The 3 Easiest Ways to Boost Your Search Engine Rankings
I get tons of questions on how to improve Google and other search engine rankings. Here are the three easiest things you can do today:
1. Improve Your Page Title Tags
One of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your search engine rankings is to create unique, keyword rich title tags for each of your pages. Be sure your keyword is as close to the beginning of the tag as possible. Here's a little trick that I like to use:
Let's say your keyword is "dog grooming" and your web page article is "7 Tips for Grooming Your Dog on a Rainy Day". Rather than using "7 Tips For Grooming..." as your page title, move your keyword to the front. So your new page title would be "Dog Grooming: 7 Tips For Rainy Day Grooming" or something similar.
Now please note that when I'm referring to your page Title tag, I'm not talking about your page headline (we'll discuss that next). Your title tag is what appears in your web page header. You'll find it in the (title)BLAH BLAH BLAH(/title) section at the top of your HTML code.
This text is not actually visible anywhere on the actual web page, so it's easy to miss this step. Whatever you place in this tag is what will appear in the title bar of your web browser.
If you're creating your page with a WYSIWYG editor, like Dreamweaver, FrontPage or Expression Web, your title tag is often created automatically, which means every page could end up with the same tag. Fortunately, it's an easy fix.
If you're using Dreamweaver, look for a field with the title toward the top of your page. Then simply enter a unique title in that field. If you're using a straight HTML editor, just replace the text that appears between the (title) and the (/title) tags. Remember, put your keywords as close to the beginning as possible.
If you're using Wordpress as your content management system, chances are your title tags will be created automatically based on the headline of the article. Many wordpress templates come pre-configured to add the website name at the beginning of the title tag. That's very much a waste of space and it's doing nothing for your search engine rankings (except maybe hurting them!)
Unfortunately, unless you're familiar with php coding, you probably don't want to tackle the job of fixing this. Simply ask your webmaster to adjust your template so your article title appears first in your title tag.
2. Optimize Your Headline Tags
The next (and probably the easiest) step you can take to improve your search engine rankings is to optimize your Headline Tags.
First thing you want to do is make sure each page has only one (h1) tag! Many new webmasters don't understand that the headline tag actually serves a purpose other than simple formatting. So they use lots and lots of (h1) tags throughout their web pages because they like the big, bold text.
Unfortunately, this technique is a killer on search engine rankings. Google looks for the (h1) tag to decide the main topic of the page. Unfortunately, when it sees multiple (h1) tags, chances are, it will discount them all.
If you're using Wordpress as your content management system, make sure your template is configured so that the article title will be placed inside (h1) tags. (Again, you'll probably want to check with your webmaster on this.) Then, do not use the (h1) tag as you're creating posts and pages since your (h1) tag will be created automatically.
The next thing you want to keep in mind with your (h1) tag is to place your keyword as close to the beginning as possible, just like you did for your title tag. As the search engine spiders crawl your page, words that appear close to the beginning of the tags receive higher precedence.
Now that you have only one, keyword rich (h1) tag, you want to do the same with your (h2) and (h3) tags. Make sure you have only one of each and that your keywords appear close to the beginning.
As of now, it doesn't appear that Google is placing much relevance on (h4) or (h5) tags, but you never know when or if that might change. Also, if you've been using your (h) tags for text formatting, try using (p) tags with CSS styling instead.
3. Take Advantage of Latent Semantic Indexing
According to search engine expert Mike Grehan:
"Using statistical analysis, LSI can discover that documents have words which are often used in the same context. For example, "apple" and "computer" will also have "Mac OS" and are therefore also relevant. The same thing applies with "windows" as an operating system as opposed to an invention for looking through walls. It's all about trying to understand more about the nature and intent of the user query and returning information in context with the user's search, even when they give little clue as to the actual nature of the search. Incidentally, LSI is used by other search engines besides Google."
In other words, the search engines are smart enough to analyze your web copy to determine if your page really is about what your keywords claim it's about. So, if your title tag, meta keywords, h1 and h2 tags all refer to "dog grooming" but the rest of your web page is actually a pornography page, the search engines will know this and will not rank your page for dog grooming.
The way to take advantage of latent semantic indexing is to include other related keywords in your text as naturally as possible. You don't want to force the insertion of these complementary keywords; it's important that your text flows easily and naturally and sounds like it's written for humans, not search engines.