Making sure your website has a strong position in the results pages of the search engines will help you improve your chances of getting even more visitors to your website. In order to achieve this you'll need to understand the three key steps used by search engines: Crawling, Indexing and Searching. So, what are they and why are they important?
Crawling refers to the process used by search engines to find out about new and updated webpages which they need to add to their index. This is usually done by an automated computer software program that runs on a large number of computers and which are more commonly known as search engine spiders or bots. This crawling process starts with a list of URLs which are generated from previous crawl processes and new websites submitted by webmasters. When a search bot visits the web pages in its list, it records all the links found and adds them to the list of the pages it needs to visit.
These web pages are downloaded and broken down in to their component words and phrases. These are then stored in the index. Other elements such as the title of each page are also noted as are images and even Flash files. Excerpts from content are usually placed in the search results.
Searching refers to the process of matching the keywords which searchers search for against the words nad phrases that are within the index of search engines , in order to find relevant web pages. The exact way in which this 'relevance' si calculated depends on a range of factors which are also dependent on the search engine -ie different search engines have different methods.
An important step to take is to submit your website manually to Google via its Webmaster tools, and also to submit a sitemap. You can also add your site to manually to the search engines - a process which takes no time at all.
Another very important step to take is to get your 'on page factors' right for search engine optimisation. Whilst this only carries a small amount of weight in terms of search engine ranking, it remains extremely important and can give you competitive advantage. Here are some basic guidelines to help you get stgarted
- Use a keyworded, descriptive<title> tag in every single one of your web pages. Search engines will use this tag to obtain important information about your webpage and will also use it as the basis for the link in their results pages.
- If you have a WordPress blog, install the All in one SEO plugin ( I use the one by Michael Torbert) which will enable you to optimise your title tags, meta descriptions and keywords for your posts and pages. You can of course do this manually. Your met a description needs to describe your page in much more detail than the title tag, and this may be sued by search engine to post an extract of your content in the results pages. You need to add the meta description tag to the <head> section of your HTML page, as shown below:
<title>small business strategies for success</title>
<meta name = "description" content = " This is the home page for small business strategies for success. View resources, tips and strategies by following the links in the sidebar".>
- It is a good idea to use your <h1> and <h2> tags as well as bold fonts to pick out headings and emphasise your content as these are used by search engines as a source of improtant keywords, and will increase the relevancy score when searches are made using them
You can read more about optimising your website for the search engines in our series of posts on this subject. Good luck!
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