Thursday, November 01, 2007

Search Engine Positioning

Search Engine Positioning, or SEP, is the process of boosting and maintaining your website's position in the results that Internet users see when they run queries on different search engines.

There are two distinct steps you need to take in order to maximize the effectiveness of your position in a search engine listing.  The first is to make key modifications to your pages in order to gain top positioning within a search engine's index.  The second is something that is commonly ignored.  That position needs to be maintained.  Too often, webmasters gain a great position on a search engine only to let it slip away, taking business away with it.  Don't make this mistake.  This essay is written to give you a good idea of how important SEP is in bringing more people to your website.

            As you probably know by now, merely being listed in a search index is not enough to bring new visitors to your website.  Your website must rank at or near the top of the search results in order to collect all the traffic that search engines can produce.  The first major step in positioning your site is choosing descriptive and focused meta-keywords.  The importance of excellent keywords cannot be emphasized enough--you can read about keywords in the essay Keyword Importance.  Once you have a list of candidates for your final meta-keywords, you can use AddWeb 4's Page Builder Plus to quickly create a test Doorway Page for your website using the keywords of your choice.  Once the doorway page has been built it is time to analyze the page using Page Advisor.

            Page Advisor will analyze your new page and give you a score based on real data taken live from the Internet's top-ranking websites.  The report tells you where to make specific changes in the Doorway Page based on what the analysis finds.  For example, the analysis might tell you to include a longer or shorter title.  It may also tell you that there are not enough instances of the chosen keywords in your page.  Or you may need to reduce or increase the amount of description text on the page.  Keep in mind that while all of these items may seem minor, they are worth checking and modifying if necessary, as they may affect your ranking position. You can then build the changes into a new Doorway Page using Page Builder Plus.

            Page Advisor can now be used to analyze the new page and return a score that gives you an estimate as to how well that page is optimized for good positioning on search engines in general, or one specific engine.  The importance of this second analysis cannot be underestimated.  In fact, the best results come from repeated building-and-analysis, until the Doorway Page is optimized as well as possible.  Once you have a page that you are happy with, you can use AddWeb 4's AISubmit module to automatically register your new doorway page with all of the search engines you want to be listed on.  The hardest part is now remaining patient as you wait for all of the indices to pick up your listing.  This can take anywhere from several seconds to several months, depending on the individual search engine.  Check for your ranking regularly to determine if you are listed, and if you are, where you are positioned.

            If you have chosen good keywords, and followed the steps outlined above, you should have a good position near the top of the listings.  Now the trick is to maintain that position.  Just because you appear at the top of the search results doesn't mean that you are guaranteed to remain there.  New websites appear by the second and search engines regularly change the methods they use to index them.  To ensure that you maintain your position, you must first re-submit your site around once a month and check your ranking on each major search engine regularly, preferably once a week.  By checking your ranking you can determine what your position is and whether it is trending upward or downward.  If you are heading up over time, great, pat yourself on the back for a job well done.  If your rank is spiraling downwards, or you just can't seem to push ahead of certain competitors, its time for some more advanced work.        

            Take a look at the websites that have higher listings than you and note their URL's.  Go to Page Advisor and run a comparison analysis on the specific URL that is competing against you.  Page Advisor's report will show you both your stats as well as those for your competitor.  You can do a side by side comparison and see exactly what your competitor has that you don't have, or what you have that your competitor doesn't.  Maybe that extra keyword or those extra hyperlinks are nosing them ahead of you into Position 1--use Page Advisor to find out.  Once you've got an idea of what you can do to improve your ranking, use Page Builder Plus to make the necessary changes.  Check your rankings again in a week or so and look for any differences.  This is a constant process that you must maintain with some vigil.  Don't let your competitors get a leg up on you by ignoring your ranking trends for too long.  Maintain your position and you will get a constant, steady reward in the form of new visitors and increased traffic to your site.

 This article has been adapted from  AddWeb Article- Copyright (c) 2000  Cyberspace Headquarters, LLC.

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