Search Engine Optimization
Getting listed in the search engines requires three steps, optimizing the site, reciprocal links, submitting, and following up to keep your site in its position.
- I thoroughly look at your site and its structure to determine if it needs
optimization. These are the things I will look for:
- Valid markup
- Many people use programs that write the HTML for them, much like using a word processor. Since these are programs, and not human beings, they might not get the structure of the document correct, or they may put in elements that are not needed, just to make something look right. This is often called "tag soup", and can be hazardous to search engine spiders. If the spider cannot parse the page, it may just go away. That is why I check for valid markup.
- Keyword Density
- Since search engine spiders look for text, we want to be sure that the keywords are within the content of the page. It cannot be just a list of keywords, stuffed in somewhere. The content should make sense to a person who is reading it.
- Accessibility to search engines
- If your site needs optimization, I will discuss with you what needs to be done. If you cannot make the changes yourself, then you can hire me to make them, or hire someone else. After the changes are made, I will review the site again.
- If your site does not need optimization, then I start looking at your competitors' sites to see what they are doing and make recommendations to you accordingly.
Reciprocal links are very important. A lot of people do not understand that just this little point can make you or break you.
Some people are afraid to ask for links. Their reasoning is that their site does not have enough to offer the other person, to want them to exchange links. This is similar to the fox that said because the grapes were too far away, they must not be sweet, so why bother? There is no harm in asking. All people can say is no, and a lot of people will be happy to link to you for reasons of their own.
If your site already has a list of sites that already link, or a list of prospects, all the better. There would have to be an extra charge if I were to do all the hunting down and contacting. I don't use automated programs that send out spam type messages. I write each web site owner a personal email letter, and then keep track.
When everything is ready to go, then I hand submit to various engines. This all depends on your needs and budget.
There are several types of search engines:
- Search Engine Crawlers
- True search engines travel the web and follow links. Eventually, you will be found. Google, Fast and Wisenut, are a few examples of these. However, since they are true robots, it is harder to get good ranking without good markup.
- Paid for Inclusion
- These search engines require a payment for inclusion into their database. Looksmart, FindWhat and Overture are examples of pay for inclusion. However, these are also very important because they provide additional results to other engines.
- Pay Per Click
- Google Ad Words is a prime example of this. You make a bid on a certain keyword, and pay accordingly. Various search engines do this in different ways.
- Directories are run by humans. The two big directories are Yahoo and DMOZ (Open Directory Project). Yahoo requires payment for inclusion into its directory, but inclusion is pretty quick. DMOZ on the other hand does not charge for inclusion, but since it is staffed by volunteers, it can take a very long time to get included in the category of your choice.
- Specialty Engines
- Specialty engines come into play if your site is unique to an industry, group, country, or age specific.
I like to look at server logs to see what spiders have come around, what search terms are being used to get to your site, etc. Server logs are very important, and I do not share this information with any third parties.
Depending on what the server logs say, the site can be tweaked further to get better results, etc.
Search Engine Optimization is not a magic pill, there are no guarantees, and the job does not go away after submission to engines. That means that I will do my very best to make sure that your site is ranking as well as it can for your chosen keywords, and will continue to do so.