Is Your Web Site Optimized for Search Engines?
Title: Is Your Website Optimized for Search Engines?
Author: Scott Buresh
Most businesses don't take advantage of search engine
optimization, but few things on the Internet can be as
beneficial. A recent Forrester Research report showed that 80%
of web surfers discover the new sites that they visit through
search engines (such as Yahoo, Google, or MSN). According to
iProspect, 85% of web users use search engines to find solutions
and vendors. Properly optimizing a site for search engines helps
it to attract numerous, highly targeted visitors- visitors that
may become buyers.
For the technically inclined, there are numerous places on the
web to get detailed, in-depth information on search engine
optimization. However, many people don't care about the
technical aspects of search engine optimization- they just want
to know what is wrong with their site (and how to fix it). What
follows is a practical guide that covers some of the most basic
search engine issues. It is in no way intended to be
comprehensive, but it should help the average site owner
determine whether their site is optimized, and if not, how to
make some simple changes to improve their search engine rankings.
Issue #1- The Title Bar.
On your homepage, what does the title
bar say? If you use Internet Explorer, this is the blue bar at
the extreme top of the window that displays your page (it may
include the words "Microsoft Internet Explorer" at the end).
Does your company name appear here by itself, when you have more
important keywords to emphasize? Worse yet, does it say
"untitled"? This area should contain the most important keywords
you see on your homepage (Don't have any text on your homepage?
See issue #2). To check the rest of your site, click on any link
from your homepage and see if the words in this title bar change
for each page in your site. They should- and each title bar
should contain the most important keywords from their
corresponding page. Note: Very long keyword strings in the title
bar should be avoided- six words or less is optimal. Also, words
in the title bar should not repeat more than once, and identical
words should not appear next to one another.
Issue #2 - Content.
Search engines all try to list sites that
contain good content. Translation- you need words on your pages,
not flashy graphics. This text should contain the most important
keywords that your potential customers would use to find you on
a search engine. If you have very few or no words on your pages,
it is a good idea to add some, ideally around 250 per page. For
aesthetic reasons, this is not always practical, but even 100
well-written words can have an impact on rank. It is also
important that you make certain that the words are written in a
language the search engines can read. Using your mouse, bring
your cursor down to the text on one of your web pages. Clicking
and holding down the left mouse button (make sure you aren't
near a link) see if you can highlight just one or two words of
the text. If you can, everything is most likely fine. If nothing
happens, or you can only highlight a large block, it is most
likely in graphic form. Graphic text needs to be replaced by
standard html text to allow the search engines to read it. Your
web expert should have no problem understanding what you
require, and the transition should be fairly simple and
Issue #3- Meta Tags.
Some people believe that meta tags are the
Holy Grail of search engine optimization. Unfortunately, their
effectiveness is limited (many engines ignore them completely),
but they can play a limited role in determining rank on some
engines. To see if your site has meta tags, go to your home
page. Click the "view" command at the top of the browser window.
From the pull-down menu, select "source". This should open up
another window that shows your code. Much of this may seem
indecipherable, but there should be two commands there (usually
near the top of the code). One of these says meta
name="description" content= and will go on to describe your
company and products, and one says meta name="keywords" content=
and goes on to list applicable keywords for your site. If these
tags are missing, have your web expert insert them.
Issue #4- Links.
Link popularity has become increasingly
important to search engine rankings, with 19 of the top 20
engines using it in their ranking algorithm. Simply put, search
engines give a ranking boost to sites that have links from
quality, related sites. There are numerous free tools on the web
that will allow you to see what sites link to yours (just type
"free link popularity check" in your favorite search engine). If
you don't have many sites linking to yours, it may be time to
start a link building campaign. This is where you find quality,
non-competing sites in your industry and ask them if they would
like to exchange links. An additional benefit of link exchanges
is that these links can bring you additional, highly targeted
Conclusion Although following the above guidelines will by no
means guarantee you top page rankings for your keywords, fixing
one or more of the problems should have a very positive impact
on your search engine rankings. For the volumes of potential
customers that a search engine can send to your site, it's
certainly worth the effort.
Have Blue Rose Web design and develop your web site. We understand search engine
otimization. Certain areas of our web sites (especially welding caps and welding cap patterns), consistently rank in the top 10, even top 1, of searchs.
About the author:
Scott Buresh is Co-founder and Principal of www.mediumblue.com
Internet Marketing> . For monthly tips on how to get the most
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