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Write Search Engine Friendly Web Pages - Search Engine Optimization

2004-04-10
 

The factors that impact Web pages' rankings on SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) fall into four groups: page content, back links, page traffic and use feedback. The state of the art search engines rank search results only by page content and back links as of this writing. Search Engine Optimization is the effort to improve rankings on search engines by optimizing ranking factors related to page content.

By following a few simple rules you can make your pages search engine friendly to improve your rankings on search engines.

Choosing Right Keywords

One subject or topic can be described in many different ways using different keywords or key phrases. You want to use the keywords that is often used by Web users. The number of times a term is searched in a month is defined as keyword popularity. You want to use the popular keywords to generate more traffic to your pages. Your page may be ranked #1 for certain keywords. If no one uses those keywords to conduct search the rank is useless.

The next step in keyword selection is to look at the competitiveness of the keywords you're interested in. Keyword competitiveness is the range of the PageRank values of the top 10 listing on SERPs for a particular keyword. This is easy if you have installed Google Toolbar for IE. See Build Website Traffic from Search Engines for details and examples for keyword popularity, keyword competitiveness and Keyword suggestion tools.

Keywords should be descriptive and specific to summarize the content of a page. If the keywords are too general and your pages don't have a higher PageRank, users will never find those pages. On the other hand, specific and descriptive keywords allow pages with lower PageRank to place higher on the search engines for certain search terms. A page with general information will not attract users' attention even if they hit the pages.

Page Title

Keywords in page title has been and will always be an important factor in computing relevance. The weight of page title in relevance may vary from search engine to search engine, and from index update to index update. Google's recent update, apparently places less weight on page title than before in an effort to minimize the impact of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) on search results.

Keywords in the page title are also the determining factor whether users want to view a page at all when s psge appears in search results. A page title generally have two parts: a keyword or key phrase that are friendly to users and search engines, and verbiage that distinguishes your page from other pages which use the same key phrases. The first part improves your search engine rankings, and the second part increases the click through rate of your pages once they're ranked well on the search engines.

Body Content

Body content text naturally confirms and expands the statement of your page title. Link text (words appearing in hyperlinks), keywords with emphasis, keywords in normal text, quality of the content and length of content are all factored into search engine ranking algorithm.

  • Keywords in link text are more important than keywords in normal text. Text (link text) points to another web page should naturally deserve more attention to users than normal text.
  • Keywords with emphasis such as text within H1 - H4 tags, bold and strong tags are usually weighted more than normal text.
  • Keywords in normal text
  • Relevant keywords may or may not impact the rankings on search engines for the selected keywords. But it will help you generate extra traffic in case users use those not-so-popular keywords as search terms. The search engines of the future will likely rank search results based on understanding of page content, not limited to statistics of keywords on documents.
  • Focus of keywords refers to the common theme of all keywords or key phrases within a particular page. You may have many keywords on a page, but those keywords should contribute to the expansions of the page topic. If your page addresses two topics, it is always a good idea to split the page into two.
  • Length of the content impacts the rankings too. The Web Users prefer to view pages with specific content that was what they were looking for, rather than search a piece of content on a lengthy page. My preference for the optimum length of page content is between 200 - 1000 words for content pages.
  • Text Quality, such as spelling and grammar errors, can partially measure the quality of a page content.
  • Simple and Valid HTML Code may help improve your rankings too. The search engines trend to consider pages with invalid HTML code as documents with low quality.

Keywords in URLs

Keywords in URLs naturally speaks the relevance of a page even though the trend is to weight less on keywords in URLs. If you have a page for online investing it makes sense to name the file "online_investing.html". If you anticipate the continuous content change and want to maintain PageRank for that page, you can name it neutrally as "12345.html", as long as it's not named "online_dating.html".

Relevance of Linking

Linking to high PageRank pages will boost neither the PageRank of a page, nor the rankings of that page on search engine result pages. Linking to irrelevant pages, however, reduces the relevance of your page content and the rankings of the page on search engine results. Relevant Ads, as they add values to user experience, boost the relevance, thus the search result rankings of the page, while excessive irrelevant ads, as they may disturb user experience, will negatively impact the relevance and search rankings of the page..

Search engines, after all, is just the aggregation of average Web users. When we say Search Engine Optimization, we mean user-friendly. Never use any SEO techniques if they will not make your pages user-friendly.

Abuse of the SEO rules above (aka over-optimized) would drive the visitors you've been trying so hard to get to your competitors. The measure of success for any search engines is always their ability to present users with relevant high quality documents. Attempts to manipulate search engines will be penalized by the search engines as search engines continue to improve their algorithm for calculating relevance and quality of the Web pages.



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