Category Archives: Optimization

You Have Created a Website! How to Make it Popular?

How to Optimization

seo-social_media-promotion

Creating a website is not that humungous a job as it used to be a decade ago. You do not need to be an expert coder in PHP or ASP.NET to create a workable website for users to see. Today you can accomplish the job with the help of online tools which give you drag and drop features to create your website.

 

With so much ease introduced in creating a website, the focus of a successful website has shifted from its creation to how successfully it is marketed. In today’s cyber domain, a website which is more successfully marketed earns more. No matter how spectacular a site you create, but if it does not reach out to people effectively it cannot bring you the desired dividends. For example, when you type a search on google.com have you ever wondered why certain sites appear on the first page and why some on the tenth? The sites appearing on the first page have a far greater chance of being visited by the users than the one located on the tenth page. They have a much more opportunity to be popular. Here we would

suggest you certain tips on how to promote your website in a manner so that its ranking gets improved over the cyber search domains such as google.com

 

  1. Correct content

In order to improve the ranking of your website, you first need to understand the principles on which the web search engines work. Google for example has soft wares called crawlers which roam around the cyber space and crawl various websites for specific key words. They are like ants which are looking for specific type of bread crumbs. If you want your site to get popular you must feed those ants with the correct bread crumbs! For your site to be picked up by Google, you need to tailor your content to contain those specific keywords that pertain to your product or concept. The greater number of keywords you have the more chances are that your website will be picked and ranked better by the search engine. Moreover, correct tags also make your website prominent.

  1. Back Links

Another algorithm used by Google for ranking websites is to see how many times the website has been accessed from other popular websites. For example a popular website having your back link on it will bring more visitors to your site also, and thus improve your ranking in Google charts. Thus creating back links for your website on other popular websites is also a booster for your ranking.

 

  1. Consistency

As in the real world, this phenomenon of consistency pays off in the cyber world also. Lots of websites are created each month but those sites fizzle out to anonymity due to the fact that after some time their owners or administrators abandon them. They do not update them regularly, nor provide fresh relevant material that could again be searched by Google or promoted elsewhere. Remain consistent and update your site regularly with relevant tags, keywords, current material which can catch the attention of Google crawlers.

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6 tips to help improve your website’s conversion rate

Archive Optimization

Having a high conversion rate, meaning that many of your website visitors are completing transactions and purchasing from your site, is crucial to success for businesses who depend on their online presence. Getting a ton of site visitors is useless if you are unable to turn around and convert them into customers. To help facilitate this, here are six simple tips to help improve your website’s conversion rate: Continue reading

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8 Simple Tips to Improve AdWords Text Ads

Google Products Optimization

AdWords ad copy will impact how successful the AdWords campaign is. In the long term, good copy, coupled with other AdWords best practices, can lower cost-per-click metrics and help your ad rank above those of competitors. Most importantly, ad copy helps attract clicks on your ad and traffic to your website.

AdWords ad headline

However, writing an effective ad can be challenging because of the strict character limits imposed by Google. Here are eight easy ways to help you along the way:

Continue reading

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DIY SEO

Optimization

Getting your business ranked high in internet search engine results is very important. But you don’t necessarily need to pay for it. You can do it yourself.


It’s not so dark if you open your eyes…

Just mention Search Engine Optimisation and you can guarantee someone will follow up with ‘SEO is a dark art’. True, there are plenty of shady characters peddling SEO skills, and certainly some ‘black hat’ SEO techniques (more on those later), but SEO really just needs a little time and some knowledge of how search engines work.

We’ll use Google as example for this article as it generates over 90% of search engine traffic worldwide and also because what works for Google will generally work for Bing and Yahoo as well.

The reason it’s an art form of sorts is the fact that, although you can do things to increase your chances of ranking well, the algorithm Google uses is never fully revealed and regularly updates. Google is trying to achieve better results for human users, so while it’s important to be aware of technical aspects, never forget about the person in front of the monitor at the other end. Interesting and informative content will always be at the heart of high-ranking sites.

Let’s start with the areas you most control…

Meta data is one area where you have complete control. Continue reading

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Search Engine Optimisation with Webeden: Part 8 – Lets recap

Digital Marketing Optimization

And that, as they say, is that!

