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Increase Search Engine Rankings
- 17 Highly Effective Strategies
Copyright 2002 Herman Drost 

Search engines are still one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your web site. This is because it is highly targeted traffic. A person searching for a particular phrase on a search engine, gets taken to your web site.

It makes sense then, to make your site as attractive as possible to the search engines, so your rankings will improve, giving you more visitors which leads to more sales - your ultimate goal.

Here are 17 powerful strategies you should implement, to substantially increase search engine traffic:

1. Keyword Density - the ratio of keywords to on your visible page to non-keywords is called Keyword Density. i.e. if you have 100 words on your page and 3 of those words are "boat" or "boats", then you will get a keyword density of 3% of your text for the word "boat".

Try to aim for a keyword density on your site from 3-20%. This will give you a good range. You can analyze your keyword density by using these online tools:

2. Keywords in your domain name - try to incorporate one of your keywords or a keyword phrase in your domain name. i.e. (building web sites) or (hosting web sites). This may also help people to memorize your name when they are looking for this service.

3. Page Title - write a short descriptive title of 5-8 words for your web site, containing your primary keywords or keyword phrase. The page title is the first thing that people see when your site appears in the search engines. Begin your title with a capital letter, then follow with lower-case letters. This makes it easier to read than titles with all words capitalized.
Place your most important keyword phrase toward the beginning of your title tag.

4. Description Meta Tag - some search engines will include this below your title. Choose 20 of your most important keywords and write a 200-250 character sentence about your site. Don't repeat your title description but write a different one with different keywords. Some search engines will just take this description meta tag, some will use both the title and description tags.

5. Keywords Meta Tag - research 50-100 keywords people would insert in the search engines to find your site. A great tool for doing this is the keyword suggestion tool or Wordtracker.
Refine this list to your 20 best keywords or keyword phrases.

Leave out the commas between your keywords, so the search engines can group the words into any phrases that seem appropriate. This positions your words for minimum space with maximum combinations.

6. Header tags - search engines tend to place emphasis on the header tags so make sure you have your h1 tag at the top of your web page.
Use CSS (cascading style sheets) to avoid the problem of the your text appearing too large when just using html for this tag. 

Use the other header tags (h2, h3, h4) throughout your web copy.

7. Comment Tags - these are mostly used by the web designer to remind him how to structure the web page. Write a sentence using some of your most important keywords and insert the comment tags in your body copy.

8. Use the ALT Tag for Images - some people surf with Web with the graphics turned off. Therefore placing alt tags in the html code for your images enables them to see the description of that image. 

Incorporate keywords in the alt tag of your images. WARNING: Make sure the words relate to the graphic, otherwise you could get banned for "keyword stuffing".

9. Image File Names - change your image file names to your keywords.
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10. Page Link Names - place a primary keyword in your page link names. 
Rather than using a link in your navigation bar like "services", add a 
keyword to that page link. If you offer web hosting services, it could be 

Also use keywords in the page links throughout your copy. Instead of 
writing a paragraph about your testimonials and linking to the page labeled 
"testimonials", create a link to a page called "marketing successes". 

11. Create a Site Map - create a site map that contains links to all the 
sections of your site. Write a description for each section. Place this site 
map on your homepage as some search engines will only index the 
homepage and not deeper pages in your site.

12. Quality Content - provide web copy of 250 to 300 words, which are 
targeted for your web site visitors. Sprinkle your most important keywords 
throughout your text, particularly in the first paragraph. Be careful not to 
overstuff keywords in your copy so that it sounds strange when you read 
it. Get some others to review and edit your pages before you submit them 
for the world to read.

13. Repair Broken Links - most search engine directories will not list your 
site if it has broken links. Also visitors get frustrated when they reach a 
broken link page (404 error page) and will click elsewhere. Make sure you 
do a link check before your site goes live (

14. Create a contact page - the search engine directory, Yahoo will not 
index your page if you don't have a real address (don't use a Post Office 

15. Reciprocal Links - search engines (especially Goggle) place high 
relevancy on links to your site to get a good ranking. Create a links page, 
that includes links to sites with similar content. Make sure they don't 
compete with your site and that they are quality links. Preferably find 
sites that already have a high search engine ranking.

Ask sites that link to your competition to link to your site. To find out 
which sites are linking to your competition, visit a search engine and enter 
"link:" before your competitors URL. For 

16. Cross linking multiple sites - if you have multiple sites, cross link all 
your sites and include a description on your web site for each link.

17. Keep your file size small - if you use dynamic html (i.e. javascript, 
DHTML) it will often push your web copy (containing your keywords) to 
the bottom of your page. Since search engines read the text that is near 
the top of your page, that nice piece of javascript you have placed 
before your web copy, will affect your search engine rankings.

You can keep your file size small by storing your JavaScript and CSS code 
in an external file. 

Conclusion: - create a simple, clean design for your web site that is easily 
navigable. Focus on good quality content with well-written, keyword rich 
copy, based on how it will benefit the visitor. Implement the powerful 
strategies outlined above and the traffic to your web site will increase 
Herman Drost is a Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW)
owner and author of 
Low Cost Hosting and Site Design 
(with FREE comprehensive web traffic analysis)

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