Recently, a good friend of mine asked me to check why his website is not attracting as many users as he expected. To be honest, he didn’t expect much, but he still expected more than what his website attracted. He also pointed out that the website gets poor ratings in search engines.  I took a look at his website and I saw that it would also need a design and content improvement. Non-the-less, the site is content heavy and it seems to contain all keywords that searches failed on. And by fail, I mean that his site was found somewhere on 15th page of Google search. After seeing this, design and content improvement got pushed down on priority scale. It was time for some search engine optimization (SEO).

Setting keywords meta tag

I am always surprised when I still see web sites published without keywords meta tag. This is probably the most important feature for search engines to recognize. There will be people that claim it is not true and that keywords are obsolete and totally ignored by search engines. I ask those people then, why then did my friends site jumped from sitting in the middle of 15th page of Google search to the top of 3rd page, by only applying relevant keywords in meta tags? The key word here is relevant. If your meta tag uses keywords that are not found in site content, there is a great chance your site will drop in ratings. However, placing well thought out keywords on sites will reward you with significant rating improvement.

Modifying headers and alternate image texts

After I set up keywords, I also decided to alter some headings he had on the site. Purely to represent what was showing and to make it more readable by a regular user. Also, alternate texts were added to all images on the site. This improved search rating a bit. The site moved to bottom of 2nd page.

Setting description meta tag

Another important thing you must do is put a relevant description for each site in meta description tag. Preferably, it should include keywords listed, but it is not necessary. However, description and site content must walk hand in hand, and adding an irrelevant description can, you guessed it, decrease your ratings severely. Rating gained by adding description is not as significant as adding keywords, but it improves your chances of getting found non-the-less. My friends site got from bottom of 2nd page to the top of it. So, it seems we were on a right track.

Changing page titles

The thing that did the last ratings push (from 2nd page to 3rd to 5th hit on first page) was adding relevant information to page title. Each page now has a title that consists of company name and slogan with business company does and site title separated by pipe sign (‘|’). Last part changes from site to site and thus enabling search engines to locate correct site for search query.

These methods may sound easy, but you should pay great heed to them. As mentioned, doing it wrong, will result in ratings drop and thus a lot of bad blood. I cannot emphasize enough, how relevancy is the key here. You really need to think things out and, if you cannot work with present content, encourage client to change it to something meaningful. Doing it correctly, will improve ratings ten-fold, leaving you and your client happy. As seen in this case, we managed to raise a website from 15th page on Google search to top 5 hits on first page. This is huge and will result in more page visits and consequently more business.