search engine optimization ( SEO )
You should, by now, be aware that your rankings are a result of a mixture of variables, including the content you post, how often you update your website and how good your links and customer following is. It has already been said that you cannot gain access to the search engine algorithm, but you can utilize the following tips to improve your ranking and increase your sales:
Search Engine Site Map
You are probably used to seeing an option on a webpage to see the site map. This is a useful tool for people to navigate around your page and find a link or content that they were looking for but could not locate. However, these site maps serve little other purpose; they are of no use to the search engine crawlers and you may find that some of your pages are not indexed by Google and will, therefore, not be listed in any search results.
If you notice this to be the case, you will need to create a search engine site map. In essence you need to create a list of your files; preferably in an XML format. The search engine will find this list and use it to assess what content is in each folder. This information can then be used by the search engine to direct people to your page; providing they want the information you are offering.
The Robot.txt File
You may not be aware of it, but the reputable search engines stick to a procedure and protocol; the guidelines regarding your specific site will be included in a file called robots.txt. This file is stored on your computer and forms part of your webpage; you are able to modify this file to give information to the search engine regarding what information and parts of your site they are allowed to visit. This can be used to prevent a search engine from accessing sensitive information; such as credit card details. Even if you have no pages which you wish to keep hidden; it is a good idea to create this file.
SEO and search engine ranking positions can seem to be an incredibly complicated field. However, it does not need to be; this book will guide you through the process and allow you to understand the need for SEO and the basics of how it works.
If you feel that it is still too complicated for you to wish to undertake, particularly if you do not have the time available, then it is possible to use a third party to manage your SEO for you.
This book will provide you with enough information to establish the credentials of a third party and understand which approach they propose to take. But, even when taking on a third party to assist, it is essential to
confirm what tactics they use. There are several businesses which will offer a rapid rise in the ranks due to being able to link your site. Unfortunately, this rapid rise can be artificially created as they will link you to many of the website shells they already have set up. The only purpose of these sites is to increase rankings and the search engines do not like this approach.
Whilst this approach can work, it cannot be guaranteed as a long term solution; the search engines are constantly looking for shortcuts like these and they stop them as soon as they find them. They will also penalize any genuine site, (such as yours) which is working with them!
This is one of the reasons why it is essential to choose a reputable third party to assist you with your marketing and improving your rankings
Limit your Content
You would be forgiven for thinking that the more quality links you have and the more keywords you have the higher you will rank in the searches; after all this is the ultimate aim of your marketing campaign.
However, the search engines are becoming increasingly aware of the tricks of the trade and adapt their calculations to allow for as many eventualities as possible. This means that if you are posting a lot of content and creating a lot of links you are either a new website or you are trying to improve your ranking. Instead of creating lots of keyword stuffed posts, you should concentrate on creating between five and ten good quality posts every month. You will be surprised at how much quicker your climb the rankings!
In essence you wish to make your improved status and recognition to look like it is a naturally driven occurrence; even though you are actually driving it along!
The majority of the focus so far has been on creating good content and establishing connections with others through linking with their sites and social media pages. Increasing your links by any artificial means is frowned upon, particularly if you attempt to purchase the links. However, if you are aware of an existing site which has a good following and reputation you may be able to create a good quality content article or infographic for them. If they are interested in your content you can let them have the content for free providing they include a link to your site. This can increase your exposure and profile very quickly! It is important that the content you provide must be of very good quality.
The search engines can actually provide an excellent way of improving your ranking! Simple search on your keyword and add the word ‘links’. You should receive a list of results; the companies on these lists are all in the same market sector as you and are open to linking with other businesses. You will then need to craft a personal email to each of the websites on the first page, your email needs to be direct but friendly and advertise what you are offering them. You should receive a positive response from between ten and twenty of every hundred websites you contact. If you can build a link with a site which is already highly ranked you will see the benefit in your own rankings.
As the search engines become increasingly interested in the viewing patterns of people on mobile devices and the amount of ‘bounces’ a site gets, it is important to realize that size does matter!
You will have already read about formatting your site to ensure it looks good on the smaller, handheld, mobile devices. But another factor which is essential when dealing with both mobile sites and standard sites is load time. Not everyone has fiber optic broadband yet and for some people a data heavy site can take a long time to load. If it takes too long to load then it is highly likely that the viewer will simply go back to the search engine and try a different site.
To ensure your site is fast, smooth and easy to navigate do not place an excessive amount of pictures or videos on your welcome page. Whilst they will help your site to look good they will slow down the loading time; ideally you should compact the size of any picture to help speed up the loading time.
You should also look at the additional items on your page, such as widgets or unwanted coding. Your website needs to be constantly reviewed to ensure there is no unnecessary code or content; everything you can remove will speed up the time it takes to load.
The best way to check your page appearance,loading time and even the quality if the links is to take your tablet or mobile phone and go to an internet cafe or somewhere different to where you normally view the site. Search on your keywords and see how high your site is in the rankings, how quickly it loads and how well it displays on a variety of devices.
Keywords have always been single words or short phrases, this is because they are designed to mimic the information that someone may enter if searching for your product. However, long keywords are starting to become increasingly important. This is thanks to the rise in mobile phone use and the corresponding advances in technology. The latest phones allow you to search the web via voice recognition software; you no longer need to type in a desired search parameter; simply say what you are looking for and your results will arrive.
The ability to speak your search into your phone, instead of having to type, means that people are using longer phrases to ask their query. The more words there are in a query the more specific the search result will be, this may remove your page from the results list if you are only using short keywords.
It is, therefore, essential to start to build longer keywords into your content; it will become an increasingly important part of your marketing in the future.
One of the hardest aspects of any marketing campaign or attempt to improve your rankings is time. They are often simply not enough hours in the day to achieve everything you want to. This makes it essential to make your time work well for you. Structure your day and limit the amount of time you will spend actually constructing your content.Before creating anything you need to evaluate the items you have already created; this will help you to understand which approaches work and which do not. This will also help you to create content which will be of interest to others; deciding on your topic, style and even the layout will enable you to produce the actual content quickly and accurately.
Paying to achieve a position on the front page of the search results may not be the most desirable position to be in, but, it is a viable and legal option for many businesses as they seek to gain a foothold in a competitive marketplace. Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing will place your advert at, or very near the top of the paid adverts; viewers will be able to see that you are paying but this will not stop them from clicking in your ad and looking at your content.
Joining PPC is easy, you will need to select your keywords and the search engine will provide you with a rate that reflects the popularity of the keywords. You will be charged this rate every time someone clicks on your link.
This can work well alongside your conventional marketing campaign to help to boost visitors and sales; particularly when the business is young.
As with all marketing efforts, improving your rankings with the search engines will be a little hit and miss. Some of the most obvious tactics which you believe will work will not do as well as you hoped, whilst less obvious approaches can sometimes be very successful. For this reason it is essential to monitor, assess and adjust your marketing strategy regularly. A delay in changing tactics can be extremely costly!
A final point which should be considered is that there are a variety of free software applications available which will help you to monitor the successfulness of each of you marketing campaigns. Some of the best tools will not just show you your site visits and bounce rates; they will also allow you to see your site as the search engines do. This will enable you to see which parts of your site can be developed and refined to improve its appearance to the search engines and ultimately improve your ranking
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