The lifeblood of any website/ecommerce business is traffic, and every webmaster knows the best type of traffic is natural, organic search engine traffic. There are two very important reasons for this: (1) it is extremely targeted, and (2) It is FREE! The hard part is getting top ranking for your sites keywords... or is it? The purpose of this article is to provide a few simple, effective, and most important, search engine friendly strategies to help boost your websites' ranking and ultimately your traffic.
1. We will start with the Meta Tags. I know you have already heard of, and are probably currently using meta tags on your site. This is great. I just want to make sure you are using them effectively. We will only go over 2 tags: the "title" tag, and the "description" tag. We will not go over the "keywords" tag, as the major search engines have placed less and less weight on this one, and some would argue this tag has no weight at all. I still use this tag however, as I feel there is some merit and no drawbacks to using this tag.
I have found it effective to use similar text in the "title" and "description" tags, and to place your keywords prominently in these tags (near the beginning and more than once). I have seen sites with "sitename.com", "New Page 1", or "Welcome to my site" in the "title" tag, which really does not help in their quest for higher rankings for their particular keyword. Also, try not to use words such as "and", "or", or "the" in these tags.
**Important note about your keywords. Search engines evaluate keyword prominence, keyword weight, and keyword density when determining a site's ranking. All three are calculated individually for the page, the title tag, the description tag, as well as other areas on a page. Keyword prominence means how close the keyword is to the beginning of your page. Keyword weight refers to how many times a particular keyword or phrase can be found on the page. Keyword density is the ratio of the keyword to the other words on the page. You do not want the keyword weight or density to be too high, as this can appear to the search engine as "keyword stuffing" and most search engines penalize sites that stuff their keywords.
3. Place alt tags on all of your images. Search engine spiders cannot "read" pictures or images. The only way a spider knows what an image is about is by reading the alt tag. This is also another chance to place more of your keywords in your HTML, improving your page's keyword weight/density. Alt tags are easy to make and they can make a big difference in your sites keyword ranking. A simple alt tag looks like this: alt="put your keyword phrase here." Search engines separately calculate keyword prominence, density, and weight in alt tags as well, so optimize your tags.
copyright 2005 yoursite.com
World's best dog food
Search engines are not (as of this writing), penalizing sites using this technique, and it wouldn't really make much sense for them to do so.
5. The Anchor Text of your links. Anchor text is the actual linking text on a site. It is what the user clicks on to navigate to that particular site or page. If a search engine finds many links to your site using the term "dog food", then the search engine concludes your site is about "dog food". This is overlooked quite often, but it seems to have a very large impact on your search engine rankings for a particular keyword. Your anchor text needs to be the keyword or phrase you are trying to target. Try to avoid anchor text such as "Click Here" or "yoursite.com"
Also, if you're running a reciprocal link campaign, be sure to use variations of your text. If an engine notices every link to your site is identical, it could place less weight on these links or potentially penalize your site. This is because search engines generally give more weight to "naturally occurring" links, and less to "reciprocal link exchange campaigns". Using different, but relevant anchor text can dramatically affect your targeted keyword rankings, by making your links appear more natural.
Effective SEO may seem difficult at first, but as you have read above, little tricks that require little or no programming knowledge, can make a huge impact on your website's keyword ranking.