This article is about getting free, organic traffic from the Search Engines. Most people know that there are three major Search Engines, namely Google, Yahoo and Bing (formerly MSN). Each Search Engine’s algorithm is different but their core structure is the same. That’s why if a site is ranked well in one Search Engine, it would probably be quite close to the top in the other ones, too.
So the question is, how does one get a website to the top of Google, Yahoo or Bing? No one, except those select few working in these Search Engine companies knows the exact algorithm they use to determine the rankings of websites. But through experience, webmasters can make fairly intelligent guesses. That’s how the whole science of Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) came about.
Generally, there are two parts to SEO. Firstly, there is on-page SEO and secondly, there is off-page SEO. Search Engines rank each individual web page, not just a website. Therefore, on-page SEO refers to what is on the web page that will cause the Search Engine algorithm to rank it highly. Likewise, off-page SEO refers to the factors outside of that web page that cause it to rank well in the Search Engines.
This article will focus on on-page SEO.
As far as on-page SEO is concerned, the two most important things the Search Engines look for are firstly, the title tag and secondly, the content on the web page. Title tags are also called h1 tags in HTML or computer language. The text that you type within the opening h1 tag and the closing h1 tag is the title for the article. This is the primary thing the Search Engines look at to determine what a web page is about. Thus, if a web page is about sports cars, a title might be ‘The Top Ten Selling Sports Cars in 2009’.
Good on-page SEO is where the title matches what many people are searching for in that niche. Therefore, in the title above, if there are many people searching for ‘top ten selling sports cars 2009’ or ‘top selling sports car’ or ‘best selling sports car’ or ‘top ten sports cars’ and the like, the web page above would rank highly in the Search Engines. This is why keyword research (that was explained in part 2 of this series of articles) is so important. Accurate keyword research will dig out the search terms most people are using in any particular niche.
Besides the title tag, there are two other tags which are less important. They are the description tag and the keyword tag. The description tag refers to what the web page is about and the keyword tag comprises of the main keywords that characterize the content on the web page. These two are not as important as the title tag, so as long as you ensure the main keywords that are in the title are also in the description and keyword tags, it would be fine. In the example above, the main keywords would be ‘top’, ‘selling’, ‘sports cars’ and ‘2009’.
Naturally, what follows the title would be the content of the article. Search Engine algorithms have become more sophisticated today compared to the past. In the past, webmasters could get away with illogical stuffing of the main keyword into the article and the Search Engines would rank them highly simply because the main keyword appeared many times (whether the article made much sense or not). But these days, Search Engines use Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) and other techniques to ensure that the content of the article does make sense and provides information of value to the reader before it ranks it highly.
Therefore, the best way to ensure the Search Engines rank your web page highly is to provide good content in line with the title of the article. As long as the content is relevant and provides value, the Search Engines will rank it favorably.