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Improve Your Online Search Ranking

Now that you’ve built a great site, you most likely want people to find it.

One way to get visitors is to directly distribute your site’s address, and if you only have a handful of close connections who need to see your site, well this just might work.

For the rest of the world, finding your site will depend on searching via a search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo. How can you optimise your site to ensure you appear as high as possible in these search engine rankings?

Start with the basics. Make sure you’ve entered SEO information for all of the pages on your site.

Get a Google Webmaster account. It’s easy to set up an account with Google Webmaster Tools, and once you do you can verify your site, view your ranking and ensure Google indexes your site on a regular basis.

Search-friendly Pages. Make your page names work for you. Search engines consider words in your address more relevant, and therefore more important when displaying search results.

Use keyword phrases in your links. Think before you link. Creating links from keyword phrases or descriptive text will pack more of a punch than linking from phrases like “go here” and “read more”. So this:

“Read our How to Create Links article to learn how to do this on your own site.”

Is better than this:

“Learn how to create a link by going here.”

Location-Relevance. If your site is only relevant to people in a specific area, use content to highlight your location. Create a Google Map and pinpoint your location. Also, refer to the physical location when applicable throughout your site, such as “Visit our San Francisco showroom” or “Located in beautiful Nome, Alaska”.

Alt-Text with Photos. Add alt-text to an image by clicking on it and using the Advanced Option in the toolbox, then enter a short description of the image.

The Power of Links. The more sites that link to your site (as a general rule), the more Google judges your site to be worthwhile. This is digital word-of-mouth, both for potential visitors and for search engines.

Build it and they may come. There is no fast or magic way to get links back to your site, but the effort is worthwhile, since this is the #1 factor in your search ranking. The best you can do is build interesting content and let people know it exists.

You can also link to your site from your social profiles. If you have a business, put a listing on Yelp, create a Facebook Business Page, and add a listing to Google Local.

Know Your Limits, Keep Working. Be realistic with your goals. If you’re a San Francisco-based florist, you aren’t going to show up at the top of the search results for “flowers” or “Mother’s Day”. But, you could end up at the top of “San Francisco exotic florist”.

Focus on the attainable. Focus on getting your site to show up in a search for your own name. Try to get the attention of bloggers who may write about your business. Encourage visitors to review your business at places like Yelp.com.