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Increase Your Search Engine Visibility: Three Things You Can Do Today

There are hundreds of things you can do at your Web site (and off site) to increase your search engine visibility, and if you’re in a competitive market you’ll need to do a whole lot more than three of them.

Your established competitors have hired search engine experts to get their sites to rank higher than yours and new competitors are coming on board all of the time, looking to displace you from the first page of results.

However, sometimes it helps to start with the basics. If you haven’t done these three things listed below, now’s the time to improve your visibility and rank at Google, Yahoo and the rest of the search engines.

Improve Your Title Tags.

I still see business owners making the same mistakes when it comes to title tags. Titles are the words that appear in the title bar of your browser window, not on the Web page itself. (If you’re still not sure what I’m talking about, check out this post on title tags. These titles are probably the most important variable when it comes to ranking well.

Here are some tips for improving your title tags:

  • Use words that your prospects will use at the search engines. They’re more likely to search on what they need, i.e., “green building supplies” or “Cleveland cosmetic surgeon” than the name of your company.
  • Use unique titles on each page. Don’t forget that each page on your site is an opportunity to be found by the search engines, so create unique, descriptive titles for each page.
  • Front load your title with your best keyword phrases. Search engines tend to give more weight to the first few words in a title, so “Skiing with Children: A Practical Guide” will probably do better than “A Practical Guide to Skiing with Children.”

Make It Easy for Search Engines to Crawl Your Site.

Search engines send “spiders” to grab the content from your site, also known as crawling. If a spider has trouble navigating to some or all of your site those pages won’t appear at the search engines. Here are some tips to make sure you’re not creating an unintended gated community:

  • Get rid of Flash navigation. Flash is cool, but shouldn’t be used for navigation on the site if search engine visibility is important to you. It’s especially egregious as a movie on your home page with no other navigation. At this point you’ve told the search engines that they’re not welcome.
  • Get rid of frames. Although search engines have gotten better at navigating framed sites, they still have trouble. In addition, since often the navigation is in one frame and the content in another, a search result may send a visitor to a page with no navigation…in other words, a dead end.
  • Get rid of navigation that relies on JavaScript. Although not all JavaScript navigation is bad, some instances hide the Web page address from the spider, blocking them from a page with potentially great content.

Get More Incoming Links.

Since search engines see quality incoming links as “votes of confidence,” it’s important to cultivate those links. Although there are many ways to get incoming links, here are three proven methods:

  • Get listed in established directories. Although you may blanche at paying for a listing, it’s often the paid directories that carry the most weight at the search engines. If a $299/year listing at Yahoo brings in $1,000 extra in business, that’s a good return on investment.
  • Market your articles. By using an article distribution service like iSnare or The Phantom Writers, you can reach a wider audience and create dozens if not hundreds of links back to your Web site from other Web sites that carry your article.
  • Create link-worthy content. No one’s going to link to your online brochure. Create quality content that is of interest to your prospects and customers. Since people are often more likely to link to a blog over a Web site, consider posting your content to your blog and use your blog to lead people to your Web site for conversion.

In Conclusion

If any of these tips were news to you, make the appropriate changes and watch your rankings improve. If these aren’t enough to give you a satisfactory bump at the search engines, it may be time to bring in a professional.

–Rich Brooks
President, flyte new media

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