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Well, if you don’t care and you don’t have someone on your team who cares then you could be in for a very big surprise! The kind that can cost you a lot of money. That is if you have a website, blog or other online presence where you depend on traffic to either showcase your products and services, sell something or disseminate information to a target audience. Without search engine rankings you would have to depend entirely on word of mouth marketing or your current client base.

A high search engine ranking for your website is so important that if you have the slightest need to actually succeed in your business, you have to pay attention (or PAY someone to PAY ATTENTION) and more importantly do something!

Did you know that At least 85% of people looking for goods and services on the Internet find websites through search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Therefore, the idea of optimizing your pages for high search engine rankings is to attract targeted customers to your site who will be more than likely to make a purchase. The higher your page comes up in search engine results, the greater the chances the right traffic will be directed to your website. That’s why engine optimization is vital to your online business. Without it, you most likely will end up in the deep abyss of the internet on a page so far down, the only people who would find you are those who know your exact website address (URL).

There are several ways to tackle the search engine optimization issues you will encounter. You can learn everything (or at least most everything) about the technical aspects of how to do your own SEO (such as coding your site, tagging, etc) or you can take a much simpler approach and fix the most important things on your site beginning with the title bar, an often overlooked important and yet simple to fix SEO “trick.”

The title bar is the bar that runs horizontally across an application window. The title bar will contain either the name of the file–for example, a document you are viewing–or the website you are viewing through your Internet browser.

Look at the words that appear there when you access your home page. To increase search engine rankings, the words on your homepage’s title bar should include the most important keywords or phrases, one of which would include your company name.

Then click on all your links and examine the title bars on the pages you access. Each title bar on every single page of your site should contain the most important keywords and phrases taken from the page itself. However, avoid very long strings of keywords, keeping them to six words or

less. Avoid repeating keywords more than once in the title bars, and make sure that identical words are not next to each other.

The next item to review is your website content. Search engines generally list sites that contain quality content rather than scintillating graphics. The text on your site must contain the most important keywords – the words that potential customers will use in the search engines to find your site.

The goal is to have between 100 and 250 words carefully chosen words on each page, the essential content ingredient to achieve high rankings in search engines. The search engines must be able to read the text, which meant that the text must be in HTML and not graphic format.

To find out if your text is in HTML format, take your cursor and try to highlight a word or two. If you are able to do this, the text is HTML. If the text will not highlight, it is probably in graphic form. In this case, ask your webmaster to change the text into HTML format in order to increase your search engine rankings.

Next we come to what is called meta tags. Meta tags are an important part of the mix to get those high search engine rankings. They work in conjunction with all the other things you do to make your website/blog search engine friendly.

To find out if your page is set up with meta tags, you must access the code. To do this, click the “view” button on the browser menu bar, and select “view source” or “source.” Or right click somewhere on the website page (not near graphics, near the text) and a box should popup. This box should have the words “View page source” or view source.” Click on one of those functions to see the ‘behind the scenes coding and words’ found on that page. That is what the search engines see when they review a website.

If there are meta tags, they usually appear near the top of the window. For example, a meta tag would read: meta name=”keywords” content=. If you do not find code that reads like this, ask your webmaster to put them in. This may not do much for your search engine rankings, but any little boost helps. And it can’t hurt.

And then there’s the topic of “link popularity.” This is a factor that is extremely important in terms of search engine rankings. Almost all search engines use link popularity to rank your website. Link popularity is based on the quality of the sites linked to yours and vice versa.

If you type in “free link popularity check” in a popular search engine, you will find several sites that offer free link popularity tools that you can use to see which sites are linked to your site. If your site shows very little or no links or the links are of poor quality (meaning the sites that link to yours rank very low in the search engines, consider launching a link popularity campaign. Essentially, this entails contacting quality sites and requesting that they exchange links with your site. Before contacting other sites, be sure you check out the rankings of the websites you want to link up with. Linking to popular, quality sites not only boosts your search engine ranking, but it also directs more quality traffic to your website. Some sites that would be VERY beneficial to have links from would include .edu and .gov sites. Those are considered “authority sites” and as such a link from them shows favorably in the search engines. We will cover this subject in more depth in another post.

Search engine rankings are extremely important for a successful Internet marketing campaign. Before you hire a search engine optimization company, try your hand at improving your site by implementing the simple steps listed above. Remember, the higher your search engine ranking, the more quality customers will be directed your way. And isn’t that what you want anyway?

By the way, if you are in South Florida May 26th, be sure and visit us when we present: Content Is Queen… How to Leverage your Website/Blog Content. We’d love to see you there!