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Thursday, August 04, 2005

Yahoo offers tips on optimization

Optimizing your site for natural search can be a great way to draw more traffic to your web site.

Any given Web search on a site such as Yahoo! can turn up thousands, sometimes millions, of results. So if you are trying to grow your business online, you will want to structure your site to improve your rankings in algorithmic (non-sponsored) search results. Consider implementing the search engine optimization tips below to help you achieve this goal.

Picking Target Keywords
Search engines look for keywords when scanning the Web for content in order to show relevant results. Thus, it's important to determine which terms your potential customers are using as they search, and make sure they are sprinkled liberally throughout your site. Two important things to consider when building this list are:

Target keywords should be at least two words long. The majority of sites usually are relevant for a single word, which creates more competition. Having additional words will increase your chances of success.
Colleagues, friends and customers may have some insight, so brainstorm with them when compiling keywords. They may have ideas that you haven't considered.
Positioning Keywords on Your Site
Search engine crawlers will scan your web pages for appropriate keywords, so it's important to place them where they're easy to find. The most effective locations to place your keywords are:

HTML title tags - Your site's title, which appears at the top of the browser window, is the first piece that crawlers will read. Write the titles of your headlines around your top two or three phrases.
META tags - META tags deliver information to the search engines for ranking purposes, explain the web page's content, and store keywords for search engines, which helps in the ranking process.
Headlines - Include your target keywords in the headlines of your pages. Search engine crawlers scan pages from top to bottom, so the headline will be one of the first things they detect.

Page Layouts
The layout of your web page also can affect a search engine's ability to find keywords. Search engines scan pages differently than humans do, so what appears normal to one may not appear that way to the other. Here are two things you can do to make your page layouts more conducive to natural searches:

If you use tables, simplify the structure to keep your keywords higher on the page--while human visitors may see your keywords, tables may make keywords appear lower on the page to search engines.
Make sure that your keywords appear in text--search engines can't read JavaScript or text that’s embedded in images.