Search Engine Optimization Advice For Websites

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As we all know promoting a website is very hard. I have written this guide to help you try and get a good ranking in search engines for your website. Some of these tips can also be used for eBay shops.

Meta Tags:
Title
Keywords
Description
Make sure you include all 3 in each web page, it is rumoured that the keywords meta tag isn't being used any more, as no one has been able to prove this and it takes little time including it I would strongly suggest you still include it.
Description: Make sure your description reflects the page it is on.
Title: Make sure your title reflects the page it is on, if you have to include your company name in the title tag as many do make sure its at the end of the title unless it has your keyword(s) in it, for example Body Jewellery Shop is your company name and your keyword is Body Jewellery.
Make sure your meta tags are unique to each page and not the same! When inserting keywords into your meta tags make sure you include the keywords as close to the beginning of the tags as possible.

Content:
Content of a website is very important; make sure the content and keywords reflect directly to the products you are selling. Keep keywords as close to the beginning of the content as possible. Make your headers using the <H1> html tag and sub headings using the <H2> html tag. Making certain keywords bold is rumoured to also help with your ranking.

Links:
These are very important to Google. Make sure your links are related to your website, don't go to a jewellery website requesting a link if you are selling garden equipment!
A lot of people have troubles finding websites to link to them; this is normally because you are lower on the food chain, when requesting a website to link to you make sure you have placed a link on your website first and give them the link to the page with their link on for them to check and make it clear that they are able to change the details of the link at any time. It is recommended that you make their Title text the link to their website rather then www.theirdomain.com.
It is even better if you can get a website to link to you and you don't need to link back, this shows Google that you have not swapped links and that this website has linked to you because it feels like your website is worth linking to. There is a number of ways to do this but the best and cheapest is to write articles and submit them to websites which then other people can search the website for articles to place on their websites, for example in your articles you could have a link to your website which says "more useful information on body jewellery".

Below is an email i received just a couple of days ago when i was requesting links for a client.

Hi Richard

See here:
http://www.XXXXX.co.uk/index.php?act=viewDoc&docId=22
Thanks for doing ours in advance, much appreciated. It really annoys me when people send reciprocate mails (about 25 a day) without doing any work for it first. I normally bin them but you obviously know the correct protocol.

Best wishes

XXXXX

Articles:
Articles can be a fantastic way to get good content on your website; there are websites out there which other people submit their articles to for others to use. Articles can also be a good reason for other websites to link to you, your articles could provide very useful information to their customers which they may need/want to know.

Competition:
Having a competition on your website will drive traffic to your website; you can submit your competition to competition websites. You can put a £2.99 item up for the competition and hopefully the users who enter may buy your products, if at the very least you have a stat counter on your website it shows to other potential link partners that you are getting a good regular income of visitors.

Products:
Make sure your products have keywords in where possible, list them as you would then go back to each one and read through them. If you can add a keyword then do so, this will add an extra keyword to your website and search engines will see it.
Create an All Products page, this will give search engines a direct one link click through to your products which will help search engines find all of your products. It can also help your customers who may just want a quick look at what sort of products you offer with out going through all of your categories.

Sub-Categories:
Try and use Sub-Categories, if you have a website selling Body Jewellery, for example you have a category named Belly Bars you could make sub-categories which could be Fimo Clay Belly Bars, Titanium Belly Bars and Uv Reactive Belly Bars.
This helps your customers find exactly what they are looking for and you have just added 3 extra keyword terms to each page with your sub-categories on! (Only do this if it does not make your menu bar look untidy!)

Sitemap:
Having a sitemap can be useful to the customer, it is also very useful to search engines. For the same reason as the All Products page this gives the search engines a direct page that has every web page you have got on your website on a single page, this gives the search engines direct access to each page rather then going through 5 links just to get to 1 product or 2 links to get to your FAQ page which could have 10 keyword terms on.

Alt Tags:
Alt tags are used on images, these can provide the information of the image to a visitor if the image does not display, for example if you have a logo image the alt tag could say "Company name logo" so if it doesn't display the user knows it is only your logo and is not important to any products they may buy. It is good for the customer and good for search engines as search engines also reads the alt tags and will process any keyword terms you may have in them.

Code:
Make sure your web pages have as little code on them as possible, if you are using Javascript or CSS then make it external rather then internal on the pages, by shortening the coding the search engines will find your keywords quicker and may rank them higher as they are closer to the top of the page.

URL:
Make your url's static, this means rather then having a product url as http://www.yourdomain.com/product_info.php?product_id0
it could be
http://www.yourdomain.com/your-product-name.html
This helps search engines with your ranking and also includes keywords in your url's.

Research:
Well almost all of your research should be placed before getting a website but am sure you have gone past this, another tip which can be very tiring and get you no where is trying to find out where other websites are getting visitors from, now this is normally an impossible task to do. The chances of you finding out is slim but there is a way which you might be able to get to the information needed, normally a website has website stats, if you can find out what the folder name is that has the website stats in and it is not password protected then you will have the information needed.
Where do you start?
As we all know you want to be in the first 3 pages of search engines, if i were you I would look at your keywords and search on search engines and write down all the top websites then I would go to http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp and put each website address into it. On each result page take a look for Name servers, you should see something like ns.XXXX.com now type the XXXX.com into your website address bar, if you get a website look under hosting and see if they offer stats, if they do then look at what stats they offer, if they name what the stats name is then go to that website and download it and see if there is a default folder for the stats, if you find a default folder then try the website which you are researching plus the folder name for example www.websiteyourresearching.com/statsname
You might find you go through 100 websites and find nothing but if you find one and it provides useful information it will be worth your time!

Take for example i have just launched a website selling funny t-shirts, i go to google.co.uk and search funny t-shirts, i go through the first 4 and find nothing. The 5th one at this time is www.doseuk.com, i go to http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp and type the domain address and see that the name servers say HOSTGATOR.COM so I put this into my web browser and click on web hosting and see they offer Webalizer as the stats, now I use this so I know that this is a free program for stats and I think the default folder if I remember correctly is webalizer, so I try the following url's:
www.doseuk.com/webalizer
www.doseuk.com/webalize
www.doseuk.com/webaliz
www.doseuk.com/web

I got no where, but what i should have tried first was:
http://www.doseuk.com/stats/

Now I have got access to see where the visitors are coming from! Do i see it is worth spending money on SEO for the keyword Funny T-Shirts? Do i see a good advertising spot on a website? So we see from this that being 5th on Google could be worth paying for, we can also see a few forums which the website link was posted on and this directed visitors to the website which could be a good place for me to be placing links on because i can see that it does bring in visitors and is worth my time. The information is there for you to take and for you to use! (out dated information on the stats but you get an idea!)


Articles:
Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
Amazines.com - The Ultimate Free Article Database.
http://www.amazines.com/

Competitions:
More competitions at The Prize Finder
http://www.theprizefinder.com/
Loquax - The UK Competitions Portal
http://www.loquax.co.uk/
Sweepstakes Advantage
http://www.sweeps.ws/


Written by Richard from IVUM
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