Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Toronto, September 19, 2012 - Getting found on the web is an effective way to increase your sales leads and potential clients. By improving your Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, you rank higher within a given search. Coming out on top in page rank should always be at top of mind when designing a website.
"Sadly, many organizations spend significant dollars each month chasing a top ranking," Says Randall Craig, Social Media and Web Strategist and author of the Online PR and Social Media series, "I say 'sadly' because much of the SEO work could have been built in from the start, and because much of the ongoing work they could do by themselves at little or no cost."
Google works by using an algorithm that takes into account 100+ different factors. These factors are not only secret, but they change as Google works to improve their results – and foil "professional" SEO fraudsters. So while nobody knows precisely what the algorithm is there are best practices available to use as guidelines.
"There are four main areas that you are able to influence," Says Randall Craig. "Page factors, Site factors, External web factors, and User factors." Randall Craig takes a closer look at Page Factors to make or break your ranking.
1) HTML Construction: The way your site is coded can have a dramatic impact on your site's ranking.
• The Title tag contains the words that appear within the top Title bar of every browser window. Every page should have a unique Title tag that contains relevant keywords for that page. Most sites have irrelevant – and identical – Title tags.
• Google doesn't index what is within each graphic, but the "Alternative" text that can be added alongside the graphic – the ALT tag – is. ALT tags that contain words such as pic1, image, or picture, are useless, but surprisingly common.
• The H1 and H2 tags contain the formatting of the headlines and subheads. They are powerful indicators to Google about content, but many sites ignore these tags completely. Instead, they directly format text to be a specific font, size, and style.
2) Linked Filenames: Google will rank a page higher if the text that is on the link has a tighter match with the filename that the link is directed to. Both the hotlinked words and the underlying link should be related in meaning.
3) META Description: This is a 2-3 sentence, or 155 characters, description of the content of the page. It will often be displayed on search engine results pages, and can improve click-through. At one point this tag, and META Keywords, were exceptionally important to determine ranking, but it is no longer being used directly by Google to determine ranking.
4) META Keywords: No longer used by Google at all. It may be helpful to include this tag, but it is better to upgrade the content to be keyword-friendly. "Experts" who counsel the use of META keywords are likely out-of-date with their other advice as well. Using this tag also exposes your keywords to competitors, who cannot otherwise learn about your target keywords. It may be wise to skip META keywords completely.
5) Keyword Density: The better the matches between what the user is searching for, and what your page contains, the better your page ranking will be. That being said, "stuffing" keywords to game the system can penalize your site – or have it removed completely. Google's general rule is to write for the reader first. Spend time making sure that keywords are embedded naturally throughout your content.
Adds Randall Craig: "Check your own site to ensure these factors are being incorporated – often overlooked Social Media profiles should also be keyword-rich."
Content creation is still the most beneficial as it can help with quality links, and can position the site or author as an authority. Both of these can occur naturally when the content is relevant and compelling. Keyword rich content can only help.
Since 1994, Randall Craig has been advising on web and social media strategy. He is the author of six books including the newly published Social Media for Business and the Online PR and Social Media series. For more information about Randall Craig visit www.randallcraig.com.
For more information contact:
416.256.7773 x101 / Randall@108ideaspace.com
416.256.7773 x 103 / Carolyn@108ideaspace.com
Pinetree Advisors Inc.