Web Site Optimization and Promotion

Disclaimer: I can not promise everything I write here about web site optimization and promotion is correct and would work fine for your site. But I try to optimize my sites like this. If your know of some better search engine optimization (SEO) stratagy, I would really appreciate your feedback.

How to select keywords for the site optimization ?

  1. Use 1 page for 1 keyword or phrase optimization only. If you want to optimize your site for 1 more keyword, just add 1 more page to your site.
  2. Try to make a list of keywords or phrases, which you would use yourself to find this your page on a search engine. Consult free Overture Search Term Suggestion Tool to get some notion of the chosen keywords or phrases popularity.
  3. Select 1 keyword or phrase - it is the main target of your optimization for this page. Do not choose most popular keywords or phrases - they are very hard to optimize for.
  4. Less common keywords or phrases could be used in the page text too. With a less common word or phrase your page gets a better chance to be on the top of a search engine index when somebody finally tries to look for it (some SEO experts even suggest to do grammatical mistakes intentionally to produce "rare words". But this does not seem to amuse the readers).

Write the text of the web page keeping these keywords in mind. There are must be a lot of text - modern search engines seem to give more weight to pages with a lot of text.

How to optimize your site pages for Google?

  1. Use keywords in the page file name. E.g. this page file name is web-site-optimization.php. Any guesses why ?
  2. Make the title of your site keyword-rich. Keyword-rich title seems to have primary importance for the search engine optimization . Title is the text between the tags <title></title>. Always use different titles for different pages of your site.
  3. Make the header of the page keyword-rich. Header is the text between the tags <h1></h1>. Use just 1 main header for each page.
  4. Make sure you have enough keywords on the page below the header. Be careful - too many keywords could make your site look like spam to Google.
  5. Use keywords in bold, italic or underlined. Such words have more importance for search engines than the plain text words. E.g. the phrase «Web Site Optimization» would be considered as more important just because it is in bold.
  6. Use keywords in anchor text in hyperlinks. Anchor text is the text between the tags <A></A>. E.g. the phrase «Hire a Coder» would be more important for Google because it is a hyperlink text.
  7. Use keywords and phrases in ordered and unordered lists. Lists seem to be more important for search engines than the plain text (see HTML reference for the tags <ol></ol>, <uL></ul>).
  8. It seems to be good to have one-theme website. This means not to place pages about astronomy to the site with most pages about programming.
  9. Your site must have static link navigation. E.g. JavaScript menus may be not followed by some crawlers.

How to promote your site ?

Your position in Google depends on 2 factors:

  1. your site optimization (see above)
  2. your site PageRank

Google PageRank (PR) is a value from 1 to 10. It measures how important your page is from the Google viewpoint:

  • PR is the higher the more sites have links to your site.
  • links form sites with higher PR give more to your site PR.
  • links form pages with PR lower than yours still add something to your site PR.
  • links from sites most relevant to your site give more to your PR. Link from a completely not relevant site could add nothing to your PR (e.g. link to this my page from any site about web-design or search engine optimization would add a little to this page PR. While a link to the same page from a site about growing pets would be almost useless).

To measure your site PR you could download Google ToolBar from http://toolbar.google.com/. It is free but it collects statistical information about your Internet activity if PR measurement is on. Though you could turn it off any time.

Try to obtain as many links to your site as possible. It is very important to have the links keyword-rich. Google seems to consider every link as a vote for your site. The link words are the keywords for which this particular site votes.

Google seems to consider not only links from other sites to yours, but links between different pages of your site too. So try to make such links keyword-rich too. To get links from other sites:

  1. Submit your site to directories.
  2. Participate in forums. Many of them allow you to make links to your site, e.g. in your signature.
  3. Participate in link-excange programs with related sites with reasonably high PR.

Never submit to Free For All (FFA) pages. They give a link to your site in exchange for sending advertising messages to your e-mail address. It tried it once with a completely new site. It did not improve my position in Google and brought very few visitors to my site. But I got 200-400 messages a day to the e-mail address I provided, so I had to block the address.

Never give links to FFA pages. Google could consider them as «link farms». Linking to «link farms» could ban your site from Google.

What directories to submit to ?

  • www.dmoz.org - Open Directory (free and most important for Google)
  • www.yahoo.com - Yahoo Directory (it costs $299 non-refundable annual fee through Yahoo! Express)
  • www.looksmart.com - Looksmart Directory (pay per click system)

There are a lot of free directories where your site could be submitted. Try to look for them in Google or other search engines.

A good example of such a directory is www.tatet.com. It is pretty small. But they indexed me very fast, it is free and it is definitely indexed by Google.

How to submit to directories ?

  1. Always do it manually - no autosubmitters. It would increase your chance to be listed.
  2. First browse through the directory and find a category where you want your site to be placed.
  3. Look at the other site names and description in the chosen category. It would give you an idea how much "promotional" names and descriptions they accept.
  4. Read their submission instructions carefully. If you do not follow their guidelines, your site could be easily rejected.
  5. Then submit.
Additional comments

03.28.2005: Recently Google lowered my site in index drastically in about 4 days without any apparent reason. It used to be at the 4th position, now it is at the 43rd. Site logs and site statistics did not give any explanation. It is well known Google could consider a page to be spam if it has big keyword density. But I did not change anything for about a month.

I guess Google probably has some proportion between number of links to your site and number the keyword it meets at your page. If the page has more keywords than links with the same keywords in the link text, the page could be considered as spam and lowered in the index very quickly. It is just my guess.

It could be also site temporary site inaccessibility but it looks less probable. When I find the real reason I'll write about it here.

04.12.2005: The site is back to normal in Google index. All I did was changing a couple of words at the main page of the site. I lowered the key density by 1 word. It did not look like Google dance - the site position changed too greatly. I think the site was lowered in the index because of some temporary server unavailability during the previous Google visit.

Google and some other SE are also known to lower gradually pages in index which never change. It seems to be useful to make small changes to pages from time to time. The changes should not change the key density greatly. Just add a couple of words or remove them once in 2 months. It seems to make site look up-to-date to Google. This guess seems to work.

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