Improved Search Rankings

Search engine ranking factors are some of the most closely guarded secrets in online business. Google and other search engines don’t publish exactly how they rank webpages in search results, because that would lead to massive gaming of the system and produce non-useful results.

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Fortunately, you don’t have to figure out how Google determines search engine rankings all by yourself. There’s an entire industry of professionals who have a good handle on how search engine placement works based on their cumulative experiences. Better still, their collective wisdom has been collected and published by SEOmoz, a SEO consultancy and website.

How to Improve Your Search Engine Ranking on Google

Your Title Tag
Google seems to give weight to the title of your page. By title, I mean the text that is sandwiched between the HTML <TITLE> tags in the <HEAD> section of your web page. If you use a Web editor that automatically inserts a title like “New Page”, remember to change it to some meaningful text with your keywords inside to reap the benefit of this feature.

Keyword-laden Links?
According to a research by a Google founder, if the links pointing to a page has the relevant keyword text in them, it will cause the page to be ranked higher in search engine results. For example, a link with the text “Cheap Shoe Store” pointing at your site will cause your site to be listed earlier if a visitor searches for “cheap shoe store” than if the link simply said “click here”. You can find a copy of the paper online at The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine.

Use Meta Tags
Meta tags help improve a site’s ranking among various search engines. By definition Meta tags are machine understandable information for the Web. Generally it is information used to define and document the content of a site. It doesn’t appear when the page is viewed through a browser, but sits silently in the HEAD element of a page adding commentary for whoever or whatever (essentially search engine robots) cares to look at it. Some search engines make use of two types of Meta tags, keywords and description tags. The description tag returns a description of the page in place of the summary a search engine would normally generate. The keywords tag provides keywords that the search engine can associate with your page.

Many web designers over rate the importance of Meta tags to search engine performance. HotBot and Infoseek do give a slight boost to pages with keywords in their Meta tags, but Lycos doesn’t read them at all, and there are plenty of examples where pages without Meta tags still get highly ranked.

Use HTML text when possible
Sometimes sites present large sections of copy via graphics. Search engines can’t read those graphics. Therefore they miss out on text that might make your site more relevant. Some of the search engines will index ALT text and comment information, along with Meta tags. But to be safe, use HTML text whenever possible.