Search Optimisation for the Clueless
Everyone who has a website wants to get found – even if it's by your mother, or your favorite uncle. What you want them to find you for is another matter. Getting found by people who are interested in buying what you have to offer depends on targeting the keyword searches those people are typing into the search engines. This is where Search engine optimisation comes into play.
If the phrase or phrases you are trying to rank for aren't competitive, then getting good placement in the search engine results pages is pretty darned easy. So, if you have a brand new, never-seen-or-heard-of-before widget, then ensuring the key features and the widget name are in your <title> tag and in the body of your page, and boom, you're done. No kidding – you could get any page ranked for something brand new in the amount of time it takes the search engines to find your site and crawl it, days at most. If you wanted to get a page ranked for mars baton socks, for example, you'd have no trouble at all.
If the phrase or phrases you are trying to rank for are competitive, then this is where the search optimisation skill comes in. What you'll need is some good content for your site. This means:
- writing a title tag for each page that accurately describes the page
- writing and publishing one or two new pages each week
- writing fresh, unique, interesting and compelling human-readable content on each page
- include quality text in your links – both within your site and to other sites
Most important of all: quit trying to figure out how to trick the search engines. Just stop. Every trick that's identified is quickly overcome by the very bright engineers developing the search engines and they all talk about the latest tricks they discover with each other. It's just not worth the time you spend trying to figure out the latest search optimisation trick because the effects you will gain are only temporary.
Plus! You're missing the point if you implement those tricks. What gives your website great rankings?
- Building a quality site that's attractive and easy to use.
- Providing quality content that's kept fresh and engaging to humans.
It's just like in business: create a great customer experience, the money follows. Focus only on the money and the customers drain away.
So what Search optimisation attributes make a page considered 'quality' by the search engines?
- It's relevant to the terms being searched for
- It's has good and useful content
- It's been around for awhile
- It's part of a site (meaning at least a few other pages) that also have lots of information
- It loads quickly
- It doesn't have broken links
- It has links to it from other sites
- It isn't filled with a bunch of keywords listed over and over and over
So ranking well means creating lots of fast-loading, content-rich quality pages with the words that you want to rank for built into the content and in the <title> tag. Then, focus on getting links to your pages from other sites in an honorable, transparent way and you're 90% there.