How have you found the process? Did it work for you? Are you now an experienced SEO expert as well a website making pro?

Like we said at the beginning, this is not meant to be the ‘be all and end all’ of SEO guides, but it does provide some useful, practical tips in a confusing world. Please (please!) remember, that this is not an instant process. It will take some time before your new site starts appearing in the search results. But follow the steps above, be patient and you can bet that your site will eventually turn up, and a hell of a lot quicker than if you did nothing.

So, all that is left to say is, good luck with optimising your site.

But did it work?

We’ve checked our results a few times. The first time was July 31st 2008, with results unchanged from December 12th 2007. The rankings were:

“West London Taxi” – number 1, “Joes London Taxis” – number 1 (Google.com)
“West London Taxi” – number 1, “Joes London Taxis” – number 1 (Yahoo.com)
“West London Taxi” – number 6, “Joes London Taxis” – number 1 (msn.com)

Then we tried again on December 12th 2008. How was Joe’s West London Taxis doing in the Search Engine rankings now?

December 12
•    “West London Taxi” – number 1, “Joes London Taxis” – number 1 (Google.com)
•    “West London Taxi” – number 1, “Joes London Taxis” – number 1 (Yahoo.com)
•    “West London Taxi” – number 6, “Joes London Taxis” – number 1 (msn.com)

What further work did we do on the SEO? Absolutely nothing! It shows that if you lay the groundwork, you can boost your website very high in the SERPs, very early on. To bolster that, it’s important to resubmit your domain name, keep updating your content to keep it fresh, and of course there’s the all important incoming links from popular sites. By doing this you can ensure your site has a much better chance of achieving and maintaining a top ranking.

A reminder

Lets recap on all the steps taken to SEO the site. You must remember: search engines look for consistency and relevancy in a number of different areas of your on-page content and referral links.

These include:
1.    The URL (or address) of your site (or specific pages on your site), e.g. www.joeslondontaxis.com, or www.joeslondontaxis.com/taxibooking, etc.
2.    Your site name or title (and page titles) being published in the HTML, e.g. “London taxi company”, or “London taxi bookings page”
3.    Your site and page keywords meta data published in the HTML, e.g. “London taxis, London taxi, Joes taxis, West London taxi, etc.”
4.    Your site and page description meta data published in the HTML, e.g. “London taxi company provides taxi services…”
5.    Your page content, e.g. the text that is on your page and relevant to your site name, keywords and description
6.    Links on your page, including the anchor text, e.g. the text on which the link is set, e.g. “Book a west London taxi” links to http://www.joeslondontaxis.com/taxibooking
7.    Images on your page, including the name of the image file (or Alt text)
8.    Referral links to your site or specific pages on your site, e.g. a link on another site (incoming links) referring to your site

You, of course, can easily control all points from 1 to 7, since they’re all related to whats on your website, and can all be managed from your SiteMaker control panel. Point 8 is all about other websites linking to your own: its harder, requires a bit of luck and a bit of elbow grease, although there are quite a few ways of doing this.

Come on now SEO pros! How high have you got your site? Leave us a comment below.

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Search Engine Optimisation with Webeden: Part 7 – Practical ways to get inbound links

Digital Marketing Optimization

OK Website Builders! Here’s the challenging part! These are the best ways to generate inbound links to your website. Many of these involve a bit of thought and guile, and the others need a bit of elbow grease too.

Get listed in directories

You need to make sure your website is listed in as many website directories as possible, and make sure you go in the section that is relevant to your industry, if they have one.

For every directory you find, you need to find the link called ‘add my site’. Input the information that is relevant to you and your website, and press submit.

The best known directory is Yahoo. In addition, you should try to get listed on dmoz.org. It’s a well respected and used authority. Next, try going to Google and search for ‘website directory’ and you’ll get literally thousands to choose from. Do as many free ones as you have time for, and if you identify a good one it’s worth paying a pound or two to get listed.

Make posts in forums

A good way to get inbound links is to use websites where you yourself can post your link. Forums are an obvious choice. First, find out which forums are in your market. To do this, go to Google and search for ‘[my market] forum’. (Obviously replace [my market] with your actual market, eg ‘carpentry’). Register with these forums, and put a link to your website – using your important anchor text – in your signature. And then get active in the forum! Ask questions and answer other peoples’ queries. Refer people through to your website if it’s helpful (don’t forget to use your anchor text!), but don’t shameless plug your site, you may well get discredited or at worst kicked off the forum. In short, become an authority in that forum, and link to your website where possible.

