How to Optimize Your Website for the Search Engines

Do you want to generate lots of free traffic to your website?
How do you optimize your website so it’s search engine friendly?
How do you increase your search engine rankings?

website redesign

If your website achieves first page rankings on Google on any of the other major search engines you’ll receive lots of free traffic. Keep in mind there’s no guarantee you’ll achieve and/or maintain top rankings because search engines often change their ranking formulas. Your site may be at the top for several weeks then disappear because the formula has changed or competing websites have outranked you. Sometimes you’ll get top rankings in one search engine but not in the others.

10 Ways to Optimize Your Website for the Search Engines

1. Keyword research

This is the most important aspect of optimizing your website because people find your site in the search engines by entering specific keywords. Use the free wordtracker tool or google adwords tool to create a list of keywords related to your niche. Prioritize your list by displaying the keywords containing the most searches in ascending order.

2. Meta tags

These include the title, description and keyword meta tags.

  • Title meta tag: Write a brief (approx 6-10 words) description that describes what your site is about. Use your main keyword(s) in the beginning.
  • Description meta tag: Describe one of the main benefits of your site in 170 characters. Longer is fine but realize it may be cut short by some search engines. Don’t use the same description as your title meta tag.
  • Keywords meta tag: This tag has almost become useless due to it’s abuse however it’s a good habit to include it as some smaller search engines value its presence. Keep the length between 200 and 500 characters. The keywords should be separated by commas.

3. Heading tags

These include h1, h2, h3, etc and are primarily used for headings and subheadings in your content. This tells the search engines this text is more important than the main content.

4. Content

The first paragraph is the most important section of your content. It should include all the keywords and keyphrases of your title and description meta tags. Try not to place images, flash or video before the first paragraph so the search engines will find your content easily.

Weave your keywords into succeeding paragraphs but don’t overdo it. Using too many of them dilutes their power. Optimize each page with only 1 or 2 keywords. Use the thesaurus to find similar keywords instead of always using the same one.

5. Images

Only include images that relate or add value to the content. Optimize the images by using the “alt tag.” This is an html tag used to describe what the image is about. Search engines can’t read images but they can read the text descriptions contained in the code.

6. Validate the code

Code errors often prevent web pages from displaying incorrectly in the major browsers and can slow the loading of your website. Check for code errors with an html validator

7. Cascading style sheets (CSS)

CSS separates the design from the content. Whenever you need to alter a design element (e.g. color, width, etc) you just need to edit the CSS file.

8. Links

Use text links in your navigation menu and internal linking (linking to other pages or websites) so search engines can index them. Use anchor text (linked text) within your content to increase link popularity.

9. Web page speed

Web pages should load within a few seconds otherwise your visitors will leave. Avoid adding large or too many images, video, audio, javascript to your web pages. Place your your CSS and javascript in external files instead of inserting the full code in the web page.

Often web hosts overload their servers with too many websites causing them to load slowly. Check the load times of your web pages. If your website is correctly optimized and still loads slowly check your web hosting service.

10. Redirect non-www urls

Search engines read non-url pages (e.g. http:// http://www. www. as all different pages. Insert 301 redirect code in the .htaccess file then upload this file to your server. (Read “How to Redirect a Web Page Using a 301 Redirect“) Now whenever someone enters any of those combinations they’ll get redirected to your full website address e.g.

Once you’ve optimized your website start building links to all your web pages. Your rankings will increase based on the number and quality of links pointing to it.

Related articles
Link Building Strategies Boost Search Engine Rankings
How Not to Optimize Your Web Page
Optimizing Title Tags – Top 10 Strategies Part 1
Optimizing Title Tags – Top 10 Strategies Part 2
Optimizing Keywords Meta Tags – 4 Top Strategies
Optimizing Description Tags – 7 Top Strategies

Web Site Promotion Services
Web Site Maintenance
Search Engine Optimization
Link Popularity