Optimizing Pages

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To get high search rankings, you must optimize your web site to have quality content that is useful to your visitors. Let's look at the specific things you can do to optimize your web pages for high search rankings (thanks to Jill at highrankings.com for many of these suggestions).

bulletFirst, the most important rule: web pages that have good content for your visitors will likely have high rankings from the search engines. This is critical for good rankings (and to good page design).

bulletDivide your site into categories that are natural and appropriate for the theme of your site. This will help both your visitors and the search engines find the information they are seeking.

bulletHave each web page contain unique information. That is, each page makes its own contribution to the site.

bulletChoose a navigation scheme that is logical and natural, one that your visitors and the search engines can easily follow.

bulletChoose 3 or 4 keywords or phrases that are appropriate for each web page. Because each page is unique, these keywords will be unique with their pages. Write text or copy for each page that gives important, significant, and useful information about the topic (don't just write fluff that doesn't say much). Place your keywords and phrases in a few appropriate places in the text such that the keywords contribute to the value of the text (don't over do this; putting your keywords in too many places may get you penalized by the search engines).

Use variations of the keywords and phrases in a way that is natural for the topic and that contributes to the content of the page. This is important because most search engines extract keywords from the page text for indexing. Put the keywords in the XHTML <title> element and in alternate text attributes for graphics.

When you add keywords and phrases to the text, be sure that they are appropriate to the theme and content of the page. Do not stuff keywords and phrases into the page that don't relate to the theme of the page, and do not repeat the keywords and phrases a lot of times.

bulletAdd a description meta tag to each page that briefly (200 characters or less) describes the page. Because each page is unique, these descriptions will be unique with each page. These descriptions may be used by search rankings to describe your links, so write them to entice people to click on your links.

 
bulletAdd a keyword meta tag to each page that contains the 3 or 4 keywords that are special to the page. Since most search engines currently use page text for locating keywords, use the meta tag to give synonyms and common misspellings of the keywords.

bulletKeep the most important pages within the first two sub-levels of your site. Search engines may give higher rankings to web pages that are easy for persons (and spiders) to access, i.e. access with just one or two clicks.

 
bulletTo cover pages that are more than two sub-levels down in your site hierarchy, have a site map that links to every page in the site. Be sure the site map is linked from the home page.

 
bulletIf your site has dynamic pages (pages that are generated dynamically by your server when visitors click on links), have static links to each dynamic page. Search engines don't rank dynamic pages very well. Having static links to those pages helps.

 
bulletIf you redesign your site, such that page URLs change, have a custom 404-error page that points your visitors back to your home page (or another appropriate page). You will need cooperation from your server webmaster in doing this. Besides pointing your visitors to appropriate pages in your site, your custom error page can contain general information about your site to entice your visitors to continue surfing your site. Some designers use a site map as the error page.

 
bulletUsing Flash is ok if you use it like a graphic, i.e. small areas to enhance your pages in appropriate ways. Pages that are nothing but flash will get low rankings since those pages have no (or little) text for the search engines to analyze.

 
bulletIn summary, optimize your site by having excellent content in the web pages. Focus each page on particular keywords, keywords that are unique to each page and are meaningful to your visitors.
 
The Links page of this site has links to articles on web page optimization. One free email newsletter on optimization that I like is http://www.highrankings.com/advisor.htm

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Copyright 1998, 2011 Allen Leigh