Make posts on blogs

This follows the same principle as the forum posting. Find out (using Google again) who is blogging about stuff in your market, and make comments on their blog entries. Your comments won’t automatically get published (the blog owner gets to choose whether or not to include your comments), but my experience is that they appreciate the fact that someone is reading their blog and wanting to get involved. Once again, put a link to your site in your signature, and don’t plug yourself without offering other advice and info at the same time.

Convince bloggers and other editorial websites to write about you

This is the most long winded way to get links, but one which might well deliver you the most valuable ones. Contact all the important bloggers and journalists in your market. By contact, I mean send them a personal email, or even better give them a phone call. Try to convince them of the value in writing about your website. Only you know why they might want to do this for you, but if your website is genuinely useful to people in your market, then journalists and bloggers will be only too happy to write about it, as they want to give quality information and advice to their readers.

Buy links

This is the short cut to getting links to your site, but is of course the most costly one too. There are quite a few services out there (the best known is text-link-ads.com) who aggregate publishers (website owners) together, who all want to sell links on their websites in order to generate a few pounds. They then invite people to buy links on these sites. You, the buyer, can choose the type of website you want using criteria such as subject area, Alexa rank (traffic), page rank (Google’s indicator of importance), and the number of other links sold on that site. The most important sites to buy links on are those that are in a subject relevant to your own. But it’s also important to look at page rank too. A ‘link’ or ‘vote’ from a website with a high page rank is worth a lot more than a vote from one with a low one. As a buyer you also get to choose the anchor text of your link.
Try signing up with text-link-ads and search for sites that are both relevant to you and are important. The links themselves can cost anywhere from $10 to $1000 per month per site.
Again on the subject of getting links on relevant blog sites or editorial sites: if all your efforts at convincing the site owner come to nothing, your last resort may be to offer to pay them to put a link to your site from their own. It’s a bit mercenary, I know, but at the end of the day they all need to make a living.

Send out Press Releases

This is one of the easiest ways to generate inbound links. Write a press release about your website. Include links to your website within the release (use your anchor text), or as a source of further information. And then distribute or ‘post’ your press release to as many press release directories as possible. Well known press release sites include Prweb.com and pressbox.co.uk, but there are literally hundreds of them out there.  You need to create a (free) account with each, and then paste your press release onto the site.
Of course, if you’re writing press releases, you should also be sending them out to magazines, newspapers and websites that are in your market too.

Write articles and post them in article directories

This is another easy way to create inbound links, but which again takes lots of effort. Write an article about an issue in your market. Place links to your website within each article, using your anchor text. Then create (free) ‘author accounts’ with article directories, such as ezinearticles.com, submityourarticle.com or Google Knol. When you create an author account, you need to write a short (40 words) author biog that talks about who you are. Place links to your website within this biog, once again using your anchor text. Then paste your article into each directory. When those articles are approved (usually within 24 hours) you will generate 10s if not 100s of inbound links to your site, from editorial pages that are relevant to your site, with relevant anchor text.
What should you write about? It needs to be about an issue that gets debated in your market. For example, if you have a computer repair shop then maybe you want to discuss PCs vs Macs, or Windows vs Linux: something that you probably hear people discussing in that industry.

Ask your customers and visitors to link to your site

In the ‘real world’, many people are only too happy to refer friends and acquaintances onto a person or company they trust, and the same principle exists on the Internet. This comes down to asking a simple question of your current site visitors. If they like your website, and think its relevant, then can they link to you website? Only a few may bother, but if even 10% of the visitors to a low traffic website would in fact link to that site from another one, then that in itself will over time create hundreds of inbound links. Of course, many people do not have their own website from which to link, but thanks to Social Networking websites many people have their own ‘profile’ page. A link from a Facebook, Myspace, Bebo or Twitter  page is worth as much as a link from any ‘normal’ website, as long as that page is publicly viewable (which of course with Facebook it might not be).

And that’s it!

If you carry out the link building activities above in the way we’ve suggested, and use the right anchor text, you will surely rise up the SERPs for that search term. This proves that you don’t need to have a big budget to drive lots of traffic to your site.

