People who are looking for goods or services online will usually begin by running a search for related keywords on a major search engine. While search engines will return many pages of result listings for most keyword searches, those listings in the first page or two of results are far more likely to be clicked, and therefore much more likely to receive web traffic and generate sales.
Obtaining favorable positioning in search engine results is not an exact science, and requires persistence and perseverance. New websites can take weeks just to get listed in the major search engines, while optimizing a website to improve positioning in the listings can be a never-ending project. However, for those who do it well, the payoff in the form of additional traffic and sales can be well worth the effort.
Major search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN make changes from time to time to the algorithms they use to determine keyword relevancy, so it is realistic to expect that result listings may change positioning over time.
With all search engines, content is the key to relevance and positioning. Your website should offer unique useful or entertaining information. Search engines use “spiders” or “crawlers” – robotic programs which scan websites and read the text within – to update their indexes. Encourage these spiders to visit your website regularly by frequently updating your site with fresh and original content. Static sites which are rarely or never updated tend to fall in position over time and can even disappear from search engine indexes completely. Text within images is ignored, so be sure to include all important text in the Body Text field of your webpages.
Positioning may also be improved through the addition of links to and from other websites which have related content. However, links to or from sites which are completely unrelated can negatively impact positioning. Be sure that your links are likely to be of use to the intended readers of your website.
Each page in your website should have a relevant Title which contains keywords associated with the content of the page. The Title text is what will appear in natural search engine results. When modifying your WebSpawner webpages, the ‘Headline’ field should be filled with your Title text, as the WebSpawner system automatically includes the Headline text in the Title tag during page creation or modification. The Headline text should not exceed 65 characters. While the Title text may help improve relevancy and positioning for certain keyword phrases in some search engines, the general understanding is that Google’s algorithm essentially ignores the Title tag. Even so, the Title text may still appear in Google’s natural result listings and so it can help to drive clicks and traffic to your website.
The Meta Description field is also understood to be ignored in the calculation of relevancy by Google’s algorithm, but other search engines’ algorithms still appear to attach some importance to the Meta Description. The Meta Description text may be displayed in search engine result listings (even Google’s), so carefully worded descriptions that are relevant to the content of your website can help in terms of drawing traffic in the form of clicks on the result listings.
Keyword selection can be important for relevance and positioning as well. Be sure to choose specific terms which are highly relevant to the content or goods and services offered on your page. For example, a breeder of Yellow Labrador dogs would be better off to use the keyword phrase “yellow lab puppies” than the generic “puppies” which is not specific enough. Specific keyword searches are likely to return a shorter list of websites which are more relevant to the keyword terms… this is where you want to have your listing positioned.
Be sure that your website is indexed by search engines by submitting your site periodically. You can visit each search engine and follow their instructions to submit your website. Alternately, WebSpawner can rapidly submit your website to over 100 search engines and directories for you for a low one-time fee in far less time than it would take to do it yourself… for more information, see the ‘Search Engine Registration’ link under the orange ‘Promote Your Site’ tab in the Member Menu for your WebSpawner account.