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Search Engine Tips

Getting high search engine rankings can be a huge bonus for any website, but they are often difficult to acquire. All search engines have different criteria that they bring to bear when assessing web pages, and these are also constantly changing, so a definitive guide to search engine success is impossible to produce. Below, however, are a collection of general tips which should help you improve your search engine rankings (not in any particular order!).

1. Submit Your Site

Sounds simple, but how are you supposed to know till someone tells you? Search engines don't just magically know about your site - you have to submit your site for inclusion, and even this doesn't guarantee you a place. Go to each search engine and look for a link saying "Submit Your Site" or "Submit URL", or something similar - there will be one, even if you have to dig a little bit to find it (as in the case of Google). Important: Don't keep submitting your site repeatedly, as this will detrimentally effect your rank on most search engines. The one exception to this is Lycos, who favour fresh content, so make sure you submit to them regularly!

We also recommend Trellian's SubmitWolf program, which automatically submits your site to quite literally thousands of search engines! For more information click here

You can also guarantee your inclusion in a number of major search engines such as AOL, MSN, HotBot, and Overture, simply by submitting to Inktomi, which can be done through firstwriter.com by clicking here.

2. Get Links

Most search engines will base their ranking of your site to some degree on its link popularity - on how many other sites link to yours. Get as many links as you can, and (if you want to be ultra-thorough) submit the pages that link to you rather than your own. Search engines rank pages higher if they "find" them, rather than having them submitted to them. Some search engines also give higher relevance to links if they are from sites that have your targeted keywords in their title / domain name, etc. A link from a high ranking page will also be worth more than a link from a low-ranking page. Important: because everyone wants links, some people have opened link farms - sites which are lists of totally unconnected links and which have no other content. Being a part of a link farm can damage your rank or even have you removed from search engines, so avoid them! Stick to real sites with real content offering real links.

3. Fine-Tune Your Content

Search engines HATE people trying to optimise their pages to fit search criteria, so they are constantly changing what they want. The following tips, therefore, are only guidelines, but can help avoid doing too little, or indeed too much, to attract a search engine's attention.

  • The optimum number of words for page titles is probably seven. Eight words or more, at the moment, will cause you to be penalised on at least one major engine. Make sure your keywords are the first three, maybe four words - the rest are fillers to improve the prominence of the first few.
  • Make sure your title is at the top of your HTML <head> section. Lots of programs bury it beneath a load of gumph about what program made the page, but this can adversely affect your rankings.
  • Have as many index.html pages in your site as possible, otherwise give a page a filename which includes its important keywords.
  • Have about 20 meta keywords, but make sure that your really important keywords are in the first eight. Never repeat a keyword.
  • Try and have a word-count of about 500, with your keywords towards the start. Mention each keyword about 10 times. Be aware that too many keywords is as bad as too few.
  • Make sure that your hyperlinks include your keywords, and that your keywords are some of the earliest words in your hyperlink text.
  • Ensure that some of the URLs you are linking to include your keywords in their filenames.
  • Have at least one image with some ALT text including your keywords near the start.

For ultimate success on search engines we recommend you try using Web Position Gold. This is a program that helps you fine-tune your site perfectly to gain high search engine rankings, and was the means by which firstwriter.com gained its top ten rankings on search engines! The program itself is inexpensive and worth every penny, but there is also a limited free version you can get. Click here to visit their site.

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