Posted Friday, October 22, 2004
The primary key to getting fantastic search engine placement for your website is using a technique called “entrance pages”. Entrance pages have just one purpose: to rank highly on one search engine for one keyword phrase. Entrance pages aren’t pretty… what looks good to a search engine usually looks terrible to a human. Also, entrance pages must be specifically tuned to one phrase and one search engine.
Let’s examine the reasons for using entrance pages compared to just submitting your “home page” to the search engines. An entrance page is optimized by various techniques to achieve a high ranking on a particular search engine. Your home page may not have been optimized at all… or it may be optimized to generally achieve a moderate ranking on all search engines. You see, the techniques that achieve a high ranking on a search engine for a web page will kill your ranking on another search engine… so it’s practically impossible to achieve a high ranking on all the major search engines with only one page submitted (i.e. your home page).
That is why entrance pages are used. Using this technique, you can tune a web page to get a high ranking on one search engine for one keyword phrase. To achieve high rankings on all the major search engines for your keyword phrase, it is necessary to design multiple entrance pages. For example, if I want to rank highly under the keyword phrase “internet marketing” I will have to create separate pages for Alta Vista, HotBot, Lycos, Excite, InfoSeek, MSN, etc.
Entrance pages are not designed to look good. You don’t need a lot of graphics or glamour. What you do need are tags, tags, headline tags, tags, tags, links, and body text sprinkled with your keyword phrase. Each search engine has a different ranking algorithm that determines your placement. Below, I’ll give some general pointers:
The most important tag in the list above is the title tag. The title tag sets the text that appears in the title bar of your browser. Most search engines use this text as one of the major ranking factors when they spider your web page. You should definitely include your keyword phrase at the beginning of your title tag. Be aware that listing your company name or welcoming people to your website should not be done in the title tag. If you do that, you are wasting extremely valuable real estate on your website. A good idea is to put other relevant keywords after your primary keyword phrase. Some search engines look for synonyms on web pages, and if they are found, you are bound to rank higher.
Not all search engines recognize meta tags, but they definitely don’t hurt you, either. Many search engines use meta tags to allow webmasters to submit a description of their website that will be displayed with their link. They are also used in the ranking algorithms. Meta tags should be placed in the “head” of your web page, above the body tag. There are really two types of meta tags to be concerned about here. They are your tag and your . One of the important things to remember is not to repeat your keywords more than once or twice in your meta tags.
The next important tag is headline tags. Headline tags are used to make text appear large and bold. The syntax is keyword phrase here. Headline tags come in different flavors, being the largest to being the smallest. Search engines place importance on text contained in headline tags. The larger the headline, the more important the text. It’s a good idea to have several headline tags on your page, but don’t repeat your keyword phrase too often. Use synonyms instead of repetition.
Your tags are also quite important. Image tags are used to display graphics like GIFs and JPEGs. You should include one or two graphics on your web page, linked to your home page. Here is an example of an image tag: . Notice the “ALT” property of the image tag. That text will be displayed if the mouse cursor hovers over the graphic. Search engines use this text in their ranking algorithms.
Form tags can also play a role in search engine rankings. Here is an example of an optimized form tag. keyword phrase synonym
It is important that you have links on your entrance pages. Wise webmasters link both to their own home page and all their other entrance pages. Following is a good example of a link on an entrance page: keyword phrase goes here.
Last, but definitely not least, is your body text. Start your body text with your keyword phrase. Begin the next sentence with a synonym. Different engines require different amounts of body text, so experiment and see what ranks best for you. Don’t just repeat your keyword phrase or synonyms over and over. It’s best to sprinkle them throughout your text lightly.
One of the tricks professionals use is to analyze their page with a keyword density analyzer. There are several available. One that comes to mind is “Keyword Density Analyzer”. A keyword density analyzer is the best way to make sure you are not repeating your keywords too many times on your entrance pages. For most search engines, a keyword density (number of keyword repetitions on your page compared to number of other words) is about 3% - 4%.
Once you have created your entrance pages, uploaded them to your server and submitted the URLs to the search engines (don’t do too many at once – you’ll be penalized), wait a month or two and you’ll have fantastic rankings. Be careful, unscrupulous webmasters search for high ranking entrance pages and like to steal the code to get their own high placements. One way to protect against this is by using cloaking software. It’s fairy easy to set up and use, and has the added bonus of never letting web surfers see your ugly entrance pages… they are automatically forwarded to your home page without ever knowing they went through an entrance page.
Check your rankings often, and experiment to get the best results. One good way to check your rankings is to use software like WebPosition Gold. You can also check them manually by visiting each search engine and searching for your keyword phrases.
Final advice: be patient and don’t give up. It isn’t always easy to get top rankings, especially when the competition for your keyword phrases is tough. Be creative, work hard, and you will get the hits your website deserves!
About the Author
Dan Kramer, of Volatile Graphix, Inc. dba KloakIt. Kloakit's web site is a resource for a shareware stealth script with many resources for web site promotion and CGI discussion. You can reach Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the KloakIt website at (http://www.kloakit.com) .