Got ranking woes? There are no shortcuts to building your page rank. You can advertise but doing so won’t help a lot if your site isn’t search engine friendly. Get ranking the right way. Here’s a brief overview of steps you can take right now that will help solve your problems.
Provide Interesting Content
Why should I link to you if your site doesn’t have anything for me? Give me some reason to come back to your site and I may post a link to it. If all you offer is self-promotion I may visit once. If you can answer real questions about your product or services, if you can give me useful information about something related to your field that isn’t just marketing speak, then you will be worth linking to.
Add More Content
Do you sell blue widgets and red widgets? Rather than have a color selector, why not create two different product pages (linked to each other, of course). Use customized titles and text for each. For example, you could use the following page titles:
- Blue Widget – Make Your Vacuum Work Better.
- Red Widget – Supercharge Your Hoover
Doing so will help you rank better for both specific terms, rather than a single, more general term. Specific terms tend to convert to sales better than more general terms.
Provide New Content
If visited your site a couple of months ago and remember it you’ve done a good initial job. If the content hasn’t changed or been added to then you are now less interesting. Visitors see you that way. Search engines rank you that way. If you want a good search engine ranking keep your site current.
Use Better Page Titles
Got a term you’re trying to rank for? Make sure it’s in your page title. In most keyword spaces, this step alone will get noticeably improve your ranking. For competitive terms, you’ll need to do more. If your page title is generated from a content management system or shopping cart that fills your page titles with lots of strange symbols. Change systems. Titles should make sense to people. If they do, search engines will have no problem with them.
Structure Your Content
Notice how this article uses headings to define page sections? Search engines love that style of writing. The more you properly use heading tags, especially if you include keywords in them, the better. These are real heading tags, h1, h2, h3, etc. and not just bold or styled text. Think outline structure.
Link Building Strategies
If nobody links to you Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc. will not give you a good ranking. It’s the sad but simple truth. The fastest way to get added to the index is to get links from already established websites that are related to your industry but aren’t direct competitors. Here are some low cost methods of building links. They all involve time and writing but have the advantage of being free.
Post Blog Comments
My favorite way to build inbound links is to comment intelligently on related blog posts. Most blog comment forms allow you to enter a URL. Enter yours, and then say something witty or insightful about the blog post. Don’t re-post your link, or include any spammy promotional messages.
Give yourself plenty of time, and try to post at least ten comments per week. Some blogs use the nofollow attribute, so some comments won’t be counted — but if you post something intelligent, the blogger might just blog about you in their next post. Participate in Message Boards
Participate in Forums
Find several forums that are related to your business or organization. Most message forums allow you to include links in your signature that appears below every post. As with blog comments, don’t post promotional messages. Just participate in the community and be a positive and helpful voice. I’ve not only built my search engine rankings that way, I’ve gotten clients who see me as an expert.
Many websites are actively looking for people to contribute high quality content. You probably won’t get paid but you will be able to include your site address in your byline. Publish enough and you will start to be recognized as an expert in your field and people will come to your site to learn from you. If they like what they see they will often link to it.
Do Your Keyword Homework
An entire industry has arisen around keyword research. Some of the people in it will actually be worth the high rates they charge. Many won’t. Keyword research is not rocket science. Read some articles. Pick up a book. Visit Wordtracker. Read sites like Search Engine Guide, seomoz, High Rankings Advisor, and Traffick.
You’re also more likely to rank in the critical top three positions if you target more specific terms. According to a recent eyetracking study from Eyetools, visibility declines rapidly beyond beyond the top three listings. The number 10 spot, for instance, is only seen 20% of the time.
In other words, if your keyword is searched 100 times, and you’re in position 10 in the SERP, your link is only seen 20 times.
Use Cleaner Code
- HTML tables that aren’t specifically for tabular data, should be removed in favor of lighter-weight CSS layout.
- CSS should be stored in a separate file and linked with the link element.
Make Sure That All Content is Accessible
Fix Common Mistakes
Be sure you’re not making any of the most common SEO mistakes. In particular, make sure you have text navigation (you can overlay graphics for style-aware browsers), and that your critical keyword-loaded content isn’t buried in flash objects that search engines might struggle to digest. Make sure that your code validates. Broken code might display fine but make stop the search engine from fully indexing your pages.
Use Flash only to provide real value to your visitors. There are good reasons to use Flash, but most of the Flash I see is not necessary, and hurts both rankings and usability. If you do need Flash make sure that your designer knows how to incorporate accessibility into your movies or at least provide alternative content that search engines can read.
- Use automated site submit services. This can actually get your site red flagged, and delay your rankings.
- Add your site to link farms. Such links can also hurt you.
- Spam — people, blogs, forums, or search engines.