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Search Engine Promotion

Statistics show that 60 to 80% of visitors to commercial websites and online shops come through search engines links (Google, MSN, AOL, Yahoo and others), while the remaining 20% are referred by directories, related websites, ratings and banner ads. That is why SEO is the key issue in website's success.

You may see advertisement that reads: "For a certain amount of money, we'll register your website in more than 700 search engines". Do not believe it! There are only about 30 search engines in the world (the rest of them are searchable directories). And there are less than a dozen search engines that have their own database. This should make the task much simpler. Nevertheless, it's not that simple for categories with high competition - the number of good search result spots is limited and everyone wants to be included there.

We'll try to give you a very short yet useful introductory tutorial on search engine optimization.

Ranking factors influencing the positioning of a website in search results can be internal and external. Internal, or web page layout factors are the text, tags, and web page structure.

Main internal factors

  • Number of Keywords on a Page
  • Search engines prefer websites that are rich in content. So you should try to increase the amount of text on your web pages. However, don't become preoccupied with the most popular search phrases - it's useless to compete by relying on internal factors against the leaders who have been increasing their potential for months or even years. Try to find your own niche - look for phrases and word combinations that may not be most popular but can still help you succeed. Keyword selector tools like inventory.overture.com will help to define them.

    You could say that the optimal amount of text on web pages is 2-20 Kb containing 5-7% of keywords.

    The optimal keyword location is at the start of the document - the closer it is to the beginning of the text the better.

  • Use of Keywords within Page Layout
  • TITLE tag - one of the most important tags, it is significant for all search engines. You should always use keywords within the TITLE tag
  • HEADER tags <h1>, <h2>...<h6> and highlighting tags like <strong>, <b> - insert keyword phrases inside them, they are important for search engines.
  • Using keywords in text links can also add popularity to your pages
  • ALT attributes in images - Google takes into account text of ALT attributes if the image is a link to another page; text in ALT attributes of other images is ignored.Other search engines ignore ALT attributes when searching for a document but consider them in pictures search queries. Generally the use of ALT attributes is recommended.
  • META description and META keywords tags. Description Meta tag is used to describe the page's content. It does not influence the page's rank, but it is still important. Search engines often use the text of this tag in "snippets" - short descriptions of pages in search results.When composed wisely it plays an important role in attracting user's attention who sees your page in search results.Keywords Meta tag is almost never used nowadays, but we still recommend to complete it for less popular search engines and searchable directories, which still use it.
  • File names - including key phrases in the file name may have a positive effect and it's therefore reasonable use it in your work.

Avoid making mistakes when improving rank of your pages. Mistakes or plain cheating can turn against you - your pages will be deleted from the search engine databases.Beware of these most common mistakes and cheating tricks:

Hidden text - usage of text with the same color as body background is treated as spamming and is punished accordingly.

One-pixel links - usage of invisible one-pixel image links is treated by search engines as an attempt to cheat the system.

Repeating the same keyword in the Keywords Meta tag.

External factors

Apart from internal factors, ranking process is also influenced by external factors. Moreover, in competing categories where participating websites have approximate equality in internal factors, the external factors play the decisive role.

External factors are divided into linking text dependent and linking text independent.

Link text independent factors include the well-known Page Rank and its derivatives - the pages importance, in other words. Page Rank in its classic form is defined as the probability that a user may visit the web page, while the sum of all probabilities equals 1.0 (one), since a user must be visiting at least one page at a given moment. This factor describes the quantity and the quality of outbound links to a certain website or page. At present Page rank is not used by search engines directly, however, its derivatives are used in factors that determine the page's importance.

From a practical viewpoint all this means that it's necessary to have a lot of links to your pages from other important websites.

Link text dependent factors, the so called link popularity, is the text of outbound links to particular website. This factor is vitally important. If the link text contains the right keywords, the search engine takes it as an important reference and evidence that the website indeed contains valuable information relevant to the current search query. The more important is the website that contains the link text, the more influence it will have for the search query with related keywords.

From a practical viewpoint it means that one should strive to have other websites mention your pages with outbound links that contain your keywords in different variants and combinations.

The common methods used to acquire outbound links are:

1.Submitting your website to general purpose directories.There is a large number of both paid and free directories where your website should be included. These catalogs may not have high visitors traffic, but search engines take into account links from such sources.

There are many services that offer submission of your website to directories, but we advise not to use any automatic submissions and give preference to manual or semiautomatic submission services. Do not trust programs that submit your website to thousands of search engines and directories. There are only a couple of hundred of actually useful directories, and this is the number to consider in your SEO work. You should decide for yourself whether or not to submit to sources that are paid or require a reciprocal link. In many cases there isn't much sense in it, but there may be exceptions.

2. Link exchange.This is the most effective method of the past that helped increasing link popularity. It doesn't have the same effect nowadays but it continues to work. If you use a creative approach and take the task seriously, exchanging links with informative and important websites that relate to your subject can produce good results.

3. Press-releases, news, etc.Very effective, however not at all simple, method. It consists of writing press-releases, news feeds and mailings to related websites.

4. Buying sponsored links This is an effective working method you probably can't do without in highly competitive categories. It makes sense to buy links mainly from popular websites related to your subject. However, this route is rather expensive and you should probably use it later when you make enough money to invest in supporting your site's popularity.