Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How to improve your ranking

How do search engines rank pages?

Search engines use a ranking algorithm to determine the order in which matching web pages are returned on the results page. Each web page is graded on the number of the search terms it contains, where the words are located in the document, and other criteria that changes frequently.

All search engines have a different method of ranking. That's why you might rank number 1 on one engine and number 25 on another. Robots look for relevance and rank results on a secret ever-changing algorithm. Some look at TITLE, some look at META tags, some look for link popularity. Search engine optimization means optimizing the Web site for the best possible positioning based on the page's keywords and description.

NetMechanic's Search Engine Power Pack has a search engine optimization package that will walk you through the whole optimization process. NetMechanic has numerous experts who have conducted extensive tests to help identify what techniques work to better your ranking in the search engines. Additionally, we have identified what can get you into trouble with search engines.

General tips to get a good ranking.

1. Create a good site with good content.

This is critical, especially as search engines grow in sophistication. If your site contains worthwhile material, users will return to your site and will recommend it to others. Other sites will link to you - which will in turn help you by improving your link popularity.

2. Pick keywords visitors will actually use on a search engine query.

If you have keywords that are very competitive, consider narrowing your focus to improve results. The keyword "horse" will return thousands of responses and may not place you near the top, while "Appaloosa" is more focused and targeted to a particular query.

Consider using a keyword phrase instead of just one keyword. Visitors to search engines use phrases to narrow their searches. For example, instead of using a keyword like "horse" that would return too many responses, use a more specific keyword phrase like "Alabama Quarter horse."

Brainstorm a good list of list of keywords. Tap into other people - a fresh perspective can help uncover words you may have missed. This keyword analysis article offers some useful tips on brainstorming.

Don't just guess at which keywords are popular, get quantitative feedback using the Keyword Popularity tool included in Search Engine Power Pack. Remember, if you pick the wrong keywords, all your optimization will be wasted. See story on Keyword Selection.
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