How are you getting on? Leave us a comment below (it will give you an inbound link!).

Here’s a link to the final part of our Search Engine Optimisation guide.

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Search Engine Optimisation with Webeden: Part 6 – The theory behind inbound links

Digital Marketing Optimization

Now we’re going to look at inbound links. We’ve broken this into two parts because its very important. In this first part we’re going to look at the theory behind inbound links. Part 2 will cover how to go about actually getting inbound links.

The inbound link theory

What Google will never tell you is that for all the ‘best practice’ and ‘SEO guidelines’ that you follow when building your website, inbound links are where high rankings are won and lost. Inbound links – from other websites to yours – are the single most important factor that determines your website’s position in the Search Engine Results page (SERP).

More accurately, inbound links make up about 70% of the ‘importance’ of your website in the eyes of the search engine.

Why won’t Google tell you this? It’s because they want you to build a website for their spiders that’s as easy to read as possible. They don’t want you to hijack the system using this simple method.

Why are inbound links important? It’s all about how Google sees the Internet. For them, the web is like a topographical landscape with hills and valleys, dips and bumps. Within every subject area, there are hills or ‘authority websites’ that people look towards for new information. They have lots of new and relevant content, so many other websites link to them, as we all want to be referred to a good source of information.

Well known authority sites are the BBC.co.uk, Adobe.com, CNN.com etc. In your market an authority website might well be the website that is associated with your industry magazine, or a well used forum.

A link from one website to another is like a vote from one to the other. It’s like the website saying ‘I trust this website I am linking to’. So when lots of websites link to a single website, lots of websites are voting for that website. Google thinks ‘this website is obviously a trusted source of information; I therefore want it to appear in the SERPS, since I also want to give people trusted information’.

The next question Google faces is, ‘OK, I want it to appear in the SERPs, but for which search query?’ To find the answer to that Google looks at the words used as the link from the first website to the second. This is called the anchor text.

Just to illustrate what I mean, the words ‘build a website‘ are a link to the home page of webeden.co.uk, using the anchor text ‘build a website’.

Google will make that website (the one that is linked to) appear high up in the SERPs for the keywords used in the anchor text of the link.

If you think about it, this is very logical. For example, if I was writing here about ‘blueberry muffins’ and I wanted to link to a great recipe for blueberry muffins, it would make sense for me to link using the anchor text ‘blueberry muffin recipe’. This not only tells you, the reader, where to find the information, but it also describes what that information is.

By creating this link, I will be boosting that blueberry muffin recipe website (the one that I am linking to) up the SERPs for the search query ‘blueberry muffin recipe’.

It’s important that these links are one way, and not reciprocal. If website ‘A’ and website ‘B’ link to each other, it’s like both saying ‘I vote for the other one’, which is the same as a vote for yourself. And a vote for yourself doesn’t really count for anything!

That’s it for the theory. In the next part of the SEO guide we’ll show you how to get inbound links!

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Search Engine Optimisation with Webeden: Part 5 – Final steps to optimise your Webeden website

Digital Marketing Optimization

You’re now an accomplished SEO website builder right? Have you put into place all the previous optimisation suggestions? Well take a deep breath, here are the final few.

5. Your page content: e.g. the text that is on your page

This includes all the contents on your page, particularly text and any ‘alt tags’ (alternative text) you have attached to your images. All this text is represented in the HTML and therefore gets picked up and used by search engines, so make sure it includes some of your keywords. Don’t just dump them on the page so that it becomes a mess of words (remember your site is read by people too!); you have to make sure that they are relevant and appropriate with the message of the page.

For example, on my site I’ve included the following passage on the ‘home’ page:

“Picking up and dropping off 24 hours per day!! If you want a west London Taxi call us now” and “So when you want to book a west London Taxi just think of us and call 0870 23 34 xx”.

Both of these include my “west London taxi” keyword which, with other references to “Taxi bookings” and other services I offer on the page, will support my rankings. But I’ve been careful to make sure it’s still readable and not overly crowded.

Search engines also pay attention to ‘Heading tags’ within your HTML, which are generally used to describe sections of your content. Words that appear within the headings are also deemed to be of greater importance in your site.

