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10 Steps To Higher Search Engine Positioning

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Dave Davies

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User since: 10 Oct 2004

Articles written: 9

There is perhaps no more level playing field in business than the

Internet. It is this fact that has created millionaires from paupers.

The amount of money that can be made depends of course on your industry

and your products and/or services but to be sure, if it can be sold

at all, it can be sold online.

While there are many methods out there for building a profitable

website, from banner ads to email campaigns, by far the most cost

effective over time has proven repeatedly to be search engine positioning.

That major advantage search engine positioning has over other methods

of producing revenue online is that once high rankings are attained

and provided that the tactics used were ethical and that continued

efforts are made to keep them, they can essentially hold and provide

targeted traffic indefinitely. Your site will rise and your site

may sometimes fall in the rankings but a solid and complete optimization

of your site will insure that through algorithm changes you may

fluctuate but you will not disappear.

I have been ranking websites highly on the Internet for quite a

few years now and there are some essential rules that, if followed,

will insure that over time your website does well and holds solid

and profitable positions on the major search engines.

Here are the 10 steps to higher search engine positioning:

Step One - Choosing Keywords

You first must choose your keywords. This is perhaps the most important

step of the process as incorrectly targeting phrases can result

in traffic that is not interested in your product. There are three

tools that I use virtually every day to help pick the most appropriate


  1. Overture's

    Search Term Suggestion Tool
  2. WordTracker
  3. A Brain

The last in the list is the most important. Look through the potential

keyword phrases and think, "Who would be searching using that phrase?"

If the answer is, "a student looking for information" then chances

are it won't result in a sale. If the answer is "Someone who is

looking specifically for a product I offer," then obviously this

is a prime candidate as a targeted keyword phrase.

Step Two - Site Content

Even before I optimize websites I like to get a good deal of new

content down in order to insure that I know exactly where I'm going

and exactly what I need to do to get there. Creating some of the

new content before starting the optimization process can be doubly

helpful in that it can reveal potential additions to your website

that you may not have considered (a forum or blog for example).

If you already have a site, perhaps simply sit on your back deck,

sip on a coffee and image what you would do if your whole site was

lost and you had to start again (other than launch into a very colorful

discussion with your hosting company).

Step Three - Site Structure

A solid site structure is very important. Creating a site that is

easily spidered by the search engines yet attractive to visitors

can be a daunting and yet entirely rewarding endeavor. To adequately

structure your website you must "think like a spider" which is not

as difficult as it may sound. A search engine spider reads your

web page like you would read a book. It starts at the top left,

reads across, and then moves down.

Priority must be given then, to what you place near the top of

your page.

Step Four - Optimization

Once you have your keyword targets, your content created and your

site structure established you must now move on to the most obvious

step, the optimization of your content.

As noted above, a spider places importance on what it reads highest

on the page and so beginning with a sentence that includes your

targeted phrase only makes sense. That said, stuffing in keywords

in hopes that it will add weight to your page generally doesn't

work. The term "keyword density" refers to the percentage of your

content that is made up of your targeted keywords. There are optimum

densities according to many reputable SEO's though exactly what

they are is debatable. Estimates seem to range anywhere from 4

or 5% to 10% to 12% (quite a gap isn't it).

Personally, when it comes to keyword density I prescribe to one

rule: put your keywords in the content as much as you can while

keeping it comfortably readable to a human visitor.

Some do it first, I do it last. Regardless of when you do it you

must choose your heading. At the beginning of your content you have

the opportunity to use the <h1> tag to specify the heading

of your content. This tag is given extra weight and is also an indicator

to the search engine of where your actual content starts. Make sure

to use your keywords in the heading but don't shy away from also

adding additional words (though not too many).

