Search Engine Optimization: How To Gain Good Positioning In Search Engines
In a session during the DM Days New York Conference held last week, Amanda Watlington, chief executive officer of consulting firm Searching For Profit, offered up five tips on ways marketers can best position themselves in search engines:
1. “County fair principle: You must be present to win.” If your site isn’t visible to search engines, they can’t and won’t list it, she pointed out. “My client had a nice large site,” she said, “but navigation was invisible to search engines.” She advised the client to monitor how much time its site was active and live by checking logs and asking hosts when the site is down.
2. “Ignorance is not bliss.” Search engines clearly post what they consider inappropriate behavior--behavior beyond their terms and conditions. Will they rank you best if you do X, Y or Z? “The question is what they don’t want us to do,” she said. “Get instructions from Web masters that clearly state what is and isn’t appropriate.”
3. “Learn what are best practices and how to detect deceit.” Be wary of such spam tactics as invisible and hidden text, keyword stuffing, tag stuffing, hidden links, duplicate machine-generated content, doorway pages, redirects, cloaking, page swapping and link spamming.
Often, if you highlight white space you can see hidden keywords, she pointed out. Keywords are often stuffed below the fold. As for bait and switch, “Don’t feed search engines anything you wouldn’t want your users to see,” she noted.
4. Look at the search result and see the clues. Make titles unique, she advised. Use descriptive copy to help sell in the search listing. “Conversion starts when somebody reads the title and snippet,” she said. “Then once you’ve moved in, use keyword-rich copy.” As for graphics, she suggested using text whenever possible so it shows up in keyword searches too.
5. Re-check your results and tune your search program. Continuously update your keyword list for organic search. “If you have a seasonal business,” she noted, “revisit your keyword list on a continuous basis. With each new season, go back in and re-do your keyword analysis. Check your results using similar methodology. You may have to go back and re-optimize some pages.”