We generate three levels of heading tags on your pages based on your content: H1, H2 and H3. H1 is the most important and H3 the least. Any title text boxes that you put on your page are automatically turned into H2 headings in the HTML. The very first of the title text boxes that appears on your page (from top to bottom) is given the H1 status.

In body text boxes, if you use bold headings to separate text, i.e. adding the ‘bold’ style to create a heading within a text box, then these are given H3 status.

6. Links on your page, including the anchor text: e.g. the text on which the link is set

As well as the menu links on your page (which use the menu name as ‘alt’ text) links in text on your page are a good way of reinforcing your keywords and creating interlinking between your pages.

For example on my home page, I have created a link on the words “book a west london taxi” which links to my ‘taxi booking’ page. To do this in SiteMaker you have to be using a ‘body text box’ which is preset with standard or system fonts as only this type of font permits links (‘graphic fonts’ do not allow links to be set). Select the text box so that you can edit the contents and then highlight the text string by clicking and dragging. Go to the editor, click on the ‘link’ panel, choose ‘link to a page’ and then select your page. Finally, use ‘apply’ to save the page. This link will be correctly represented in your HTML along with the ‘anchor text’ which is the word or words on which the link is set, and will be read and indexed by search engines.

Additionally, on my Taxi Bookings page (and other pages), I have created links in the text back to my Home page using anchor text like “Joes West London taxis”, etc.

Try to make sure that all your pages have 1, 2 or 3 links to other pages using relevant keywords. Don’t get carried away and put in 10 to 20 links as this might be overkill and result in search engines penalising you for link spamming.

7. Images on your page

Your images can also be used to flag keywords as well as provide a text description of the image itself. For example on my home page I have set an ‘alt tag’ on the image to say “London Taxi image – book a west london taxi”. This additional text provides extra information about your site and the text description makes the contents more accessible to users with screen readers i.e. the visually impaired. You can also make these images link to other pages in your site which will further improve the interlinking of pages.

To create an ‘alt tag’ on your image, select the image, click on the ‘Style’ tab in the ‘Editor’ and then use the ‘alt tag’ button. Enter your text and choose whether you want to display the text on rollover (it will always be displayed in the HTML), click ‘Apply’ and you’re done.

8. Referral links to your pages

We used referral links to get the site listed in the first place, but they are also a good tool to improve the keyword relevancy and keep your site high in the rankings. It’s always worth asking other site owners in related fields to put a link back to your site and include some of your keywords in the link text. Not everyone will do this and it’s best not to pester people too much, but if you already have a relationship with another site owner, then this could be a good thing to do.

We’re going to talk about how to get inbound links (referral links) to your website in Part 6, so check back on this series for updates.

At last!

That’s it for optimising your website. How are you getting on? Leave us a comment below.

Here’s a link to our Search Engine Optimisation Guide Part 6.

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Search Engine Optimisation with Webeden: Part 4 – Start to Optimise your Webeden website

Digital Marketing Optimization

Now we’re going to get into the nitty gritty of optimising your Webeden website. We’ve broken this section into two because we didn’t want to overwhelm you! Once you’ve learned all these SEO tricks you can apply them to your website, and if you decide to make a website again you can do it from the outset.

Introduction

OK, so you’ve done the work, got your keywords worked out for your different pages, got your site listed (registered) on the major search engines (see previous section), now what do you do? How do you make the changes in SiteMaker? Good question. Here is the ‘how-to’ for SiteMaker…

Now that you’ve got your list of keywords, you’re ready to start making some changes. These keywords (or phrases) are your target words that you want your site to be found with when people use the search engines. Therefore, you will want to make sure that they are used appropriately on your site and that there is consistency in how they appear.

However, this still needs to be done in a sensible fashion. Just dumping a bunch of words on your site that don’t really make sense or fit with your site or page can lead to problems, so this needs to be done carefully.

My keywords

For my site (www.joeslondontaxis.com) I chose a set of keywords which were:

“joes london taxis, london taxi, west london taxi, hammersmith taxi, london minicab, west london minicab, london airport minicab, london airport taxi, london taxis, west london taxis, hammersmith taxis, london minicab, west london minicab, london airport minicab, london airport taxis”

This is the general set that I chose as appropriate for the different markets I am interested in, e.g. mostly in west London and including airport services. I further tailored them to each of my pages to make sure that they were better matched.

