SERPs Strategies

Kelly “Rags” Ragland is owner and operator of Rags to Stitches Productions, a holistic advertising-specialty company providing a range of services from web design and development to customized apparel.

When it comes to learning about search engines and the many ways to work your way into the top search results, it is easy to be overwhelmed with technical buzzwords and advanced techniques that many professional web developers recommend. But the foundation of it all can be plain and simple to understand. 

There are three basic elements that can be managed and fine-tuned to get your website rising to the top of the SERPs (search engine results page) and get your business more online exposure.

Keyword strategy

Strategic use of good keywords is an essential part of making any website search-engine friendly. There is some science to it. First and foremost, the top search engines online will actually consider dropping sites in the SERPs if keywords are over used. So, the recipe for the number of times you include each keyword becomes subject to taste.

Keywords that are used in hyperlinks and even presented in a bold font will also grab a search engine’s attention, as well as title and/or alternate text attributes used in your images. 

When creating and editing copy for the Internet, consider not only what the visitors to your site will be reading, but also the fact that search engines are not human. They’re more like robots—they can read text, decipher phrases and understand where a keyword-friendly hyperlink may lead, but they cannot look at pictures, understand “click here” for a hyperlink or see any flashing 20-percent-off signs.

Hence, the recipe for good keyword management should include: 

• the use of a bold font when a keyword is used, i.e. Our embroidery designs set the bar for quality; 

• the use of keywords in hyperlinks, as in “click here to view our online 

placket shirt catalog;” and 

• carefully using each major keyword only up to about a dozen times per webpage. 

If you have statistical data available from your host or use Google Analytics, you can monitor what keywords are driving traffic to your site as well as what other keywords may be useful for your website based on their overall user data.

Quality hyperlinks

While the old recipe for in-bound hyperlinks (sites linking to yours) and out-bound hyperlinks (sites you link to) was the more the better/quantity over quality, search engines have become much more intelligent and now qualify the links going to and from your website based on who is linking to who.

For example, if you have a links page that points to your favorite restaurant, your next door neighbor’s Veterinarian website and your daughter’s Girl Scout picnic but your website sells imprinted sportswear, the search engines will get a bit puzzled. If a search engine sees a website selling T-shirts aimed at pet owners linking to pet supply sites, pet owners’ forums and other pet-related webpages—and likewise with those related sites linking back—the site is considered a more qualified search result.

Finally, make onsite navigation hyperlinks keyword-friendly. The use of images and well-designed menus are certainly pleasing to the eye. But remember, search engines can’t see images. It is a good idea to have a site map or some navigation linked in plain text using keyword-friendly copy whenever possible.

Social friendly

Last but not to be left out, Facebook status updates, Twitter broadcasts and other social-networking updates are now being included in many of the top SERPs. Experts suggest that these live streams will carry SERPs to a whole new level.

This can also be something to manipulate by including a mention of a hot topic or current event.

Good luck in your efforts to stay on top of the SERPs. Stay keyword-friendly to online search engine robots and they’ll come to like your website more and more.