is Your Site With Search Engines? If you've got the time, go ahead, take that quiz. It should only take 10 minutes or so. Come back here when you're done. I'll wait (-;
Back yet? Discovered your site needs some optimization work to make it more compatible? Don't panic! It's not as complex as it sounds. But what exactly is search engine optimization?
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Simply explained, it is the technique of attaining a high ranking in search engines and directories via changes to your site code to make it more search engine compatible. If you are keen to optimize your own site, I suggest skipping straight to our SEO training courses.
Did you know that most search engines can't "read" graphics? Did you also know that key search words and phrases in your "title tag", "META tags" (in the HTML script of your site) and body text are often very important references that search engines analyze when ranking web sites for search relevancy? Optimizing your title tags, meta tags and your body text for search engines gives it a much better chance of ranking highly for particular words or phrases that you would expect potential visitors to type in to search engines to find your site.
For example, if you are a Miami florist, you should have logical search phrases such as "flowers", "Miami florists", "bouquets Miami" and even target search terms such as "Miami weddings", "Valentine's Day gifts" etc integrated in your title and meta tags, as well as in the visible text of your site. That way, if anyone types in those phrases in a search engine, your site is more likely to appear higher in the search results.
Whose Job is It?
So why wasn't your site optimized for search engines when it was built? Depending on who developed your site and how it was built, you'll find a million different reasons for this. Many web developers believe it is the site marketer's job to ensure the site is found in search engines and vice versa. Most don't bother submitting your site to the important search engines, assuming you or your marketing department will do it. Or perhaps it wasn't in your original development budget.
Not many web design firms know how or have time to optimize a site successfully, no matter what they tell you. They might feel it is outside their core business, or they might believe it is not part of the *design process*. Worse, some don't even realize it is necessary!
As a result, your site can be launched for many months without the search engines having any idea it exists. Some web development firms don't include even the most basic META tags in your site code when building it. Or those that do include META tags and optimized text without close consultation with you, resulting in the wrong search terms used and poor performance. This is quite typical! Remember that search engine optimization is a relatively new science and requires both client interaction and constant monitoring to be successful.
The Road to Higher Rankings Starts Here
The bottom line? If your designer can't show you the high rankings they've achieved for other clients, they won't be able to optimize your site properly. Search engine optimization (SEO) specialists such as our own company Web Rank have sprung up to fill the need for these services. Many SEO's will work either directly with you or with your web site designer to ensure your site gets the exposure it deserves in the most popular search engines and directories. Find a specialist with a good track record and reap the results. Or, if you have the time, you can take a search engine marketing course and learn how to optimize your own site. We have plenty of resources to get you started here.
Remember, search engine users generally only explore the first 10 or 20 sites in the search results. If you site isn't in the top 20, you won't be found, it's as simple as that. You should always include search engine optimization in your marketing budget or your site could be as effective as a billboard at the end of a dead end street. So what are you waiting for? Make a selection from the menu on the left and start the journey towards higher rankings NOW!
Got a search engine question? Check out our Search Engine Advice Column
Today's Visitor Feedback:
I love your blog! It's helping us to learn more about the activities and needs of users, advertisers and website publishers in Australia and New Zealand. Keep it coming!