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SEO--How To Turn Your Website Into A Search Engine Darling (Prt I)
So you've laboured, sweated and poured lotsa love into designing and building your website. And phewee...ain't it just the prettiest thing for sore eyes! But just as in real life--so goes it for the online world--beauty will only get you so far. So you've got to put that site to work! And how do you do that? Get it out there...put it right in the bulls eye of the search engines! That's the way you're going to get traffic to your site. And just in case you don't know, traffic (specifically targeted traffic) is the life blood of any internet business.
At the close of 2005 the big kahuna...the absolute capo di tutti frutti of search was Google which commanded a whopping 46-47 percent of all searches conducted online. The runner up was Yahoo with about 25 % and followed distantly by MSN who conducted about 11.4 % of all searches. AOL boasted a paltry 6.9 % which still came to a not insubstantial 350 million searches. Searches through Google were a mind-sweltering 2.4 billion! Contrastingly MSN is the king of superfast indexing whilst Google is the snail in the site-indexing race. Yahoo once again falls in the middle of the two. So bear in mind, if your site is new and you're optimizing for Google don't forget about the other Big Two search engines (Yahoo and MSN) which can send some rather decent traffic your way in the meanwhile.
There are two types of optimization techniques that will determine your website's standing with the search engines. They are: On-Page Search Optimization and Off-Page Search Optimization. This article will give you pointers on On-Page Optimization.
On-Page Optimization of Your Site
The first thing you must learn to do is to treat each webpage on your site as (if not quite independent) an autonomous entity. In essence this means a different title for each page and targeting different keywords for a particular page. Let's say for example your site is about vitamins and has a number of different pages for the various vitamins. Your home page (index page) would target general keywords such as vitamin, health supplement, dietary supplement, food vitamin etc. But a page with content about vitamin C should not target such generalized terms. It should target keywords (phrases) specifically related to vitamin c such as: vitamin c, c vitamin, ascorbic acid, benefit of vitamin c and so on. The title of each particular page should begin with your most valued (most searched for) keyword. Once again using vitamin C as an example, your webpage title should begin with Vitamin C and not something like 'All the facts about vitamin c'. If you actually design and construct your website from scratch you can even go a step further. Name your webpage files starting with the targeted keyword. Once again, taking your vitamin site as an example, for pages relevant to vitamin C, name them accordingly. So say one of the pages is about the benefits of vitamin C, name that page with a searched for keyword or phrase pertaining to the benefits of vitamin C; e.g., vitamincbenefits.htm. So how do you know which keywords are regularly searched for? Don't worry at the end of this article you'll be supplied with a list of great and free keyword search tools.
Nobody gets to see the name of your file other than you the webmaster and the various search engine robots. So it doesn't matter how awkward they look or sound because unlike people a search engine robot is not concerned with the aesthetics of a thing.
Keyword Density Versus Content.
While making your webpage as attractive as possible to the search engines bear in mind you're doing this to get traffic...human traffic. So the content (copy) on your pages should read attractively to your human visitors while also appealing to the search engine robots. In this respect keyword optimization is a fine balancing act and if push ever comes to shove you'd be better off weighing this balance in favor of your human visitors. After all what's the point of having a ton of traffic passing through your site and hardly any of it performing your most desired action (visitors buying something, signing up etc) all because of that lousy copy you wrote with the search engine robots foremost in mind!
There are also other very important factors to consider when optimizing for keywords. How many keywords (phrases) should you consider for a given page and how many times should that/those words appear on that page. Okay, the first thing that you have to understand is that there is such a thing as a website being Over-Optimized! You may believe that the greater the optimization the better but the reality is more complicated. You see the search engine algorithms take into account the keyword density of a particular page, and by doing in-depth analyses of the topmost websites for a given keyword (for Google, speculation puts the ideal keyword density at between 1.5 - 1.8 % while MSN runs up to 3.0 %, with consistent ole Yahoo somewhere in the middle) they will know that something just isn't right if your website boasts a keyword density of 10%. This is know as spamming the search engines and sends up an immediate red flag alert.
So what's the penalty? Your site won't get the ranking it perhaps deserves if it's new, and if it is an established site it will most likely be taken down a notch or two. Another factor to consider if your site is new, is that Google routinely sequesters new sites (a process called sandboxing) until the site can establish value and credibility. This is all part of the on-going battle between search engines (trying to deliver valuable and worthwhile information to search queries) and the spam websites that offer no substantial value whatsoever, but are keyword dense one-page websites with the sole goal of making money online in some manner or other.
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About the Author: Ba Kiwanuka is the owner of Internet Business Mart