Saturday, March 03, 2007


Webmasters - optimize your site for search engines tips

It used to be straightforward for webmasters when setting up a new site. You uploaded the site containing good navigation and Google and the other search engines (SEs) indexed it.

With the amount of competition and vast numbers of sites the SEs need to list, things have changed. Based on personal experience, here are some steps which might help you get indexed by Google. Yahoo tends to be easier since they focus on social sites and (basically) accept anything.

As well as registering each site at Google, you also need to register a sitemap xml. Create a Google a/c at webmaster tools:

You will need to make a sitemap.xml file and upload to your root domain. You can make a free one here:

Having uploaded it, you go back to Google webmaster tools and tell them where it may be found.

Next run

for great data concerning site size, loading times etc.

Next crucial factor is having good site structure, especially a site map [html version - the xml version won't be visible through a web browser]. You should regularly check for dead links (particularly externals where you have no control on when people change their url etc):

Next step is link popularity:

Your next task is to get people to link to you and vice-versa. You can buy these but they're not worth the money. Far better to
(a) write to people asking for reciprocal links
(b) write a few blogs, including your link - do something imaginative
(c) go to Yahoo Answers and answer something, giving your url. While search engines don't regard blogs, etc as genuine backlinks, you will generate traffic. (d) Join Google Webmaster help:

Post to "introduce yourself", post an additional question (say on the Rankings forum) ensuring your url is included. You will get an honest, friendly and far more expert opinion than mine! Additionally, Google index this page so you will a G backlink.

Regarding (a), you should check your local chamber of commerce and ask if they would link to you. Likewise, perhaps schools in the area? I would strongly suggest a links page where you can host reciprocal links; this needs to be visible from your home page.

I have installed Google Page Rank in my Firefox browser - you can see immediately if it's worth writing to somebody for a reciprocal link. Otherwise this one is accurate:

If you don't have Firefox you can get it free from my site:

There is an endless list of tweaks but this is particularly useful. It allows you to view your page in a variety of browsers:

Finally, always include your url when you e mail people - it should be added to your signature. You would be surprised how your messages are forwarded to hundreds of people, particularly if your content is useful (such as a joke). Obviously, you need to consider the material carefully - all mailers will allow you to include or omit your signature.

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