With continuing advancements in search engine technology and changes in user behavior, it is essential to ensure your Web site is search-engine-friendly. By implementing the following fundamental organic search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, your site will rank as high as possible in organic search results, and you will direct qualified traffic to it at minimal cost.
1. Location and frequency. The page title should contain relevant search terms and the most important keywords. These search terms should also be present in the first paragraph of the page. The frequency (number of times the search term appears on the Web page) will also determine the ranking of that page. But overuse of a search term on a Web page can cause its exclusion from the search engine.
2. Content. Most search engines give good rankings to those sites with good content. The content should be in text and not graphics or Flash. The text should be at least 100 words per page and should contain relevant keywords with good frequency.
3. Link popularity. Search engines give ranking boosts to those sites that have links from quality, related sites. Google ranks the benefit of a site based on the number of back links (i.e., the number of pages pointing to the site). This is one of the most important requirements for getting a good ranking in Google. These back links should come from other high-ranking pages for that keyword.
4. Navigation. Navigation for your Web site should be in text and not in images as "search spiders" cannot read information in an image unless there is an "alt" tag present.
5. Links to competitors. Though it may sound counterintuitive, having a page with links to your competitors will help boost your search engine rankings. This is because your links page will become an important resource to end-users and many people will link to it. This also means that whenever someone searches for a competitor’s Web site or product, your site will be among the top few listed.
6. Useful to visitors. The most important way to rank high is to write content that is useful to visitors on your site. If they think your site is useful, the search engines are also likely to rank it high.
Dorab Patel, PhD
Founder & Chief Technology Officer
Santa Monica, Calif.