Done much searching on Google lately? Of course you have. That’s how we find things. OK, maybe you didn’t search Google… Bing? Yahoo? One of the other myriad of search providers? It doesn’t matter, the effect is the same.
More and more top search results are just links to more search results on other search engines.
Why is this?
There is a wave of search engines hitting the search scene. They are not particularly new but they are gaining in popularity. These are search engines that don’t necessarily crawl the web like the big guys do, they are very targeted and in some cases you have to apply and be accepted before you make their results lists. The idea is that though you will get less results, you will get better quality results.
That’s all well and good, but how does that get them to the top of the search rankings?
The same way you should. They construct their results pages to be full of relevant key words and key phrases. The programs they use to build their pages make sure that the title, key words, key phrases, description and URL all are loaded with the search terms you entered. When creating your content, you need to keep these things in mind also. If you are using WordPress, then you should install a plugin like the “All in One SEO Pack” which lets you set all of these things for every post and page that you make. Other Content systems should also have a similar ability. If you a hand coding your pages (does anyone actually do that anymore?) then you need to look at each page and make sure your page includes these items.
If you know of other SEO plugins for WordPress or any other content management systems, let us know in the comments and what you think of them.
When creating a web page, you hear a great deal about keywords and getting them right. So what are people talking about? Now, to give you an in depth understanding on keywords would take a very long time and there are some very good (and long) books on getting your keyowrds right. All I’m going to do here is, hopefully, give you some basic information that may help you understand what they are talking about when other people bang on at length about them.
OK, so what are keywords and why do I need them?
A keyword is effectively a word or phrase that someone will use when looking for your site or a site like yours in a search engine. Most people searching for something on the web won’t know you exist, so you want a way they can find you. Typically, they will go to their favourite search engine, type in a word or phrase and click search. They’ll get back a list of sites that match the terms they’ve entered. If you have built your site around the selected keywords, then you have a better chance on being near the top of the list.
Where do I put these keywords?
Your site is built around your keywords, so it’s a good idea to work them out before you start building (we’ll be looking into this in Part 2). Now there are a number of different places that you want your keywords to appear. Some important ones are (in no particular order):
- Your page title:
This is the little strip of text that sits at the very top of the browser. You want your title to not be too long (a dozen words or so) and it should contain what you consider to be your main keywords.
- Your URL:
This is your web address. You won’t always be able to get your main keywords in your web address because someone may have got their first but it can help to have a main keyword or two in there. Say you are providing aged care services, you could try to have an address like www.aged-care-services.com or something similar.
- Your keywords meta tag:
Huh? Don’t worry if that sounds technical, it isn’t really. It’s simply a piece of code stuck in the heading section of your website that contains all of your selected keywords. Below are the keywords used in the Illawarra Consulting home page.
<meta name=”keywords” content=”website, web, website design, web design, hosting, web hosting, website hosting, wollongong, illawarra, shellharbour, web design wollongong, web design illawarra, web design shellharbour, business services, web maintenance, website maintenance, website health check, health check, small business web site” />
- Your page description:
This is another piece of code that sits in the heading of your web page. This is a description of your site. It’s important to get this right becuase often this is the text that search engines will display below your link. This too needs to contain your main keywords. Here’s the one from the Illawarra Consulting home page.
<meta name=”description” content=”Website design and maintenance for small businesses within Wollongong, Shellharbour and the Illawarra. Web design services to get your business on the web. Illawarra Consulting, bringing the world to your door.” />
- In your page test:
Surprisingly, this is the one that most people get wrong. They go to some trouble to find the right keywords for their site and then don’t use any of them in their page text. It’s important that your keywords and phrases are used in your page text.
Why do I put my keywords there?
Simple really. That’s where search engines look when deciding whether your site matches the entered criteria or not. These days the search engines look at all of these factors (and a whole lot more) and compare whether they are consistent with each other. Get them right and you could see your page appearing on the first page of search results.
Join us next week when we look at some ways you can select effective keywords.
I was wondering what to put in this weeks offering. Should I put something in about getting the front page text right or maybe something on page titles. I was very undecided just what pearl of wisdom I would share with the world. That was until I was bombarded with comments to this very blog. So I thought I’d share with you my feelings on blogging etiquette.
For those of you writing a blog
If you are maintaining a blog, I recommend that you make sure all comments are moderated. That means you get notified every time there is a message and you get to choose whether to it gets posted or not.
“But that could take ages to look after!”, I hear you scream. Yep, it could, but the down side if you don’t is you get offers for cheap Viagra and bodily organ enhancements as comments on your blog about how to code CSS or your astute political observations. It kind of reduces the tone and quality of your efforts. You see, there are a lot of unsavoury types out there that are after as many back links to their site as they can get. Back links help to increase search engine ranking, thus increasing traffic and hopefully increase sales. Sounds like a noble endeavour but do you really want to turn your site into an advertising site for the undesirables.
In order to maintain the quality of your site, you want to make sure that any comments posted are relevant to your site and any back links posted are to clean and relevant sites. If one of your readers clicks on a dubious link and ends up with a nasty infection, it doesn’t do anything to help maintain your readership.
Most blogging software allows you to easily moderate your posts. I’m using WordPress and it allows me to look at all the pending comments, quickly approve the ones I think will support my blogs aims and then delete or mark as spam the rest of them. It takes only a few minutes a day to do. When I find a post I’m not sure about I check the site link out. If it is rubbish then the post is removed.
For those of you posting comments to a blog
We understand the need for cross promotion to improve your website ranking. After all, the more links to your site you can get out there, the better your chances of being page one on Google is. Well in theory at least. Search engines are getting smarter, they are now starting to look at the relevance of the links you post. Posting a link about curing acne to a blog about website tips (yes, I’m using an example from this very blog) just doesn’t cut it. Put out enough of these useless posts and you will find your site vanishing from the rankings as most search engines do not like spam. You may be able to get your site quickly to the top but it will vanish just as quickly. Then you’ll need to start all over again. Is it really worth it?
Please keep your posts relevant to the topic at hand, don’t post abuse at other posters and make sure your links are to sites that are related to the post in some way. I run a blog to support my clients, and help promote better websites and internet practices. I really am not interested in cures for acne, cheap ugg boots, discount “legal” drugs or dating Russian babes.
Keep it relevant or stay away.