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Potential Design Problems and Setup Problems

Unfortunately for some of you there are some site design/set up issues that can make it very difficult for the search engines to list your web pages no matter how well you optimize and submit them. We list them here, before you get into all the optimization tips, to hopefully save you from trying to list a site that that will be very difficult to get listed. Almost everything can be fixed or worked with one way or another before you submit. The most common problems are:

  1. Sites that use Frames.

  2. Sites that use Dynamic URLs.

  3. Sites that use Flash.

  4. Sites that use Image Maps for navigation.

  5. Sites that use Javascript for navigation.

 

Optimizing for the Correct Keywords

 

To get listed correctly in the search engines each page of your site that you want listed needs to be optimized to the best of your ability. Since the keywords that you decide to target will be used throughout the optimization process choosing the right keywords is essential. If you choose the wrong keywords you will not be found in the search engines. If you are not found in the search engines how will anyone find your site?

Since the keywords you choose to optimize your pages with are so important we have put together some tips to help you make sure that you make the right choices. You should utilize these tips when selecting keywords for each page that you plan to submit to the search engines.

Think "specific keyword phrases" not "keywords". Why? Due to the extreme amount of competition for general terms in the search engines, if your keyword phrases are too general it is very unlikely you will rank well in the search engines. You stand a far better chance to rank well for specific phrases where there is less competition. The resulting traffic, since it is more highly targeted, should also be much higher quality too!

Here's an example for a site selling shoes:
Much Too General Much Better!
  1. shoes

  2. men's shoes

  3. women's shoes

  1. imported Italian shoes

  2. men's leather penny loafers

  3. women's aerobic sneakers

  1. Try to think like your target audience. What would they search for when looking for the page you are optimizing? It is very easy to fall in the trap of coming up with a short list of what YOU would search for, but what about everyone else? They will not necessarily use the same keywords as you. You should try to come up with as many keyword phrases as you can think of that relate to the page you are optimizing. Try asking a few friends and family what they would search for when searching for a site like yours.

  2. Check out your competition for ideas. Do a search using keywords that you already know you want to target and click through on the top sites that come up. Once on the site view the source HTML code and view the keywords they have in their meta tags - this should give you many more ideas! Make sure to only use keywords that relate to YOUR site or page. To view the HTML code simply click the 'View' at the top of your web browser then select 'Source', or 'Page Source'.

     

  3. You should develop a list of keyword phrases, following the tips on this page, for each page that you optimize for the search engines.

Optimizing Your Title Tag

Without question the title tag of your page is the single most important factor to consider when optimizing your web page for the search engines. This is because most engines & directories place a high level of importance on keywords that are found in your title tag. The title tag is also what the search engines usually use for the title of your listing in the search results.


What it looks like:

Here's the title tag of this page:
<TITLE>Your Title Tag - learn to optimize your title tag</TITLE>

Where it belongs:

The correct placement for the title tag is between the <HEAD> and </HEAD> tags within the HTML the makes up your page.

Tag limits:

We recommend that your title tag be between 50-80 characters long - including spaces! The length that the different search engines accept varies, but as long as you keep within this limit you should be ok.

Tag tips:

  • We recommend that you include 1-2 of your most important keyword phrases in the title tag, BUT be careful not to just list keywords. If you just list keywords you risk being viewed as a spamming the engines which can ultimately lead to you being blacklisted by the search engines. Your title tag should include your keyword phrases while remaining as close to a readable sentence as possible to avoid any problems.

  • Make your title enticing! Don't forget that even if you get that #1 listing in the search engines your listing still needs to say something that makes the surfer want to clickthrough and visit your site.

  • Since the length of your title tag could be a little long for some engines we suggest placing the keywords at the beginning of the tag when possible so that you do not risk having them cut off.

  • Each page of your site should have it's own title tag with it's own keywords that related to the page that it appears on.

 

Optimizing Your Page Copy

The copy on your page is also very important in order to achieve better search engine listings. Actually, it is very close to being as important as your title tag so make sure you keep reading! By 'copy' we mean the actual text that a visitor to your site would read.

Did you know that just like a visitor to your site would read the copy on your page to figure out what you have to offer, the search engines do too? And what do you think the search engines are looking for when they 'read' your page copy? Keyword phrases, of course! 

Page text tips:

  • For best results we recommend that each page you submit has at least 200 words of copy on it. There is some cases where this much text can be difficult to put on a page, but the search engines really like it so you should do your best to increase the amount of copy where you can.

  • This text should include your most important keyword phrases, but should remain logical & readable.

  • Be sure to use those phrases that you have used in your other tags (i.e. metas, alt, headings, title, etc.) during the optimization process.

  • Add additional copy filled pages to your site. For example, how-to articles, tips or tutorials. These types of content pages not only help you in the search engines, but many other sites will link to them too.

  • Don't ignore this tip! Seriously, optimizing your page copy is one of the most important things you could possibly do to improve your listings in the search engines. So, make sure you have plenty of it even if you need to redesign your site to work it in!

 

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