New: Fred Schebesta
Monday, September 10, 2007/
The SmartCompany webinar on SEO secrets was an outstanding success. If you missed out, here are some important tips that were revealed – and bonus secrets.
Search engine optimisation secrets revealed
Last Tuesday we held a fantastic webinar on Search Engine Optimisation secrets. Participants could watch over my shoulder as I search-engine-optimised websites. There were some important secrets revealed in regards to content and keyword selection that would really help your website.
We recorded the webinar, so you can watch and listen to it here by following the prompts.
On Tuesday I didn’t have time to answer all of the questions, so I thought I would answer some here briefly – and more later with an entire post.
Question: Does the text you add in under title (tags) within the code page appear on the actual website?
I believe the question here is, does the text in your META tags actually appear on the page? This actual text does not appear to the visitors on your website, but it is visible to the search engines. Some of the older search engines relied heavily on META text, but these days these tags are pretty much ignored by the major engines.
I would suggest that it is still wise to optimise these tags as you never know when the search engines might change their algorithm to consider this element. I also believe they are quite handy for creating sitemaps and for internal search engines for your website.
With regards to the sitemap, I think the META description can be leveraged next to your link to give the link a bit more relevance with the surrounding text. An internal search engine can use the META keywords to determine what the page is about. You can use the old-school technique of describing the page text in the META tags and actually provide better results for your users of your search tool.
Question: We have a good ranking, but want a better one. How do I know changes aren’t going to send us down the list, but up?
This is a good question and can be a scary one if you are ranking well and are just wanting to move from position three to position one. I want to take you through a key secret to how the search engines rank websites before I answer that question.
Search engines rank web pages, not websites, against each other. A website is made up of web pages and a search engine will not consider the entire website when ranking a particular page against another. Each web page is fighting for itself in the search engine war. You can help your web pages fight competitor pages by using your entire website to point to the competing pages.
Inbound text links are absolutely invaluable when trying to rank in Google. Websites which are particularly relevant to your website are even more valuable. For example, if you are a golf site and you get linked to by a golf magazine website, this is contextually relevant and a valuable link.
Now what you need to remember is that other people’s websites are tough to control because other people manage them. But your website you can control and its link power does matter. You can also quickly and easily change these pages because you control the site.
BONUS! Advanced strategy
I always recommend building other websites that provide different related content to your target market and linking it back to your main website. This can bring some good link power but does cost a bit of money.
Four-step plan to avoid going down in rankings when search engine optimising your website
Rank your page before you start – Before you begin search engine optimising, I would recommend you rank the pages you are optimising for. Check to see where you are ranking before you make changes. Backup your website code before you make your changes as well. This will allow you to quickly and easily roll-back the changes and get previous rankings.
Small changes will reduce damage – Small incremental changes are easier to manage as opposed to large structural changes. Focus on five to six pages at a time and keep tabs on them. Test these pages and then rollout the learnings throughout your entire website.
Test, test and test – Testing on low-value pages that do not account for the larger portion of your customers will also be a good test ground to make site wide changes. Your tests on these websites will be the grounds to make forward steps in your search engine optimisation.
Creating new links – New links are a low risk way to improve your rankings. There is a bogey in this that can damage your rankings. Low value links from non-related websites can hurt your rankings, especially if they are from the PPC (pills, porn and casino) areas. These links are to be avoided and would best be avoided.
Future questions answered in bigger future blog entries
“You said putting content in tables is hard for Google to read. What can you use instead of tables?”
Refer to this post for a hint to the answer.
Got a search engine optimisation question? Send me a comment below I will answer it directly or in a future post.
Fred Schebesta’s company Freestyle Media is an established innovative online marketing agency specialising in building search engine friendly corporate websites and running online marketing campaigns.
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