Unless your page is among the top of search engine results, no one will know your page exists. The Internet consists of BILLIONS of web pages and millions more appear every day. This page helps improve your search engine rankings and page quality using the secrets and tips we learned over the past twenty-years.
Secrets and tips
Below is a listing of links to specific categories on this page. If you have not yet read through this document we suggest reading this whole page so nothing is missed.
Create new and original content
By far the most significant first step any site can do is create new and original content. Search engines use web robots (spidercrawler) designed to search a website and grab keywords and text from the website to be listed on their search engines. If your site does not have lots of content, your chances of being found are significantly decreased. For example, if your web page has ten pages and your competitor has 100 pages, it is a lot more likely that your competitor’s website will be found first.
Tip: Because of abuse from content farms Google and other search engines are paying closer attention to the quality of your content. Make sure all of the content is quality content and that it is going to help your visitors. Just creating content to create content does not help you or your visitors. Always be asking yourself “Is this page good enough to be in a glossy magazine or new paper article?”
Update content frequently
Update and add new content frequently. If your site contains frequently updated content, visitors have yet another reason to return and bookmark your site and search engine crawlers will visit your site more often. We recommend creating at least 2-3 pages of new content weekly or even better a new page every day. Sites that have not been updated in over a month are considered abandoned pages by most visitors.
Add content even if your site only sells products
Most users do not visit a website only to purchase a product. If your site is trying to sell something it should have complete information about the products such as how to setup the product, how it can be used, reviews, and comments from other users about your products. Not only will this bring more visitors to your web page, it is also likely they will convert into visitors that buy what is being sold.
User generated content such as product reviews are also a must for any site that sells products. Most people expect at least a general review of a product and good reviews from many users can often talk the visitor into purchasing the product.
Format the content
Bounce rateFormat your pages content in an easy to read and scan format. This can be done by creating easy to read, short, and catchy headings as shown on this page. Doing this makes your web page more enjoyable to read and help reduce your pages bounce rate. For the heading of each page, we also suggest surrounding it with the HTML <h1></h1> tags. The heading tags help match keywords and can improve your search engine rankings.
Keep in mind that on average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest of the piece. If your headline is confusing, tricky, or awkward, they won’t continue reading.
The importance of the first paragraph
The first paragraph of text is the most important paragraph on the page. Search engine’s pay close attention to the first paragraph and the first paragraph is what is going to catch the readers eyes. Placing important keywords into this paragraph and making sure it is well written can help improve your rank and will decrease your bounce rate.
Make sure each page has enough content
Individual web pages that only contain only a few dozen words do not help your page or your visitors. Make sure that at least every page has 200 words.
Add a catchy picture
People are visual creatures, adding one or more pictures that help grab the visitors eyes, build interest, and make sure they don’t leave the site immediately. When adding a picture also make sure to add an ALT tag to the image that describes the picture and has keywords that a search engine is also going to notice.
Domain, titles, and URL
If you plan on doing anything with your web page, a domain name is a must. When registering a domain name make sure the name is a short, simple, and easy to spell and remember. For example, designscan is a much easier name to remember and type than designscanscansyourwebsite. Many of the common domain names have already been taken, so try to think of as many names as possible. Doing a whois lookup is an easy way to determine what domains are available, the GoDaddy whois is an example of such a lookup.
Most search engines use the title of your web page when displaying your site in their search results. Therefore, it is always a smart idea to put keywords into the title of each of your pages. However, keep the title short (at most 5 or 6 words), use words that a potential visitor may be searching for, and make the title understandable.
Tip: Try pacing your most important keywords at the beginning of the title.
Add keywords into your URL by adding subdirectories that are your keywords. For example, the DesignScan wiki support section is: http://www.designscan.me/support/wiki. As you can see, this URL has three keywords: designscan, support and wiki. Use this to your advantage, search engines today convert your URL to text and use it as a method of indexing your web page.
Notice: Do not get carried away with using keywords in your URL. Having a short URL is also a good method of making sure your link is shared. Nothing worse than trying to send someone a link to a web page in an e-mail or chat only to find the link is four-lines long.
Navigation and Layout
A visitor will leave immediately if they are unable to navigate your website. Studies have shown the typical view time when first visiting a page is two to four seconds, visitors who do not immediately understand how to navigate the site or see what they want will almost immediately leave. Internet users know that if your page does not have what they are trying to find there is plenty of others that will.
Link to all sub pages from the main page
Your main page should link to all of your sub pages; if this is not possible it should at least link to your main sections. When designing your website, make sure visitors can find what they are looking for within a few clicks. This can be accomplished by making lists of sub pages or categories, adding your own search engine, or making a site map.
Sub pages should link back to main page
All your sub pages should link back to your home page or other main sections of your main page. Many of your visitors will not visit your page through the home page, make it easy for visitors to go there from all sub pages. For example, a company logo or name should link to the main page, a navigation bar it should have a link that says “home”, and the bottom of the page should also link to the home page for visitors looking for more information.
Have a search engine
If your page does not its own search engine, consider using a third-party search engine. These custom search engine scripts can often be implemented into your site in less than a few minutes.
Keep it simple, clean, and fast
Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)
Follow the KISS principle, if your website is too busy or over complicated your visitors will become frustrated and leave.
Do not make the visitor scroll
When first visiting a web page, most visitors do not scroll down. Keep the important and eye-catching information on the first viewable page. If your page has lots of information, create bookmark links in the first section so visitors can jump to what interests them. Finally, never make a visitor scroll horizontal, a web page that scrolls left-to-right causes frustration and most visitors will not even realize they need to scroll and leave.
Keep your headers small
The top headers of all your pages should be small, at most one to two inches in height. A large header makes the visitor scroll down on every page and is often distracting for users who visit the site frequently.
Test with other monitors and browser
Not all users have the same browser, monitor, or computer. Make sure your web page looks good on all computers and monitors. A page displayed on a 17” monitor will look different when displayed on a smaller 15” monitor or laptop display. Consider using online tests to see how your web page looks with different browsers.
Test with other devices
Today, computers are not the only way people access the Internet. Make sure your page is accessible and viewable on other devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Avoid large images and Flash files
Avoid large images or flash animations that take a long time to load. Not everyone has a broadband connection, visitors with a modem or in other parts of the world may become impatient with slow load times. As we mentioned earlier, the average view time on a website is a few seconds, grab the visitors attention immediately with a fast-loading page. If your page needs large images consider loading those in a separate page.
Test your load times
Make sure the overall load time of a web page is no more than four seconds. Fast load times keep visitors on your site and search engines like Google use a web pages load time as part of their algorithm for ranking your page in the search results. Run portions of your web page through online tests to help determine the slow portions of your page.