Website Search Engine Optimization
At it's most basic, search engines find your site by matching the words searched, to the words found on your site. Sounds simple enough, but there are many complexities. Determining the best words (known as keywords) for your site is the first challenge. What few words or phrases best describe your entire business, or site, and are also common enough to be used to find you? Once we have these little gems, we 'optimize' your site, by using these keywords in many places. We put them in your title bar (top of the browser window), in the page content, in the meta tags (hidden html code on your pages), and in your alternate tags (the text that appears when you put your mouse over an image.). Where they appear in your page is also important. So when someone searches 'widgets', the site with the word 'widgets' appearing most often in the right place may rank higher than the site with 'widgets' not appearing as often and not in the right place.
That's just one way a search engine may rank you. Many search engines now look at how many other web sites link to you. That's called 'link popularity'. (ex. Google uses this method). Other search engines, are not search engines at all, but directories. (ex. Yahoo, and Open Directory Project) Directories use humans to categorize your site into the appropriate places. Your site must be submitted for consideration into each category, and reviewed by an administrator. All this makes for a confusing mix, but Webstorm understands the complexities of search engines and will work with you to best optimize your site for them.
Search Engine Optimization - A Basic Checklist
Domain Name Selection
Are your keywords in it? Examples:
Title, Description, Keywords, Heading Tags, Alt Tags. Again, your chosen keywords should occur throughout these specific tag types. Don't go overboard and "stuff" too many keywords everywhere.
Search Engines love links and text!
Does your page try to talk about everything, or a limited topic? Is it well organized? Easily readable by real visitors? These are important considerations. Write to convert humans, but do keep in mind the keywords your page is targetting.
Linkage - HyperLinks and Site Map
Anchor Text, or the visible text of hyperlinks, should also be keyword descriptive. A Site Map is important for search bots because from this single page, they can reach all of your site's other pages. A visible link (though not necessarily as part of your site navigation) to the Site Map will ensure that a search engine bot finding a specific page will be able to find all of your other pages.
Directory and File Naming
Is your site’s folder/directory structure well organized? Do your page names include keywords? For example:
All non-spam search bots check for the existence of the robots.txt file in your root directory. Some won't crawl your site unless it is present.
Link Popularity: Quality is better than Quantity
General opinion is that you should only link to maybe 20 external sites, but incoming links to your page will in part determine the page's relative "popularity". Many sites linking to your competition may also link to you, if you ask nicely! Check the Google PageRank and Link visibility of site/pages you want to link to you. If they are worse off than you, getting them to link to you is of little value.
Get a favicon.ico for your site. It’s a free/cheap way to add a logo to the visitor's address bar and in their Favorites folder if they bookmark you!
A note about Search Engine Submissions
Automated tools can help, but don't overdo it! Once per month (per page) is usually enough. Once a page is indexed, re-submitting it will have very limited value unless it has been changed. Better to spend time getting other sites already higher in the engines to link to your web page!
When checking your page's ranking for specific keyword/phrases, don't forget that the engines change their method (algorithm) for inclusion and ranking quite regularly.
Basic Search Marketing Overview
a. Get ready for the engines (optimize)
b. Get into the engines - thru submissions or links from other sites
c. Work to improve ranking - further page optimization, improved incoming links
d. Explore paid search traffic
d. Measure traffic, ranking, clicks, sales - Compare ad spending to revenue (ROI)