With search engines like Google
currently indexing over 8 billion pages, it is becoming
more and more difficult to get a top search engine
ranking. Type in a popular search phrase such as
"Internet Marketing" into Yahoo or Google and
you will be returned over 8 million results!
Unless your website is in the first two or three pages, it
is unlikely that you will receive many visitors from
So what should a webmaster do to give their website the
best chance of ranking high in the search engines?
All search engines work slightly differently and have ever
changing algorithms for ranking web pages, but these tips
can be applied when planning, developing or marketing a
website to help you reach that top page of search engine
(1) Choose your keywords carefully
It's extremely important to set aside time to research
your keywords. It's best to do this in the planning
stages, before developing your website, but many of us
start a website without knowing a thing about how the
search engines work, so you may find yourself doing this
weeks or months later.
Try to choose phrases that are searched on frequently and
if possible have a low number of competing websites.
To get an idea of the number of times a keyword is
searched for per month, type a keyword into the box at
Search Suggestion Tool
This will tell you how many times your keyword was
searched on in the previous month (based on Overture's
partner search engines) and give you a list of similar
Another useful tool to help you choose your keywords is
Word Tracker. This tool will help you choose your keywords
and give you a "KEI" for each set of keywords
based on the popularity of the keyword (number of
searches) and the amount of competition.
You can try this out for free on:
If you manage to pick your keywords in the planning stages
you may even be lucky enough to find a domain name that
contains your keywords.
(2) Optimize your pages
Once you have decided on your keywords you will need to
optimise your pages for those keywords. Here are a few
- Ensure that the Title of your page contains your
- Mention your keywords inside the meta tags. Most search
engines no longer use meta tags, but some make use of them
so it is still worthwhile using these.
- Try to make sure that the first occurrence of readable
text on your page contains your keywords
- Ensure that your keywords are mentioned in the initial
paragraph of your page
- Use your keywords throughout the text of your page - but
be careful not to overdo this. Your page should still be
readable by humans!
- Use your keywords between the headline tags on your page
("H1" tags or H2/H3 if H1 is too big)
- Occasionally bold or italicize your keywords
- Make sure that links pointing back to each page on your
site contain the keywords for each page
- Give all your images an "ALT" tag and put your
keywords in here too - again, don't overdo this
- Try to put some of your keywords in your outbound links
(3) Start Linking
One of the most important criteria in getting a good
search engine ranking is the number of backlinks you have
to your website from related websites.
Type in your chosen keywords to Yahoo or Google and take
note of the top 3 sites returned to you.
Now go to this Link
Popularity Tool and put the URLs of the top three
sites into the linking tool, along the URL of your own
Have a look at the difference between your site and the
top 3 sites and this will give you an idea of how many
links you need in order to get a top search engine ranking
for these keywords.
The best ways to get links back to your site are:
- By writing articles related to the subject of your
website and getting them published on the internet
- Reciprocal Linking with other related websites
- Posting on newsgroups and forums that allow you to have
a signature attached to your posting (with your uRL in it)
- Submitting your site to directories.
Try to make sure that the anchor text (clickable text)
that links back to your site contains your keywords.
(4) Add Content Regularly
Another thing you may have noticed is that top ranking
websites have lots of content.
Regularly updating your website and adding fresh content
will also help your site to rank more highly in the search
If you don't have time to create your own unique content
there are plenty free articles available Just type
"Free website content" into Google and you'll
have your pick of the 18 million results that it returns
To improve your ranking, follow steps 1 and 2 above and
repeat steps 3 and 4 regularly.
You can check your progress on Yahoo
and Google by
using the free search engine ranking tools at the
Yahoo Search Rankings at http://www.yahoosearchrankings.com/index.php
Google Rankings at http://www.googlerankings.com/