Your company can have the most media-rich, Flash-enabled, jQuery-filled, whizzy Web site, but your Web efforts are wasted, if your audience is small or non-existent. While you can certainly use a large percentage of your budget on Google AdWords, these ten simple steps will get your Web site noticed and increase your ranking in organic search results—for free:
- Submit your Web site to the major search engines. Use the following URLs to get your site into the three top search engines:
- Submit your site to DMOZ. This independent, non-profit organization reviews sites by hand and includes them in its directory. Since sites are reviewed by volunteers, don’t expect your submission to be included quickly (or at all, for that matter).
- Create a sitemap.xml. A sitemap.xml is a simple text file that gives search engines a list of the content of your Web site. Use a site like www.xml-sitemap.com to create your sitemap.xml file or read the specification and create your own by hand. Once you are finished making your sitemap.xml file, place it in the root directory of your Web site and submit it to the major search engines.
- Upgrade your content. According to search engines, content is king. So, to increase your rank in the organic search results, make sure you have lots of original content related to your topics on your site.
- Hone your keywords. Make sure your META KEYWORDS tag covers any search terms that your prospective customers might use. While Google does not use the KEYWORDS tag to determine its rankings, other search engines do. Use Google’s keyword tool to determine the search terms that customers may be using.
- Include photos. Images will surely make your Web site more appealing to you customers, but if named correctly can make it more appealing to search engines as well. Be sure to give your image files logical names: uses fishing-reel.jpg instead of img_0123.jpg, if you are displaying an image of angling gear.
- Increase external links to your site. Links to your site from other, well-respected sites can boost your rankings. Get involved in discussion forums and post the link to your Web site in your response, get other, relevant Web sites to link to your, and get listed in industry directories.
- Use META tags. META tags are optional HTML elements that provide information about elements of your web page. Be sure to include a META DESCRIPTION tag in the HEAD element of your page and to include an ALT tag for each image and a TITLE tag for each link.
- Load your Hx tags with keywords. Search engines pay lots of attention to heading tags—like H1, H2, H3, etc. So make sure yours are filled with keywords relevant to your product or service.
- Amp up your TITLE tag. Search engines also give a heavy weight to the contents of your TITLE tag, so make sure yours is unique for each page, keyword heavy, and descriptive of the content on its page.
By following these ten simple steps your Web site will will well on its way to the top of the search engine rankings.