Improving Search Engine Placements with Content
Well-written content is very important to search engine placement and maintaining repeat traffic to a web site. Even though search engines vary and use their own criteria for ranking web sites, there are some general characteristics that can be used in order for higher rankings and repeat traffic.
Uniqueness – Don’t Duplicate
Content should be written uniquely for each page of your web site. Why? Well, when a search engine spider indexes each page, it constantly searches for any patterns that match known spam practices.
If you optimize for keywords that have little or nothing to do with what the visitor will see on the page, you're asking for trouble. For help finding the appropriate keywords to target, there are a number of services such as WordTracker (www.wordtracker.com/freetrial.htm) that can help.
Search engines don't trust hidden keywords. Keywords in meta tags for example will not get you banned or labeled as a spammer even though they are hidden. The same goes with other hidden areas like ALT tags, NOFRAMES, hyperlink URLs, and comments. These are some of the "acceptable" hidden areas so long as you include only relevant keywords and you don't over-do it. Hiding keywords by using the same color text as the background is almost always considered to be spam.
Cloaking takes the "don't hide" concept to the extreme. In simplest terms, cloaking software serves up one page to the search engine, and another page to the visitor. This effectively hides the real page being indexed by the engine from the visitor. If you've ever run across a page that somehow ranked high for no apparent reason, it may have been cloaked. Most engines today repeatedly speak out against cloaking. Still, the practice continues to thrive since the engines have traditionally done a poor job of finding and penalizing sites employing the technique.
If you stuff too many keywords into your page, you could get in trouble for spamming. Repeating the same word multiple times in a row is the worst offense. However, over-use of your keyword can cause your ranking to drop. What's the magic number? That varies by the area of the page and the search engine. In general, 4 to 15 is suggested for a page as a whole.
Search engines are always on the lookout for web sites that offer information “useful” to their users. Following the logic of a search engine (and they are all essentially logical), an evolving web site is likely to be more interesting to searchers since the content is up-to-date. If Google found new content every time it indexed your web site, your site would instantly gain credibility because this would indicate that your site is constantly evolving. As a result, your site has a better chance of obtaining better placements and maintaining the positions gained.
It is extremely important that when you create the copy for a web page you try to maintain the overall relevance of the topic.
In the above example, the keywords on the page will be diluted and it will make it more difficult for a visiting search engine to determine the placement that the page should achieve.
A great deal of the SEO (search engine optimization) process is ensuring topical clarity throughout a web site. By ensuring that the copy on each page clearly indicates a desired topic, you will force a search engine to place your web site under your desired listing.
It is very important for your site to be focused. For example, Keep in mind that most of the top search engines will rank your site depending upon the topic they determine you are offering. This determination is largely made based upon the text within your web site. Don’t give them any reason to get ‘confused’.
The text on your home page is crucial to maintaining the attention of fresh viewers. In fact, copy is so important that many companies prefer to have a professional copy writer create the content. Since this is not an option, you have to keep your text engaging as well as smartly optimized to present an obvious topic to the visiting search engine spiders or visitors. To do this, keep your mind focused on the keyword(s) that you have chosen to target on the search engines while you write the content for the page. Implement the keywords within the text without sacrificing the true intent of the information – to engage and retain your viewers.
Important Note: Often the first 25-30 words of your home page are what the each search engine will use for the description of your web site. Try to utilize your target keyword/s within this area but be certain the resulting sentence is legible and descriptive.
Seems simple right? Well, there are many ways to unwittingly damage the visibility of your web site’s content to the search engines.
Remember To Cross-Link
You should create links that travel from your home page to all other pages you wish to be indexed. If your optimized page has only outbound links and no inbound links, you run the risk of a search engine penalizing it for smelling like a one-directional doorway or entrance page. Although this is not likely to get your site banned, it may prevent the page from being indexed, or ranked highly.
Don’t Link Farm
Reciprocal links are great for improving your rankings. However, be careful of joining "link farm" services designed to artificially inflate your link popularity. Google and to a lesser extent other engines are now said to be blacklisting link farm sites. If you're caught linking TO one of these sites, you're found guilty through association. For ways to safely improve your link popularity, see: http://www.webposition.com/mp-0500.htm#ONE.
Optimize the Title
The title of the home page can be optimized quite simply by placing the keyword or keyword phrase that you have chosen to target first and then finish with the name of your company or web site. For example:
The search engines place a great deal of weight in the title of your home page and the keywords within your title will likely be chosen as the title of your listing on the search engines. The title also plays a huge role in the relevance of your site. The topic denoted within your title will be compared to the content within the body of the page, if the topic and content match, you will have a much better chance of obtaining higher targeted placements.
Much of the content for this article was taken from www.stepforth.com/.