Help Search Engines Help
From the 2003-12-01 issue of Media Inc. - Internet/Multimedia -
Copyright© 2005 Media Index Publishing Inc.
By Ann Jensen Warman
lead generation and sales depend on search engine rankings,
figuring out how to get seen on those first two pages of Google
and Yahoo! can be a top priority.
statistical surveys agree that Google is still out in front
as the most widely used search engine on the Internet, followed
by Yahoo!, and more distantly by MSN and AOL. Studies also
reveal that the average user looks only at the first two pages
of results before moving on.
speculated that Google spiders head out for an Internet re-index
data gathering session every six to seven weeks, shifting
around page rankings, sometimes dropping site listings altogether.
Yahoo!, on the other hand, uses humans to review submissions,
guided by tightly regulated criteria. So tight, in fact, that
some relevant content may not find inclusion because of improper
formatting during the submission process.
search algorithms have been built to look for relevant content,
relevant title, optimal keyword density and relevant linking,
and to minimize meta descriptions. At the heart of a Google
search engine is its PageRank system, which evaluates links
within a site and between sites to determine which sites will
receive the highest rankings.
improve your siteís link strategy, include links to external
sites that contain complimentary content, and minimize links
that lead to sites with no contextual relationship. Content
is king for search engines, and itís through a combination
in depth information and linking patterns that quality is
Plan for this by adding a navigational text link of your siteís
pages, possibly at the bottom of the page, giving robots an
avenue to navigate through the site. Within the text navigational
system, be sure to include links to all the major pages, and
give a short description of each page, within the link.
and key phrase selection and usage is another factor to consider
in site optimization. Keyword density is the ratio of keywords
to the total number of words on a page. Having a higher ratio
of keywords to total words will result in a higher page rankñ
to a point. If the keyword density is too high, the search
engine will consider this spamming and penalize the site by
lowering its ranking.
many sites use similar keywords, the competition for the top
slots on the search engine results page is far greater. It
pays to find out how popular words and phrases are on the
Internet, and select words that are less frequently used.
There are several tools available for this: Overture is a
free tool, and WordTracker is subscription-based that also
lists the 500 keywords of the week.
the keywords have been selected, they should be used carefully
throughout the content. The index page is the most important
page of the site, since on most sites traffic enters at this
point, and information near the top of any page is most likely
to be read by a spider. Be sure keywords are placed in these
links from key phrases and words on your index page to more
in-depth articles on your inner pages. Include your keywords
in your titles on each of your pages, and make the titles
specific to the content on each page. Combine this strategy
with linking patterns to external sites, then if enough sites
link to a site using the specific keyword phrase, it can have
a dramatic effect on your PageRank.
Jensen Warman is a Web and print designer at Digital Media