How To Improve Search Engine Rankings
As webmasters and Internet Marketers, we always want to know the most effective ways to improve search engine rankings. After all, if you can increase search engine rankings you can dramatically improve the traffic to your websites. The first step in the process is getting your content indexed in the first place. If you need help with that, read my article on how to get indexed by Google.
Once your content is indexed, you need to work on getting it ranked high in the search engines. To improve search engine rankings you need to optimize the content on your site as well as the overall site itself. This is referred to as “on-page SEO.” You also need to learn how to get backlinks to your content. This is referred to as “off-page SEO.” Let’s take a look at each one.
Improve Search Engine Rankings with On-Page SEO
On-page SEO focuses strictly on the content on your website and the website itself. These are things you can control directly since it’s your website. In the Easy SEO Report that I am giving away for free (see sidebar of this site), I provide specific details and examples of the things you should do with on-page SEO to increase search engine rankings. Without going into great detail here since everything is outlined in the report, here is a list of the most important on-page factors to consider:
Use Meta Data
Use meta data such as your meta title, description, and keywords on every page of your site. Even though meta data doesn’t play a direct role in higher search engine rankings, it helps the search engines and your readers know very quickly what your content is about.
Use <h1> HTML Tags
Use <h1> HTML tags as well as <h2> and <h3> tags and be sure your primary keyword is included when using these tags.
Optimize your content for the keywords you are trying to optimize for. It seems every SEO “guru” has a different opinion on the keyword density you should use but generally it is between 1-3%. Meaning, if you wrote a 600 word article you would use the keyword you are targeting anywhere from 6-18 times in the article. I personally don’t follow any keyword density rules. I provide a super simple keyword density rule in my Easy SEO Report that has produced incredible results for me over the years.
Create SEO-Friendly URL’s
You should create SEO friendly URLs to get higher search engine rankings. Your urls should describe your content instead of using random and meaningless characters and should contain your keyword. See the url of this web page in your browser address bar to see an example of an “SEO friendly” url (I’m optimizing for the keyword, “improve search engine rankings”).
You should strive to include an image on every page and then use the HTML tag to describe the image. Use your keyword for the title of the image and the alt tag.
Use Anchor Text
When you link to other pages on your website, use anchor text to “describe” your links to the search engines instead of using the typical, “click here” hyperlinks.
Be Smart With Your Linking
If you link to other websites, make sure the links actually go to a live page and make sure you are only linking to “trustworthy” websites. You don’t want to link to broken pages or “bad” sites as the search engines, particularly Google, don’t like to see “good” sites associated with “bad” sites – and they don’t like to be sent to broken pages either (and neither do visitors).
Use 301 redirects
Your website has multiple addresses in the eyes of the search engines. You may think http://www.yoursitedomain.com and http://yoursitedomain.com are one in the same but you would be wrong. The search engines see both of them as two separate websites. This is bad for SEO. You want the search engines to use one and only one version as your primary website for indexing and ranking. You can do this with a 301 redirect via your .htaccess file.
Improve Search Engine Rankings with Off-Page SEO
Off-page SEO are those things you don’t necessarily have direct control over. These are all the other things you do OUTSIDE of your website. It’s primarily about getting backlinks – that is, getting links to your website from other websites.
There are a number of things you can do to get backlinks. There are entire books written on the subject. One ebook in particular that I recommend is Link Building Domination. This 51-page ebook provides a step-by-step blueprint on how to get backlinks the right way so your website doesn’t get sandboxed or worse yet – banned in the search engines. If you follow the blueprint, you will improve search engine rankings of all your websites and as a result you’ll get a flood of free traffic!
Since Link Building Domination provides the nuts and bolts of link building and how to specifically get links with the following methods, I won’t rewrite the book here. Instead, I’ll highlight the primary things you can do to get more backlinks for your off-page SEO efforts. Those things include:
- Article marketing
- Video marketing
- Forum posting
- Blog commenting
- Guest blogging
- Press releases
- Directory submissions
- Link wheels
- Link networks
- Social networking (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace)
- Social bookmarking
- Web 2.0 (Squidoo, HubPages)
- Link bait
- Affiliate programs
- Buying “backlink” packets
I’ve only highlighted the primary methods here to get traffic and backlinks to your website. There are many other ways but if you concentrate on the bulk of these methods, you’ll achieve top search engine rankings and you’ll enjoy a flood of free traffic.
Improve Search Engine Rankings: Final Words
The key to higher search engine rankings is to improve your on-page and off-page SEO efforts. If you can master both aspects of SEO, you will have tremendous success as a webmaster and Internet Marketer. Your websites will dominate the search engine rankings and you’ll have all the free traffic you want.