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Turn Your Website into a Search Engine Magnet

Getting to page one of the search results in a search engine, especially Google, is the aim of the vast majority of business owners. However, most owners approach it from the wrong angle.

When I am designing websites for my customers, most ask if I can 'put in some keywords' or 'add some links' so that they can get to the top of the search results. Worse still, are those who ask me to add a meta tag to ensure they are on page one. Read the secrets of search engine optimisation to find out why this will not work

What is behind these many requests, is a desire to somehow 'trick' the search engines into placing your website at the top. Many discussions take place between business owners in pubs and bars and many have a story about how they employed a few tricks to get onto page 1. But like so many stories, they are often at best exaggerated or at worst, downright lies.

There was a time when certain tricks worked, especially in the early days of the Internet. Stuffing keywords into meta tags and image attibutes could bring about astonishing results. And the truth is that there are still one or two tricks that still work to this very day.

So why should I not use tricks to get to the top?

There are two main reasons why you should not try and trick the search engines. Firstly, if the trick works, it will likely work for keywords which you did not want to become known for. So your site will get many visitors but few potential customers. Secondly, it can only ever be a short-term strategy. When the search engines become wise to your trick, not only will your site drop like a stone through the search results pages, it will likely be banned and if that is the case you may not appear for search phrases for which you should be genuinely appearing.

So how do I make my website a search engine magnet?

Google have made it very clear for some time now that although they will never reveal their algorithms (there is not much use in knowing them anyway as they change constantly) they do reveal what qualities they look for in a website. Here are the most important one:

So when you are writing the content for your website, you should make sure that the search engines will see these qualities when they read your website. It is true that it is highly unlikely that there is someone sitting there reading your website to find out if these qualities are present. However, the ever-changing search engine algorithms always have these targets in mind and if you ensure your website follows these guidelines, you can ensure it is set up for long-term success in the search engine results pages.

It's about working for your customers, not the search engines

Therefore, as we are now entering a more mature Internet age, I feel it is time that we all stopped thinking in terms of optimising our websites for the search engines. Such a goal on its own misses the whole objective of the search engines. What we should be doing instead is providing as much relevant, accurate and important information for our customers as we can in a well structured manner. If our customers can find the information and find it useful, then so will the search engines and the resultant success that can bring will naturally follow.

Mon 30 May 2011 16:08:56

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