Webmaster Tips &
According to Matt Cutts, there are over 100 factors that affect
search engine ranking. For those of you who don't know, Matt is a
Google guy guru, he is employed by Google but writes an independent
blog and shares information related to Google and search engine
optimization. Unfortunately, of those 100 items that account for
search engine ranking, there are only a few that webmasters can
Unless you are a interested in an exercise of futility, it is
important to only focus on those ranking factors that you, as a
webmaster, can control and influence.
What are Search Engine factors do webmasters control?
Outside of the obvious (webpage title and description) those items
which the webmaster has the most control are: PageRank, TrustRank,
Anchor Text, Keyword Density, Domain Age, URL, and Relevant Links.
How can a webmaster use these items to help ranking?
First off--the obvious, each and every web page should have a
descriptive page specific title and description. The title,
description, and header tags are channels to communicate the most
important details of a specific webpage. They should be used
effectively, but not be abused. The web page should make use of h1
and h2 tags (header tags) to emphasize pertinent keywords and
Particular attention should be paid when formatting urls. Keywords
related to the webpage can and should be used in the webpage urls.
Use hyphens rather than underscores between the keywords. Search
engines are designed by developers and programming languages will
recognize a hyphen and distinguish separate words, while an
underscore blends the words. Keywords in the URL should not be
abused, as search engines do not appreciate excessively long urls.
Avoid using characters like ID= in the URL as many search engines
will see it as a unique session ID and not spider the contents of
The website's navigation depth should not exceed 3-4 levels. The
shallow website depth will make a search engines deep crawl easier,
ensuring that will be able to spider the entire contents of your
website. If you add a new page and wish for it to be spidered
quickly add a link to it from an existing spidered web page.
Domain hosting and location do matter! A .uk domain and a webhost
located in the UK will increase the domains search engine position
in any .uk search engine. If you are targeting a specific region or
market consider purchasing a local domain.
Obviously you control the websites content;bad content or no content
means no incoming links. Good content has the potential to attract
good quality unsolicited links.
What kinds of content generally attract quality links?
The idea is develop quality content that will result in incoming
links. Think of JibJab, http://www.jibjab.com they portrayed a
controversial subject in a humorous way without alienating their
audience. While JibJab was able to garner a lot of attention, its a
tricky tight-rope to walk. Consider adding tutorials that explain a
specific technology, create a niche directory or a topic specific
glossary, post industry news, maintain a blog with fresh content, or
write how to articles.
Take advantage of your content. If you write a press release don't
just send it to the editors, add it to your website in a press
center. Submit the press release to public relations websites. There
area a number of press related websites like PRWeb that are really
good and all will result in good quality incoming links back to your
website. Also add your press release(s) to an RSS feed, not only
with this communicate with your customers that new products or
updates are available but you will also benefit from links from RSS
search engines and directories.
When you post a release or content that has genuine value, use
social bookmarking tools (like digg, del.icio.us, furl) to bookmark
the contents. These social bookmarking sites are becoming
increasingly important in weighing the value of a site. The large
search engines do not yet use social bookmarking in their
algorithms, but it is quite possible and highly likely that they
will in the future. If the webpage/content has genuine value others
will social bookmark it as well. The bookmarks are viral and with
increasing popularity there is more emphasis placed on the content.
Additionally, bloggers notoriously skim social bookmarking sites for
content to write about which will result in additional links. Keep
in mind that in order to bookmark a webpage, it really must have
Before we talk more about links, there are a few warnings worth
What are the link warnings?
The first is to attain links gradually, search engines prefer links
obtained over time rather than links achieved all at once. Avoid
link schemes, link farms, or overt reciprocal links, they can be
time consuming and have very little benefit. Avoid links on the C
block. If you own multiple domains, be sure not to triangulate
links. Search engines have become wise to this and they prefer a
linking scheme that is more like a star (or web).
What keywords should you optimize for?
When determining what keywords to optimize a website for, there are
a number of tools that will assess the number of times that a
keyword or phrase is searched on, the number of websites/webpages
competing for that keyword or phrase, and rate the phrase.
Obviously, the terms that have more searches and less competition
are the best to optimize for--if, and only if, they relate to your
product or service. If you optimize for terms that are either too
broad, you will likely increase traffic but decrease your
conversions. It is really a balancing act. Two of the more popular
tools available are Keyword Discovery and Word Tracker. Also, talk
to friends or family members and ask what phrases they would use to
describe your product or service. You might be surprised with the
terms they use. Consider optimizing for regional variations, look at
the variety of terms used to describe soda - tonic, pop, soda, soda
pop, or cola all are relevant and popular but only within a specific
region. Examine web logs to determine what your users are using,
look at the language used in emails and forum posts and consider
optimizing specific pages for popular descriptive terms.
And finally, use competitive intelligence to locate links and
keywords. What are your competitors using? Analyze the adwords they
bid on, look at their meta tags, look at their anchor links.
There is a wealth of information out there, no real mystery to it,
so use it to your advantage.
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll
http://www.feedforall.com software for creating, editing, publishing
RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for
NotePage http://www.notepage.net a wireless text messaging software
To get started, request a free quote today.