Want to get a top ranking in search engines?

Here’s a list of some of the most important elements of getting good placement in search results pages (SERPS). The list is quite long and detailed, but if you execute many of these items well, your website should rank highly for your chosen keywords.

  1. Good results may take time and they may not last forever.Results may take time to achieve and without some maintenance and additional work from time to time, they may not last.
  2. Visitors coming from a search engine may land on an interior page rather than your home page.Make sure that every page within your site has the message you want to send to your visitors. An interior page may be the only page they visit.
  3. Use Google Analytics.Google Analytics provides many details about your website visitors.
    1. What page they were on before they came to yours (if they followed a link).
    2. What search terms they used to get to your site.
    3. Which web browser they were using
    4. How much time they spent on your website.
  4. Provide “alt” tags with all images.Alt tags describe what a photo or graphic is about. They are also used by search engines just like your text. It’s been shown that they can be an important addition tou your SEO mix.
  5. If you have memberships with business organizations, get them to link to your website.Chambers of commerce or other professional organizations will often provide a way for you to get a link on their website. Take advantage of all of these link resources. Many of these organizations will pass on strong PageRank to your site.
  6. Get listed with DMOZ and Yahoo!.The DMOZ (the Open Directory Project) is free while the Yahoo! Directorycharges $299 per year for “quick inclusion”. If you have a site with good content, Yahoo! will add you to their directory without you having to pay them anything, so it may be worth it to simply let your listing appear on its own.The Yahoo Site Submit tool will allow you to submit to Yahoo! for $49 but it does not expedite the process. You’ll also need to sign up for an account. Since DMOZ is completely volunteer powered it can take anywhere from a few days to perhaps even a year to get included.
  7. What you should know about paid links and banner ads.Google does not like the practice of buying links. They actually encourage people to report paid links and they’re doing this in the interest of keeping their search listings free of sites that gain PageRank via paid links, rather than good content.There’s a good bit of controversy regarding this decision which was made in 2007, but as of 2010 it still stands and does not appear to be changing anytime soon. So don’t pay for links. You can buy advertising, but when it’s done correctly it will have a “nofollow” (first introduced by Google in 2005) attached to the link for the benefit of search engines. Regular users will be able to follow the link with no problem.Of course banner ads and paid links can be worthwhile to your website and business, but don’t count on them to increase your search engine ranking, and make sure the links contain “nofollow” tags.
  8. Swapping links with other sites (reciprocal links) should be done with care.If you swap links with other websites to help your search engine rankings, try to avoid too many links on a single page. Instead, try writing short reviews of their website or the company’s products and services along with each link. If your list is short you should have no worries. A site cannot drop or lose PageRank by linking to other sites unless those other sites practice Black Hat SEO tactics. Most SEO experts agree that reciprocal links do have value.
  9. When possible, get links from web pages that have high PageRankThe higher the PageRank of an incoming link the better it will be for your web page or site. There’s no such thing as a high PageRank website because PageRank applys for pages independently, although a website with a high ranking home page may very well have high ranking pages through-out the site. An interior page on that same site may or may not not have near the vaule of the home page. Therefore, home page PageRank cannot pass value to the inner pages of website.
  10. Get listed on “vertical” search engines.Vertical search refers to niche search sites that only offer searches related to a single or small range of subjects. They’re gaining popularity because of the often poor quality that the large search engines deliver for niche terms. FindLaw is an example of a vertical search engine for the legal profession.
  11. Make sure you are listed in Google local listingsGet listed on local listings such as Google’s Get Local. It’s free to post your listings and they offer an excellent way to reach customers within your geographic area. Make a point to sign-up for an account and take advantage of Google’s free search engine marketing tool.
  12. RSS feeds may bolster SEOConsider adding customized RSS feeds to your own site to provide other sites with a reason to subscribe to your feeds. Write summaries of your new articles and offer them in an RSS feed with links to your full articles. For best results, make sure the wording of the titles is different than the actual article titles. Refrain from copying text snippets from your actual article or news item to prevent duplicate content penalties. Search for topic related websites that use RSS feeds and offer your feed. If they link to your articles on your website with your uniquely worded RSS headlines you’ll be building quality backlinks. Learn more about tracking your RSS feeds in this article.
