5 Tips for Better Search Engine Rankings

Need to rank better on search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask.com? 



Well over half of the businesses in the U.S. do not have web sites. Ah, perhaps Google Page Creator is an option!  For those that do, many have no idea about how search engines work or what they can do for better rankings.


Keep in mind, not every one can, or deserves to rank on the first page of search results for the most popular terms. What you CAN do is to pay attention to the things that matter most and make it easy for search engines to understand, value and categorize your web content.


The fundamentals that were true 5 years ago are still pretty much true today. There are no "tricks" here, just tried and true - tested and proven best practices.


Ranking Tip Number One

 Make sure your site is crawlable. "Crawlable" you say? What the heck does that mean? Search engines find sites mostly by following links from sites that are already known about to new sites and pages. The sofware programs  that search engines use to perform this task  are often called "Bots" or "Spiders".  You get the analogy right? "Web", "Spiders", "Crawl".


Anyway, as search engine spiders crawl the links of your site, they make copies of the pages and then peform other functions that strip away the code, interpret the remaining text as well as other analysis that ultimately leads to a score for the page and association of the page to certain words. All of this along with links, which is another tip, influence your rankings.


If a search engine has difficulty "crawling" the links within your site, then the pages either won't get indexed at all or will only get partially indexed - neither of which will help your site's rankings.


OK, now I know why, but what about the how?  Search engine friendly URLs are simple. As in, short and simple. For example, the url of this web page is: http://toprank.googlepages.com/5tipsforbetterrankings


It could be something like http://toprank.googlepages.com/?pageid=234234&articleid=5tips&postid=435345 or something similar. The second url is still crawlable, but if you got to pick, which one would you prefer to index?


Most problems with links and the URLs they point to getting crawled involve shopping cart software or content management systems that place a lot of extra information in the web page URL. If more than a few variables are included it can cause issues. 


Static HTML and simple urls are best so try to use a content management system that produces short, clean URLs.


You can also use programs like Google Sitemaps to submit your site URLs for inclusion. There is no guarantee it will work, but it's been pretty effective. Google Sitemaps works in conjunction with a normal "crawl" of your web site.  Plus there are many useful features and information available with Google Sitemaps.  You can also submit an RSS feed of your site's URLs to Yahoo. 


There's actually quite a bit more involved with making your site crawlable, but I'll leave at this for now.


Next up, Ranking Tip Number Two - Target the Right Keywords