For example on my ‘taxi bookings’ page (www.joeslondontaxis.com/taxibooking) I used:

“book a london taxi, london taxi booking, west london taxi, book a minicab, london minicab booking, joes london taxis, london taxi, west london taxi, hammersmith taxi, london minicab, west london minicab”

This contained some overlap with my site keywords, but it also contained more specific words/phrases to do with my bookings page. Using these two pages as an example I entered the keywords onto the pages in such a way that they would be usefully picked up by search engines.

Step By Step

If you remember from the first section, we had 8 different areas to optimise. I’ll go through each of these in turn:

1. The URL (or address) of your page

This can be the URL of your site, or indeed the URL of a particular page. In my case I would use www.joeslondontaxis.com for the site, or  www.joeslondontaxis.com/taxibooking for the Bookings page.

This URL should be relevant to the contents of the page and use (if appropriate) some of your keywords. For example, my company ‘Joe’s London Taxis’ is also my domain name, and my bookings page is named /taxibooking (not page1.htm). If you have a brand name that isn’t specific to your product, e.g. Youtube provides videos online, don’t worry about that, just make sure it’s one of your keywords, as it may be something people search for.

You can change the names of your pages in the ‘pages’ panel within the SiteMaker toolbar.

2. Your page title in the HTML: e.g. “London taxi company”, or “London taxi bookings page”

3. Your Keywords metadata in the HTML: e.g. “london taxis, london taxi, joes taxis, west london taxi, etc.”

4. Your Description metadata in the HTML: e.g. “london taxi company provides taxi services…”

The ‘Title’ tag in the HTML is the name you see at the top of the browser bar when you visit the page. The Keywords metadata is also hidden in the HTML and gives the search engine an idea of what your site is about based on particular words and phrases. The Descriptions metadata is again hidden in the HTML and is a short text summary of your site.

All three are important to get correct and consistent as they are used by search engines, though always in context with the rest of your site contents. In SiteMaker there are a couple of ways of setting these things. We let you set a default for all pages (useful if you have hundreds), but we also allow you to set these for individual pages, giving you more control.

If you go to ‘Edit’ -> ‘Admin’ -> ‘Site information’ you’ll see the ‘Site name’, ‘Site keywords’ and ‘Site description’ fields – we can ignore ‘Site email’ here. These will be the default metadata values that are inserted into the HTML for all of your pages, unless other values are added to the individual page settings themselves.

For individual pages, go to ‘Edit’ -> ‘Page settings’ -> ‘Meta data’ and you will see the ‘Page title’, ‘Keywords’ and ‘Description’ fields which insert the values into the HTML for that particular page.

For example, with my site I chose to set the default keywords to:

Keywords – “joes london taxis, london taxi, west london taxi, hammersmith taxi, london minicab, west london minicab, london airport minicab, london airport taxi, london taxis, west london taxis, hammersmith taxis, london minicab, west london minicab, london airport minicab, london airport taxis”

Description – “Joes London Taxis provides taxi services to all central and west London areas. If you want a west London taxi, call us on 0870 23 34 xx”

These appear on every page I created and will remain unless I generate a different set for specific pages using the ‘Page Settings’ panel. For my Taxi Bookings page, I decided to create a different set and changed these to:

Title – “Taxi booking page – book a London taxi”

Keywords – “book a london taxi, london taxi booking, west london taxi, book a minicab, london minicab booking, joes london taxis, london taxi, west london taxi, hammersmith taxi, london minicab, west london minicab”

Description – “Use this page to book a west London taxi with Joes London Taxis. Book by phone or by email.”

You can see how simple it is to make some adjustments to the keywords/description so that it is more specific to the actual page you are on, without having to change them all.

Summary

We’ve shown you lots of ways you can start to optimised your webeden website. Be sure to check back next week for another host of stuff you can do!

Oh, and let us know how you’re getting on so far. Anyone getting great results? If not, what seems to be going wrong? Leave us a comment below. Here’s a link to our Search Engine Optimisation Guide Part 5.

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Search Engine Optimisation with Webeden: Part 3 – Getting your site listed

Digital Marketing Optimization

Its about time for the third installment of our guide to Search Engine Optimisation. Remember, all these SEO techniques are written with the build a website tool Webeden.co.uk in mind, so be sure to make full use of them!

