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Here's how to Optimize your site for the Search Engines (Part I)

Posted on January 18, 2000

by Paul Short,

Optimizing your website for better search engine rankings requires some special knowlege and also takes a lot of time and hard work to be done effectively. This article outlines only the basic mechanics of website optimization. It is not meant to be taken as a total solution to getting your site listed higher in the search engine rankings.

Keep in mind the following main points as they are the basis for the whole article.

Focus: Your site should be focused on no more than three main keywords or keyword phrases for maximum results.

Content: Your site should be set up as a valuable resource of information on one particular topic. This is how you'll generate your keywords and phrases.

Uniqueness: Your site should offer something that no one else has. Concentrate on this as the theme of your site.

Ok, let's jump right into the meat of things.

Your Title

The main purpose of the title is to accurately describe what your web page is all about. It tells in a few words why a visitor is either on your site right right now, or why they should click on your site in a search engine listing. You could also look at it as your sites "Headline", and write it as just that, a headline.

Pick 3 main keywords or 2 - 3 keyword phrases and use them in your title, but make sure the title still makes sense and also offers the viewer a reason to choose your site. Be creative but keep it relevant and stress your sites theme. Benefits sell. Show the potential viewer the benefits right in the title.

How am I suppose to include all that in my sites title? you ask. Well, the most effective way is to do some research. Go to the major search engines and type in keywords and phrases that a potential viewer may enter if they were looking for the type of information your site is offering. Out of the top 20 or so sites that are listed, which has the most compelling title. In other words, what would make you want to click on their site.

Do this with several keywords and phrases, log the results on on paper for use later and move on to the next section.

Keyword selection

This seems to be the "Holy Grail" of search engine submission services and novices alike. The perfect keyword phrases. Although having the right mix of keywords is important, your goal is not only to get listed high in search results, but also to get the right type of people to click on your site.

Prequalifying your sites viewers will bring quality traffic, people more likely to take advantage of what your site has to offer.

With this in mind, write up a list of at least 25 keywords and/or phrases based on the info you gathered in the previous section on titles. Then take your list and cut and slash it down to no more than 3 keywords or phrases most accurately related to your sites content and purpose. These three keywords will be the basis for your whole optimization process.

They'll be used in your title, your META tags, the description and body copy of your pages and even in the ALT text of your images.


The two main META tags used by some search engines are the:

META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="your,keywords,here,"
META NAME="description" CONTENT="your description here"

They are used by some, not all search engines along with your sites title to index and rate your site in their listings and also to provide the viewer with the text that appears when your site shows up in search results.

META keywords:

Use your keywords here with the most important ones first. Use different variations like capitalized and lowercase, commonly misspelled words etc. all followed by a comma with no space after the comma and do not go over 255 characters.

META description:

Up to about 500 - 700 characters can be used here in the form of a short keyword loaded descriptive paragraph.

I cannot stress enough the importance of a good description that accurately describes the benefits of your site, uses all your keywords and phrases and also gives a compelling reason for the potential viewer to click on your site in the search results.

You see, your sites title is the headline, the keywords give the search engine spider the info on where to place your site in it's database and the description you provide is like the ad copy in a classified ad. Give the viewer a reason to click on your site, sell them on what your website has to offer.

[Part II of this article is in the next issue at URL:]

Paul Short is the Internet's leading Website Optimization Specialist. To find out more about putting Paul's Website Optimization & Search Engine Submit Services to work for YOUR Website, contact him by Email at: or via his website at:


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