I'm looking for guidance on how to make my website come up closer to the front of search engine results. I've submitted to several search engines in their basic submission area, and naturally it's getting lost in the shuffle.
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor L:
The only way I know to get your name on the front or close is to directly pay them for advertisement. I could be wrong, but it seems logical. Even though my site is way down on the list, it still has brought in some calls. But they end up being mostly tire kickers, looking for the lowest prices.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the name of the game and it is quite involved. You can pay people to optimize your site, but it's expensive. The best single program we have found for doing it yourself is Web Position Gold - this allows you to make side-by-side comparisons of your site with the highly rated ones and to make modifications accordingly. The most important two aspects for improving web position are (1) a content rich, keyword rich landing page, and (2) high quality incoming links from frequently visited sites. Time-in-place also has an important effect - your position will improve as your site gets older.
There isn't the space here to begin to talk about all of the things a savvy business needs to do to improve position - it is a process that requires constant attention, experimentation.
At the heart of this is a good tracking system. We use a system at Freestats.com and pay for the full Monte. However, there are many others - in particular Webtrends. We watch our raw logs on an hourly basis for hints about what our visitors are doing, what keywords they used to arrive, and how they move from page to page - all with an eye to eliminating blind alleys.
But link popularity is probably the most important parameter used to rank your site. It also happens to be the most difficult to "manage." What you're after are as many high-quality links from other web sites pointing to your site as you can get. High quality links are those coming from sites within the same space or industry; if you're a woodworker, links from wood industry related sites are more valuable than links from unrelated sites.
Google allows you to review these "backward links" easily. Try this. Copy and paste the entire line of text below into Google's search field and press "enter":
woodweb.com -site:www.woodweb.com -site:woodweb.com
The list of results shows many (not all) of the links to woodweb.com (and those that mention WOODWEB without linking as well).
To see even more links use Yahoo:
And this will show you links from across the web pointing to any page at woodweb.com:
linkdomain:www.woodweb.com -site:www.woodweb.com -site:woodweb.com
You'll notice that woodweb.com's pages have "about 14,800" incoming links in Yahoo's database. Substitute your domain name in place of "woodweb.com" to see your relevant results.
Our content-rich pages and these incoming links are responsible for WOODWEB's consistently high search engine ranking for a large variety of keywords and phrases.
So, after you've done all you can within the content on your site, getting similar web sites (or sites in the same trade, industry, field of interest) to link to your site is likely the best thing you can do to improve your ranking. You can begin that process by creating a free listing and web page in WOODWEB's Woodworkers Directory. In addition to the exposure your site will get to many potential customers, you'll also be creating one or more links to your site from another highly rated site.
And… you guys should get together and trade links!
Some of the best advice can be found on Google's own webpage of tips for webmasters. The best of the tips boiled down:
Do create a quality site, the type that you would want to visit.
Don't use anything that feels like a "trick." They've all been tried before and search engines don't like them.
Don't trade links with spammers. If someone Emails you out of the blue saying something like "Hey I just found your site and wish to trade links" be wary, be very wary. Links to bad sites can make you look bad.
Do be realistic. If Miss Universe told you every secret she used to gain her title, would that mean you had a shot at it next year? Decide what your core strengths are and build from there.