Getting your Website listed

We’ve now prepared our keywords and that will come in handy for optimising the site, but the first challenge is getting the site listed at all. Search engines can take a long time (3-6 months) to list new sites although there are some things you can do to speed this up. However, even getting your site listed can be a controversial topic.

It’s no secret that Google uses in-bound links as a way of assessing the importance and subject of your site. By this I mean it works out how many sites link to your site and what keywords they use in their link. It also factors in the ‘importance’ of the sites that are linking to your site based on their ‘page rank’ which is a value (on a scale of 1 – 10) attributed to those sites by Google. If a high ‘page rank’ site links to your site it is deemed to be a valuable link, which in turn will boost your own site’s ‘page rank’. Visit the sites below for more details:

http://www.google.com/technology/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank

Before your site can even get a page rank it needs to be indexed and then listed. Before it can be indexed and listed, it needs to be found by the search engine. So how does that happen?

There are two schools of thought in this: either adding your URL directly with the search engines or using inbound links (from popular sites) to direct them to your site more naturally. Using a combination of both methods is also worth considering.

Add URL

The first way is to submit your URL directly to the search engines using the ‘add url’ pages that they provide, e.g.

Google – http://www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl
Yahoo – http://search.yahoo.com/info/submit.html
MSN – http://search.msn.com.sg/docs/submit.aspx

This method should in theory allow them to index your site quickly and efficiently. However, there is some debate as to whether this is counter-productive.

Sites submitted in this way are usually new sites and often those that do not have a large number of inbound links. This leads some people to believe that as ‘new sites’ the search engines will discriminate against them and delay their full indexing. There is also debate about whether a ‘Google sandbox’ exists which is supposedly a holding area of newly submitted sites until they move into the main index.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandbox_Effect (note this article is disputed)

Google denies there is any sandbox. Others speculate that this observed phenomenon is merely the result of how the complex Google algorithms index web sites and Google’s constant battle against spammers.

Inbound links
The other less controversial way to get your site listed is by using inbound links, particularly those that contain your most important keywords in the link text and come from sites which have content that is related to your own.

Even a single high quality inbound link can put the search engines onto your site and get it indexed quickly. Once at your site, the search engine web crawlers or bots will then spider all the pages and work out how it links together.

There are several ways to go about getting good inbound links and there are certainly more than we list here, but these are a few recommended ideas:

•    Add your site to relevant local directories – these might be business directories or interest/subject based directories, but make sure they are reputable.

•    Contact webmasters of related sites and ask for reciprocal link exchanges – this is where you place a link on your site to them in exchange for a link on their site to you. Don’t be too ambitious with this as big popular sites are not going to link to your site out of the goodness of their heart. Try to find sites of a similar size and subject to your own which will entertain the idea of you helping each other.

•    Write articles about your subject including a link to your site – any article must actually contain useful information otherwise it won’t get published. So if you’re an expert in the area you’re writing about and it is relevant to your site, give the article to other site owners who are likely to publish it with a link back to your site. Make sure the article contains some of your relevant keywords. (This may also be possible with useful contributions to blog articles or forums, but be very careful about link spamming – if you don’t have anything genuinely useful to say, don’t say it!)

Once your site has been indexed, you’re in a much stronger position for the future. Sites that have been around for a long time have a legitimate history and tend to stay in the indexes. If you have an existing site that is indexed, then try linking that one to your new site.

You can check and see if your site is listed by typing ‘site:www.youraddress.com’ into the Google or Yahoo search. Remember if you have multiple domain names make sure you try each of them.

If you’re using your own domain name make sure you are using the IP pointing method we recommend and not the masked forwarding option often offered by domain companies. Masked forwarding will make it very difficult for your site to get listed, as it appears to have no content!

So there you have it. Now, let’s get listed!

I linked my site www.joeslondontaxis.com from our online blog. Because our blog has a page rank of 5 with Google and is regularly updated this was a good starting point. My site was indexed by Google within 2 weeks, though it took 3 months to appear on Yahoo.

Thats all for part 3. Leave a comment below and let us know how you’re getting on with SEO-ing your website. Here’s a link to our Search Engine Optimisation Guide Part 4.

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