Search Engine Optimising

Search engines are fickle beasts but ultimately you’re going to want to learn how to tame them if you have a website that you want people to be able to find.There are plenty of people out there with fantastic sites but unfortunately if they’re not listed in the search engines then even the best sites will more than likely remain undiscovered.Refresh Cartridges enjoyed a surge of hits recently when Google, the worlds most popular search engine placed our site at the top of their lists when a user searched for the word ‘cartridge’ – it stayed this way for 2 weeks before someone else knocked us off but I know that we’ll be back.

Having spent the last year running a Internet mail order business I know a few things about getting a site listed in the search engines and for any of you reading that have a site then please take heed as my top tips follow below.This week we will be discussing how to prepare your site for your sites to be added and we’ll follow on next week with the actual submission to the search engines.

Use a sensible domain name.Many search engines will see a site such as www.refreshcartridges.co.uk as a much more likely match when someone searches for the word cartridges than www.rc.co.uk, as will potential visitors.Make sure your domain name is descriptive of your company or your companies activities.

Title all your pages.Using your HTML editor make sure that you add descriptive titles to all your web pages as this will allow a search engine to more easily recognise relevant pages.

Use Meta Tags.These are used to add text to a page that it invisible to people viewing the site but is something that search engines can pick up to decide what a page is about.For example, in your Meta keywords you would pick a number of keywords that sum up the page such as ‘ink’, ‘paper’, ‘cartridge’ and ‘printer’ and then in your Meta description you would write a short description of the page in question.For more information on writing good meta tags, please visit http://www.grantasticdesigns.com/metatagtips.html

Link all your pages.In a similar way that search engine spiders jump links to discover new sites on the Internet, they also use links to jump to all the pages on your website.If your pages are all linked together using something fancy like Flash or even drop down menus then it is unlikely that the search engines will be able to follow these links and if you have 200 pages on your site then you obviously want the search engine to be familiar with all of them and not just the first page.Therefore if you do use non standard linking mechanisms then be sure that you have a sitemap (just a single page that links to every page your website consists of) that the search engines can use to spider your entire site.

Use ALT text on all images.All images on a webpage have the ability to have ALT text which is used whenever a user looks at your page and for one reason or another is unable to see the pictures; for example, a picture of a cat would be turned in to the word ‘cat’ if the page was designed by a savvy web designer.Search engines pick up on this alternative text so be sure that every image on your page has a relevant description as it will help the search engines pick up on relevant pages.

Use descriptive text.Your actual website text should be worded in a way that means you mention the keywords that are relevant to your business at least several times.For example, I have made sure that the text on our front page contains the word ‘cartridge’ at least once.

Don’t do the following.
Don’t spam keywords; for example repeating a word 30 times on the same text in the hope the search engines will consider you more relevant for that particular word.
Don’t use hidden text (using text that humans can’t see) as text on a similar coloured background is frowned upon by many search engines.
Don’t use non relevant keywords on your site; I’ve seen several CLEAN websites use text along the ‘Britney Spears Nude’ on their pages in a desperate attempt to drag visitors looking for porn on to their site by fooling the search engines.Not only is this likely to be frowned upon by many search engines but what is the point in attracting a visitor who is only going to leave after 2 seconds when he realises you’re not offering what he’s after?


About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.

 

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