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5 Steps to Top 10 SE Placement

5 Steps to Top 10 SE Placement

March 25, 2003
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" Ensuring that your pages offer adequate content that is truly relevant to your targeted key words and phrases is arguably the number one factor in being appropriately ranked. "

One of XBiz newest members came to our boards posting a wealth of information for folks desperately trying to improve their Search Engine rankings. While his nickname is “new_BEE” his recommendations show that he is anything but a “newbie.” Follow along and learn how to improve your ranking...

1. Use Your Main Keyword in Your URL
Lets say you have a site describing the rise and fall of Napoleon. I have a number of choices. You could go for something like:

• 'historystuff.com', or maybe
• 'riseandfallofnapoleon.com, or,
• 'rise-and-fall-of-napoleon.com'

Guess what? I ALWAYS go for the last one. It's obvious why... descriptive of what the site is AND easy to remember. I would always recommend going for the domain name that best describes the site and is most easily remembered.

Note: I see lots of people calling those ‘spam techniques’, ‘too many hyphens,’ etc. Rubbish! That's transfixion with SEO.

2. Separate URL Keywords With Hyphens
Doing so will make it easier for the search engine to locate that keyword when spidering your site. Lets say your main site is about history and has a page about the “rise and fall of Napoleon” for best placement, you should name it: http://my-domain.com/rise-and-fall-of-napoleon.htm instead of something like http://my-domain.com/riseandfallofnapoleon.htm

3. Try to Get Many Relevant Sites Linking to You
The process of developing an inbound-linking program is much more administrative than you might think. For example, let's say you have identified 50 sites that you'd like to have link back to your site. Now comes the hard part: You need to ask these sites to set up links back to your site. As you approach these sites, here's a list of the most important data you'll need to manage:

  • The name of the site
  • The URL
  • The name and email address of the person who runs the site
  • The date you contact the person who runs the site and the date he responds
  • The resulting deal (Some will say yes, some will say no, others will not reply at all, others will want a link back from you, some may want money for links, some will be out of town and take weeks to reply, etc.)
  • The status of the deal
  • Verifying that the link is in place
  • Checking the site periodically for the link (Yes, some folks swap links and then pull yours for odd reasons)

So, as you can see, at any given point in your inbound-link campaign, you have many sites and link-negotiation deals to keep track of. And remember that linking campaigns never really end; you should constantly be looking for sites from which to set up inbound links.

The main problem is judging performance. If you pay someone only for the links he or she generates for you, then he or she will be more inclined to look for the sites that are most likely to grant a link, regardless of the site's quality. There are a million free-for-all-links pages out there; but I wouldn't pay a cent to be on any of them, because their quality is poor. So, if you opt to pay based on numbers of links generated, set some quality-control standards right up front. And reserve the right of approval for any link deals.

Note: Don’t link to FFA or LP (laundry-list link list). To improve link popularity for searchers, the links to your site need to originate as close to the top level on the originating site as possible. Link originating beyond the third or fourth level is still important if the originating site is topically relevant and useful. Yahoo! is a good example. Most sites linked by Yahoo! originate far beyond Yahoo’s third directory level. Finally, from every page, link to one or two high ranking sites under that particular keyword. Use your keyword in the link text (this is ultra important).

4. Include Good, Relevant Content
Ensuring that your pages offer adequate content that is truly relevant to your targeted key words and phrases is arguably the number one factor in being appropriately ranked. I say ‘arguably’ because nowadays it really seems that ‘money’ is the number one factor, but this I assert means inappropriate page ranking. If you have more time than money, then ensuring that each of your SE submitted pages offers at least 500 words of text on it will help you to get a decent ranking.

Keep your pages both logical and readable, and use the same key words and phrases that you used in your META tags.

  • Don’t use invisible text, invisible links, or deep redirects
  • Don’t exceed a key word density of 15% or you’ll be penalized for SE spamming
  • Try not to use small text sizes. SE’s don’t like them.
  • Don’t use excessively large pages. Try to keep them under 60k
  • Use bold key words in your page content and try to make key words a little larger than regular text if possible – spiders love big text sizes
  • Don’t put all kinds of key word saturated text at the bottom of your page (many people do). It’s a waste of time and can even get you penalized!
  • If your page has lots of banners, use ALT tags

5. Place Main Keywords in Hyperlinks
Link to on-topic quality content across your site. If a page is about food, then make sure it links it to the apples and veggies page. Specifically with Google, on-topic cross linking is very important for sharing your PR value across your site. You do NOT want an "all star" page that out performs the rest of your site. You want 50 pages that produce 1 referral each a day and do NOT want 1 page that produces 50 referrals a day. If you do find one page that drastically out produces the rest of the site with Google, you need to off load some of that PR value to other pages by cross linking heavily. It's the old share the wealth thing…

What ever you do keep it simple - simple is retro cool… and that’s what surfers want! The simpler the better. Rule of thumb: text content should out weigh the HTML content. The pages should validate and be usable in everything from Lynx to leading edge browsers. eg: keep it close to HTML 3.2 if you can.

Spiders are not to the point where they really like eating HTML 4.0 and the mess that it can bring. Stay away from heavy: Flash, DOM, Java, JavaScript. Try to go external with scripting languages if you must have them - there is little reason to have them that I can see - they will rarely help a site and stand to hurt it greatly due to many factors most people don't appreciate (search engine’s distaste for JS is just one of them).

Arrange sites in a logical manner with directory names hitting the top keywords you wish to hit. You can also go the other route and just throw everything in root (this is rather controversial, but it's been producing good, long-term results across many engines). Don't clutter and don't spam your site with frivolous links like "best viewed" or other counter-like junk. Keep it clean and professional to the best of your ability.

Speed isn't everything, it's the only thing. Your site should respond instantly to a request. If you get into even 3-4 seconds delay until "something happens" in the browser, you are in for long-term trouble. That 3-4 seconds response time may vary for sites destined to live in other countries than your native one. The site should respond locally within 3-4 seconds (max) to any request. Longer than that, and you'll lose 10% of your audience for every second. That 10% could be the difference between success and failure.

Remember; if you try to apply all these tactics to your web page, SE spiders will love your page – but surfers will not! That’s where Doorways, Gateways and Mirrors come into action…


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