Optimizing Your Web Site For Top Search Engine Placement
Teacher: Viki Nygaard
There is a common misconception that in order to achieve rankings on a search engine you simply need to submit your Web site to them for indexing. Unfortunately, it isn't that easy. A Web site needs to be optimized to meet specific criteria.
Let's go through the three phases involved in achieving search engine rankings. As we do, you'll learn various ways to make your Web site search engine compatible.
Contrary to popular belief, optimization is ideally done before and during the creation of a Web site.
Each individual search engine has specific criteria that it's looking for when deciding whether to rank a Web site. Because each search engine has unique requirements, it is often best to choose one or two search engines that you would like to see your Web site ranked highly on and then optimize your Web site based on their requirements.
To determine a specific engine's indexing criteria, visit the home page of the search engine and look for information on how to submit your site. In this section, you will normally find information that the "spiders" and "robots" are looking for when they "crawl" through Web sites. Basically, "spiders" and "robots" are programs that look at your site. The process is called "crawling".
A more convenient way of learning how to optimize your Web site for a search engine is by using a software program that offers this capability. Two that we know of are Web Position Gold and Search Engine Optimizer. These programs can analyze your current Web site and give you specific suggestions on how to improve your chances of getting a high ranking on 10 or more of the major search engines.
Finally, you could hire a Search Engine Positioner to do the work for you. These professionals are highly trained to analyze your site, develop a strategy, make the changes necessary to optimize your site, and submit it to the search engines for indexing. A professional also has a much broader range of knowledge than what we can cover in this article. They keep up to date with the rapidly changing search engine criteria.
We have compiled into a list some very basic search engine optimization tips for you. Keep in mind that each search engine is unique so the tips are NOT universal.
Next in our two-part series, we'll discuss submission strategies and maintaining your rankings once you've gotten where you want to be.
You've worked hard to optimize your Web site, now it's time to submit it to the engines.
It is important to note that the majority of the major search engines are now offering two forms of submission. For speedy results, you can pay a fee along with your submission. At this time, submission fees seem to be averaging around $200.00 US. Be aware that even though you are paying a fee, the search engine still expects your site to be optimized according to their standards. A fee will ensure a quick review of your Web site, but does not always ensure that you will receive any rankings of your Web site. Be sure to carefully read the information that is given and understand it before you submit your Web site in this manner. You can also do a submission to a search engine at no charge, but the results are often slow and there is no guarantee that your site will be indexed.
As with optimization of your Web site, you have several choices when it comes to submitting your Web site to the search engines. You can do it yourself by visiting the home page of each search engine, looking for submission information and following the instructions given.
You can use specialized software that will do all the work for you. Web Position Gold will submit your site to the major search engines with a single click. (Note that Web Position Gold does not submit to open directory services such as Yahoo Directory. Open directory services are reviewed by humans rather than computers and robots and require a rather lengthy submission application to be filled out.)
And finally, you can hire a Search Engine Specialist who provides this service in addition to optimization services.
If several months have gone by and you do not have the rankings you desire, you will probably want to review your Web site and re-optimize it for the desired search engines. Criteria is constantly changing. That means that even though your Web site was optimized a few months ago, it might not be optimized today.
Once you have achieved your desired rankings, carefully watch them. Maintaining rankings is an ongoing process and sometimes, a full-time job! Once you have high rankings with a search engine it is recommended that you NOT make major changes to your home page. Also, don't panic if your rankings fall a few notches, often times they will climb again in the future.
When you develop a plan of action for your Web site, you can easily include search engines in the mix now that you know how to optimize, submit and maintain. Although it can take several months for engines to rank a site, with a little patience you might find yourself sitting at #1. Soon after, you'll see your hit counter spinning and the business heading your way!
About the teacher: