I’ve been asked here to sum up what everyone should know about search engine positioning.
First, two caveats:
1) Search Engine Positioning is only a tiny part of the big Internet Marketing picture. It takes time and there are other things that will pay off far more in the long run. /public-speaking-tips
2) This is a gross simplification of the whole process.
With that said, let’s dive in.
1. This discussion will focus on spider engines. That is, an engine that goes to your site and indexes you based on what it finds. Directories are a whole ‘nother ball game (which we will address in another article). Good examples of spiders are: Infoseek, Excite, and AltaVista.
2. Every search engine is different. You need to learn the “algorithm” (set of rules) used by each engine to rank pages. An algorithm is a set of rules.
3. These algorithms change constantly. This is why tips like “put 3 % of your target keyword in your title tag” are probably worthless by the time you hear them.
4. The only reliable way to learn a sites algorithm is to analyze actual results of a search on that engine. This must be done using a reliable keyword density analyzer. This tool will show you the weight of particular keywords in high ranking documents. You then simply reproduce this weight in your document to attempt to reproduce the results. Any advice you find that did not come from an actual analysis is probably smoke and mirrors. This method is very reliable. There are a few other factors that will affect rank that can not be measured this way (link popularity, spam filtering etc.), but keyword density is the easiest to measure and most reliable factor.
Here is the only keyword density analyzer that I use.
5. You should not only be concerned with the rank of your listing, but with the way it appears in the engine as well. If your listing is #1, but looks like a bunch of junk (try a search right now and you’ll see what I mean), it will be a waste of your time. The appearance of your listing depends on two of three things:
a) your title tag e.g. <title>title here</title>
b) your description tag <meta name=”description” content=”description here like this”> (applies to some engines – all others use the following)
c) the first 250 words (or so) of visible text on your site on your site
“A” above is what the engine links to your page.B or C are used as descriptive text for your link.You must balance your work on these tags. That is, sometimes what gets you a high rank will not make for an enticing listing. Remember that your title is most important. Think of it as a headline for an ad.
6. No software in itself is going to get you a high position on a search engine. Period. There are many software products claiming to get you a higher position on the web. For the most part, save your money. There are really only two programs you need (and you may not even need them):
a) A keyword density analyzer. You don’t really need this if you have some other tool that will allow you to analyze the relative mathematical composition of any text. If what I just said flew over your head, a keyword density analyzer is for you. Again, here is the only one I use.
b) A site submitter. You don’t really need one of these, either, if you are strictly focusing on a high position in the spider engines. You can probably submit these pages one by one just as easily since the process of gaining a high rank is a surgical one. However, if you need to submit many pages at once (if you do it will save time), or you want to submit to other types of sites (most submitters submit to over 900 sites and spider engines account for about 12 of those), then it is a good idea to get some software that will automate this task for you. We’ve developed a powerful multi-use tool that will spider all of your pages and submit each of them to all known spider engines (it has about 20 other functions as well – all of them key). You can check that out out right here
There is, of course, much more to it than I have listed here, but this information will get you started on the right track.