Getting good search engine rankings

Getting Good Search Engine Rankings

by Gina Badalaty on December 1, 2008

My blog, Mom-Blog, has been ranking in the top 5 on Google for the keyword phrase “mom blog” for some months now, possibly longer. It’s also ranking on the first page of Yahoo! for the same keyword phrase. A lot of people have asked me how I got the good ranking, so I thought I’d dispel some myths and give some advice on what I’ve done to get these great SEO rankings.

Keywords in my URL name:
I have been blogging for 6 years and have the good fortune to have a URL that actively describes my blog. I’ve heard recently that keywords in domain names have no real effect on SEO rankings. I’ve seen the argument run both ways. Looking into it in more depth, High Rankings Advisor’s Jill Whalen says no, and Search Engine Journal says it plays a very small role for Google. Since I’ve consistently performed well on Google, I would have to say that URL name is not a key factor in the ranking determination, although it might affect whether or not a user actually clicks the name of your website. This brings me to my second point, meta tags.

Do meta tags such as keywords or description affect my rankings?
Early on, meta tags were frequently abused by improper usage and so, in general, search engines ignore these tags. Keep in mind, though, that your description tag is the first thing people will see when you appear in search engine –it’s your first opportunity to present yourself and your services or product. Use smart copywriting skills to complete this tag.

What are some tips that you can use to improve SEO rankings overall?

  • Content is king. Highly targeted keywords are your best chance to rank well in search engines.
  • Sprinkle your keywords throughout your site code. Keywords should not only be used in key paragraphs, but also in your title, links, menus, and any appropriate image alt attributes.
  • Don’t worry about coding… Search engines like Google are smart enough to separate HTML and other code languages from the actual content of your site.
  • Keep your coding clean and valid. While the engines are smart enough, errors will frustrate them, so make sure you have reduced errors on site. Also, “not found” or “not working” pages will frustrate users.
  • Write copy that’s smart. While redundantly placing the keyword phrase throughout your content will help with search engine ranking, it will also frustrate visitors and possibly drive them away. Use punctuation and efficiency when writing keyword-rich copy.
  • You can use blog, content management and shopping cart systems that are search engine friendly. Look for the best systems for this and learn how to edit the functionality to maximize your keyword content.
  • Off-site linking is your best friend. Go to relevant blogs and start commenting. Or write an article and get it placed on Digg. The first ranking strategy I ever used was to comment on other blogs with similar topics. In addition to boosting my incoming linkage, I also garnered visitors using this method.

These are just a few top SEO tips; there are lots of other tools and options you can use to maximize your chance at ranking well in the major search engines. To learn more about keywords, read our article, “SEO and Clarity: The Value of Keywords”.

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