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How to Get Top Search Engine Positioning

By David Gikandi
Posted Friday, October 22, 2004

There is a pervasive myth among web site managers that simply submitting your web site to hundreds of search engines will increase traffic to your site. Another myth is that simply inserting META tags in your Web pages will also increase your traffic. Both are just not true. So what works? Search engine positioning. That is by far your best and most affordable bet.

Consider these statistics: Over 95% of Web users find what they are looking for by visiting the top 6 search engines. Yahoo alone handled over 55 million searches and page views in December 1997. Many of these searches are for the products and services that you deal in, guaranteed! Everybody knows that even a few good positions on even one or two important keywords or phrases can drive thousands or hundreds of thousands of quality visitor traffic to a Web site per day. Research has shown that people hardly ever go past the top 30 search results for any one search. The top 10 results receive 78% more traffic than those in position 11 to 30 do. The top 30 results get over 90% of the search traffic. This alone explains why some sites do so well and others so disappointingly, and why it is so critical to be ranked highly.

So how do you position your web site at the top of search engine results? Use doorway pages. Doorway pages, also known as entry or bridge pages, are Web pages designed specifically to rank highly on the unique ranking algorithms of each search engine. The two best things about using doorway pages is that they cost far less than other promotional tools such as banner ads, and they work better when properly designed. There are two ways to go about creating doorways. You can either do it yourself or have someone do it for you.

If you decide to do it yourself, be prepared to invest a considerable amount of time on them - beating the search engine algorithms is not an easy matter! You should also be prepared to make a number of doorway pages. You must make one doorway page per keyword or keyword phrase that you want to be positioned well in. For best results, depending on your site’s subject matter, you should target 10 to 50 keywords and keyword phrases. Usually, a page that ranks well on one engine may not rank well on other engines. Assuming that you want to make sure that you are ranked highly on the five top engines (AltaVista, HotBot, Lycos, Infoseek and Excite – Yahoo does not accept doorway pages), you have to make five versions of each doorway page, each optimized for a particular engine.

Knowing what it takes to make effective doorway pages is not hard – there are lots of good publications that now tell you exactly what the search engines are looking for in a page that will rank highly. One of the best guides to this is "Secrets to Achieving a Top 10 Position", a free 118 page manual that comes free with WebPosition software (see (www.searchpositioning.com) for details). The hard part is in actually creating these doorways! Basically, this is what it would involve:

First, you have to realize that ranking criteria varies from search engine to search engine. Most evaluate the placement of keywords or keyword phrases on various parts of your pages based simultaneously on all these criteria:

Prominence of the keyword searched – how early in a page a keyword appears.
Frequency of the keyword searched – number of times the keyword appears. Be careful about this. Simply repeating the keyword will not work because grammatical structure and keyword weight also plays a role.
Site Popularity – a few search engines consider how popular your site is when ranking.
"Weight" of the keywords – that is the ratio of keywords to all other words. Each search engine has a threshold. If your page crosses that threshold, the engine labels it as spam and ignores it.
Proximity of keywords – how close together the keywords are to each other, especially when the item searched for is a phrase.
Keyword Placement – these are the locations where an engine will look for the keyword, e.g. in the body, title, META tags, etc.
Grammatical structure – some engines consider grammar in their calculations. They do this to make it harder for spammers to do their thing.
Synonyms – some engines look for words similar in meaning to the keyword.
As you can see, the ranking criteria is highly dynamic, using a complex algorithm that integrates all the above factors in various proportions and with various maximum and minimum values. An important criteria to look deeper into is the keyword placement criteria. These are the various places that engines look for keywords:

Keywords in the tag(s)
Keywords in the
Keywords in the
Keywords in or other headline tags
Keywords in the link tags
Keywords in the body copy
Keywords in ALT tags
Keywords in

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