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5 easy things you can do to appear early in search results

Most companies completely miss the easy things they can do to make their websites appear higher up in search results. Here are 5 easy, free steps to improve your position.
Written Mar 06, 2009, read 899 times since then.

 

Search engines want people to find your website. SEO is all about making it easy for search engines to match you up with the people looking for what you do.

These five easy things help Google do just that.

1. Check the Page Title.
Open your website in a browser. Look at the text in the very top, colored bar of the browser. It contains your page title. At the very least, it should contain words that people are likely to use to find your site. For example "bicycle rental, sales and servicing, Kirkland, Bellevue, Seattle" is a lot better than "Welcome to Acme Products Inc.". The former tells search engines a lot about the products and services you offer. The latter doesn't provide any useful search word matches for search engines.

Check each page of your website in the same way. Each page has its own title. Take a note of the most important pages and decide on the search words you want for each. Ask your web person to prefix each web page title (the "title tag" in HTML, if anyone asks) with the keywords that you decided on.

You can look at the "source code" for any page by clicking View/Source on the menu. A page's title looks like this:
<title>Custom Garage Doors by UNITEDDOOR</title>

2. Update your "meta keywords"
Inside each page, but invisible to the person browing the page, is a list of keywords.
Example:
<meta name="keywords" content="Wood garage doors, carriage house door, coach house door, custom wood door, garage door, garage door opener">
The terms that a web user is likely to use to find a product or service like yours should also go in here. Search engines look at this list, separated by commas, to try to match search words with your web page.

3. Look at the "meta description"
Also inside each page is a piece of text, usually a few sentences, that describes the contents of the page.
<meta name="description" content="Aircraft hangar doors, commercial and agricultural doors made convenient with Schweiss Bi-Fold and Hydraulic Doors, manufacturer of custom bifold and hydraulic doors.">
This is another great place to insert your keywords. It should be a few sentences about the page contents, laced with the words you know a person is likely to use to find a product or service like yours.

4. Plenty of valuable content
"Content" is usually text and is anything that is displayed in the body of the page, and is visible to the person browsing the page.
This is another great way of including terms that are likely to be used by people searching for the product or service you offer. It also does not have the size limitations that the "meta keywords" and "meta description", above, have.
Type up several paragraphs relating to the purpose of the page and insert it into the body of the page. Making it useful to the reader (like hopefully this page is to you) will increase the chance that people will bookmark it and create links to it for others to find later. Roughly speaking, search engines "raise the value" of pages to which links are pointing. The more links, the more valuable the page.

5. Location, Location, Location
Most searches are local. For example, someone is looking for a vacuum repair shop in Bellevue, Washington. If your Bellevue business provides this service, make sure you use the words "Bellevue" as well as close-by cities where you customers are likely to travel to you from are also included. Because a customer is likely to include a location name in their search, having it included as a common keyword on your website is a great idea, and further helps search engines decide that your website is the best choice. Search engines also know where a search is coming from (from its IP Address), so even when searchers don't include a location, search engines often add it anyway.
So, make sure the regions you cover are included in your keywords, if your business is location-dependent.

Fixing just those 5 things can bring a web page from appearing on, for example, page 17 of search results all the way to page 1 of search results. It happens because most websites are not built with search engines in mind. They're built with visuals in mind. This is especially true in small businesses, where they just don't have the resources to invest in a magnetic website.
As they say, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

Learn more about the author, Liam Scanlan.

Comment on this article

  • Founder of Eastside Entrepreneurs Social Network, Publisher of Bellevue Business Journal 
Bellevue, Washington 
Joe Kennedy
    Posted by Joe Kennedy, Bellevue, Washington | Mar 16, 2009

    Great article Liam. Anyone who wants to learn about SEO should definitely attend your workshop.

  • Ghost Writer/Blogger 
Los Angeles, California 
Terra  Paley
    Posted by Terra Paley, Los Angeles, California | Apr 08, 2009

    Hi Liam,

    You manifest great articles! This is great and all of your books on Amazon are really good. I have and use all of them daily. Lucky us, you are on biznik and you show up.

    Kind regards, Terra

  • Intuitive Healer 
Seattle, Washington 
Karen Floyd
    Posted by Karen Floyd, Seattle, Washington | Jun 21, 2009

    Hi Liam,

    I am very interested in attending one of your workshops. Please let me know when you schedule your next one. I was advised to get to the 'top' of google being on as many networking sites as possible would help along with making frequent updates to your profile/website, etc.. I hear from reading that you are very effective and entertaining too! Great combo.

    Thanks for your article. Karen Floyd www.DesignABetterLife.com

  • Ghost Writer/Blogger 
Los Angeles, California 
Terra  Paley
    Posted by Terra Paley, Los Angeles, California | Aug 05, 2009

    Hey Liam,

    I just saw you on Kong TV today and you were great! Good going.

    Terra

  • Chiropractor, Corporate Wellness Fairs, Health Awareness Institute 
Renton, Washington 
Melinda  Maxwell, DC
    Posted by Melinda Maxwell, DC, Renton, Washington | Aug 05, 2009

    This is the article that showed me what to do. Keep up the good work.

  • Internet Sales Consultant 
Seattle, Washington 
Howard Howell
    Posted by Howard Howell, Seattle, Washington | Mar 24, 2010

    5 great tips from 71 in your book. Any serious web marketer should get a copy. Great practical advice for anyone that wants to learn how to get on page 1 for a relevant web search.

  • Digital Growth Strategist 
Lynnwood, Washington 
Maximus Kang
    Posted by Maximus Kang, Lynnwood, Washington | Apr 02, 2010

    Hi Liam,

    Long time no see! Not to disagree from your article, but I ran a test that I'd like to share.

    From my tests that I've run, the Meta Keywords tag didn't help with any rankings. The test I ran was to get one of my test sites indexed. I had no keywords in the title tag, nothing in the meta description, and maybe a sentence in the body. I loaded the meta keywords tag with a few obscure words like "pikshure" or "wawfull"

    After a few weeks, no results. I removed it from the meta keywords tag and placed those words in the title tag and sure enough. Once they were crawled they showed up for those searches.

    Hope you've been well my friend!

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Article tags

  • seo
  • sem
  • internet marketing
  • internet pr
  • lead generation

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