  13. Start a blog about your targeted keywords and subjectsA blog will allow you to write new content on (hopefully) a frequest basis. This newly created content can improve your search rankings by providing the search engines something fresh and new to index on your site. In fact if you blog often, the search engines will crawl your site more often and dig deeper to find new content. You’ll also benefit when others link to content you’ve created, if they’ve found it link-worthy. Making the blog part of your domain is typically better than having it on a separate website or using a service like blogger.com. However, don’t let a major website overhaul keep you from getting started with this important SEO tool.
  14. Find your niche in the “long tail” of searchA guy named Chris Anderson wrote an article about the long tail theory and how it relates to web search. The long tail theory says that our economy and culture is moving from mass markets to miilions of niche markets. Capitalizing on these niche markets can be an important part of your marketing plan.
  15. Changing your domain nameMoving to a new domain can have search engine ranking implications. You’ll need to do a 301 redirect and read this article form Google concerning best practices when moving your website.
  16. Attract mobile users to your site: Mobile SEOGoogle provides a special search interface for conductiong mobile search for folks with iPhones and Blackberries. Here’s a great article about building SEO for mobile websites.
  17. Optimize your page title tags(they appear at the top of the browser window).Each page title should pull the most relevant keywords from the page content and those important keywords should be used first in the title, before less important keywords.
  18. Website text contentEach page of your site should work to accomplish your SEO plan. If you really want to focus on searches associated with city names, then you need to have a page or pages with those city names and the keywords you want to rank highly for.
  19. The age of your website domain counts towards PageRankThe older a website is the better it will fare in search engines. You can check your websites age using a simple online tool.
  20. Get high quality links to your website from highly ranked websitesThe higher the PageRank of the site that links to yours the better, so a link from the NY Times home page would be better than a link from a relatively unknown blog. It’s also important that links to your site have keywords in them. For instance you would want the link text to read “jet ski rentals” rather than “Bob’s Surf Shop” if you were trying to rank well for jet ski rentals.
  21. The quality of your web competition’s SEO often determines how fast you can rise to the topIf you’re in an industry that rely’s heavily on traffic from the web, there may already be a lot of competiton for your chosen keywords. For instance, real estate agents in any major metro area will have a lot of competition from sites that have loads of SEO content. Ranking well in these areas for search terms related to real estate can require significant work, but it can provide an excellent return on your investment in time.
  22. The text that is surrounding the link and its posiiton on the page is importantSearch engines tend to regard the text directly surrounding a link with greater importance than the other text on the page. So a link from inside a paragraph that mentions important keywords may carry greater weight than a link in a sidebar or the page footer. Adding links within the footer of a page may help but it’s better to get links higher up in the body copy of the page.
  23. Including a link title within the HTMLIt’s possible to add a title to the HTML link on a page, and doing so can help increase the importance of the link.
  24. The “meta” description tagMeta tags are not used for rankings by any of the major search engines any more, but they are an important since they are responsible for the text that occurs in the search results under your search listing. This text under your search listing may help people decide to click on your link rather than another on the search engine results page.
  25. The “meta” keywords tagThe meta keywords tag is no longer in use as a search engine ranking factor.
  26. Consult and publish with experts in your fieldIn any industry, there will be recognized experts. Seeking out these experts for collaborative publishing efforts, review of your work, or even having them contribute small quotes on your website can be a valuable tactic.
  27. SEO is an ongoing task.How often you need to make changes to your site to get it to the top — or keep it there — depends on your competition and what they’re doing to advance their ranking.
  28. SEO isn’t easy and you shouldn’t break the rules.
    Google has many rules regarding what’s appropriate and what’s not regarding SEO. Although some companies benefit from good ranking by bending or breaking the rules, their website may get banned at some future date as Google updates their algorithm. Unless you want to take chances with your website it’s wise to take the high road. Read this great post titled “No Shortcuts to Good SEO” and this one about “nofollow links”.