Step Five - Internal Linking

To insure that your website gets fully indexed you have to make

sure that the spiders have an easy path through your website. Text

links make the best choice as the anchor text (the actual words

used to link to a specific page) add relevancy to that page for

the words used to link to it. For example, if I ran a website on

acne and had a treatments page I could link to it with an image,

with text reading "Click for more information on how to treat this

skin condition" or simply "Acne Treatments". When a search engine

spider hits an image it has no idea what the image is and, while

it will follow the link, it will not give any weight to the page

it hits. If you use text that does not contain the keywords you

are targeting you are essentially supplying the engine with the

same lack of relevancy as with an image, but if you use the phrase

"Acne Treatments" to link to your acne treatments page you are attaching

relevancy to that page for those keywords.

There are two main ways to insure that your site gets well spidered

AND that the relevancy is added. The first is to place text links

on the bottom of your homepage to your main internal pages (not

EVERY page, that just looks odd). The second is to create a sitemap

to all your internal pages and link to it from your homepage. Both

methods have advantages and disadvantages but that's a whole article

unto itself.

Step Six - Human Testing

So now you have your site, it's optimized and you have your navigation

in place. The next step is to put it past someone who has never

seen your site (and preferably who won't know how much work you've

put in and tell you it's great even if it's not).

Ask them to find specific information and see how long it takes.

Ask someone else to just surf your site and watch which links they

click and ask them why they chose those ones.

Most importantly, find out how the content reads to them. You've

spent hours working through the content at this point and are probably

not the least biased on its readers. Find out how it reads to someone

who has no invested interest in the site and correct any issues

they may bring up.

Step Seven - Submissions

I take a different philosophy than most when it cones to search

engine submissions. I submit to directories (both general and topic-specific)

and to a few topical search engines but for the most part I've found

submitting to Google, Yahoo, MSN and the other major engines has

proven to be a bit of a waste of time. The major search engines

are spidering search engines, which means they will follow links

to wherever they go. Simply having sites that are spidered by the

major search engines linking to you will get your site found.

When I have spent time submitting my sites I have found they get

picked up in about a week. When I have simply skipped this step

and sought out reputable directories and other sites to get links

from I have found that at least the homepage of the site gets indexed

in as little as two days.

Neither will hurt your rankings but simply to make the best use

of your time, seek our directories and other websites to get links

from and leave the spiders to find you on their own.

Step Eight - Link Building

All of the major search engines give credit to sites that have quality

links pointing to them. How many is enough depends on your industry

and targeted phrases. Running a search on Google the reads ""

will reveal approximately how many links a competitor has.

The first place to seek links is with general and topic-specific

directories. After that you may want to move into reciprocal link

building. Reciprocal link building is the exchange of links between

two websites. Some webmasters will simply link to any website that

links back to them. I highly recommend being more particular than


Find websites that you believe your site visitors would genuinely

be interested in and you've probably found a good link partner.

You want to find links from sites that are related to yours.

There are obviously many more methods to building links than directories

and reciprocal link building. Again though, this is a whole article

(or more) in itself.

Step Nine - Monitoring

Whether you use WebPosition

or just run searches manually by hand you will have to

monitor the major search engines for your targeted phrases. Also,

you will need to review your stats to see where your traffic is

coming from and what search terms are being used to find you.

If a month passes and you don't see any changes then more work

needs to be done. I'm certainly not stating that you should take

a month off, a solid search engine positioning strategy involves

constantly adding content, building links, and insuring that your

visitors are getting the information they want to have and finding

it as easily as possible.

Step Ten - Reward Yourself

So you've done it. It's taken many, many hours of work but your

rankings are doing well. What you've created is a solid position

that will stand the tests of time provided that you continually

revisit the above noted steps and insure that your website is always

one step ahead of your competition (who have noticed you climbing

and succeeding as you would notice others climbing up around your


Now it's time to turn off your computer, take your partner out

(you haven't had much time for them lately) and have a great week(end).

You've got a lot of work to do to maintain and build on these rankings

but the hardest part is over. Congratulations!

Dave Davies is the owner of Beanstalk SEO. He has been optimizing and ranking websites since 2001 and has a solid history of success. Dave is available to answer any questions that you may have about your website and how to get it into the top positions on the major search engines.

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