Monday, September 12, 2005

Ten tips to help your website rank better with search engines


By formatting your website correctly, you can save money on advertising by using the search engine to bring in good, quality, targeted viewers.

1. Links - Links are what make the web tick. All search engines consider a link a vote and this is one case where and it is ok to stuff the ballot box. Google, Yahoo and the others base their rankings to some extent on how many good quality incoming links you have. Many incoming links from various sources will make your website seem more important to search engines and will make your site rank higher.

Try to get your web site listed in the following sources.

DMOZ - The open source directory is a huge listing of websites about any conceivable topic. It is run by volunteer editors, the listing are free of charge, but it may take a long time to have your site listed. When trying to get into the DMOZ make sure you follow the rules listed on the site to the letter. Make sure your web site has a fair amount of quality content. Sometimes the editors can be picky, but the wait is worth it. DMOZ can be the most important incoming link that you receive.

Global Auction Guide- A huge listing of live auction related topics and calendar of events. Many buyers look here for auction information.

Your local state auctioneer association - Because of the way search engines are set up, and the way most people search for information on the web with longer and more specific search terms, it is far more important to get a link from a state auctioneer association than the national organization.

National organizations - The National Auctioneers Association. The way they have their web site set up a link from them to you will not count as a vote in the eyes of the search engines.

Other auctioneers - If you know another auctioneer, maybe one from out of town, that has a website ask that person to trade links. It will help both of you in the long run.

Other related sites - Collectors organizations, a realtor, others that you have a business relationship with are all good places to look when trying to exchange website links. will happily display a link to all auctioneering web sites.

How to make your links work for you - Create a separate web page to place links on. Create the links in such a way that the link text or the underlined portion of the link is as descriptive as possible. Link text like Kansas Auctioneer is much more effective than

2. The right text is worth a thousand pictures - With each word in your site a potential match to someones search, it has been shown that the more text on your website, the greater chance that your website will bring in targeted traffic. Use plenty of descriptive text in your web pages. Try to describe what you have to offer in as many different ways as possible. Keep the paragraph structure short. People scan web pages, they seldom take time to actually read something on a site. Look at how CNN and Yahoo break up their pages for clues on how to structure a site succesfully.

3. Publish ASAP - If at all possible get information on upcoming sales on your site one month in advance. This will give search engines time to index your page, and allow targeted searches from collecters and buyers to find your content.

4. Don't worry about being #1 auctioneer, worry about being one of the #1 auctioneer for a town close to you. Being the #1 listed auctioneer for antiques or in the United States probably will not pay off for you in terms of time spent to get that ranking. Being the #1 listed auctioneer for your town, or the #1 auctioneer for selling antique radios is a much more achievable goal and will bring pay off better in the long run.

5. Nothing too fancy - Avoid using flash, javascript/css menus, large pictures, or anything else which detracts from your message. Search engines can't read pictures(yet). If you have pictures of items up for auction, place a preview on one page with the closeup larger picture on a second page. Make sure you use text to describe what is on that picture.

6. Separate the new from the old - It is a good idea to keep old auctions on your website. It isn't a good idea to place old auctions on the same page as new auctions.

7. Know the basics - You don't need to know a lot about building web pages, with today's web programs you really don't need to know much at all. One thing you do need to know is how to make a title of your web page. The title is what appears when someone looks at your page in a search engine. Learn how to create a title on your web page and make it as descriptive as possible. Antique, collectible auction in Kansas is a far better title than, Steve Smith's auction.

8. Learn about keywords - Keywords are the terms which web surfers type into Google or other engines. It is good to add important keywords in the title, links and written pages of your website. Too many repeated keywords will get you into trouble with the engines. Make it easy for others to get around on your site and you will be fine. Keep the keywords that you place in the page related to the page.

9. More is better - Written content is the easiest way to increase the visitors on your site. Don't just have an old auction page, use the page to describe how the auction went, (which was great of course). If you feel comfortable with the idea, put the prices realized on the old auction page. It is unique content which search engines love.

10. Share the wealth - Add your knowledge of collectibles and antiques to the web, either on your web site or other pages. Join forums and if possible put a link back to your site in the forum entries. Search engines have eyes everywhere and will reward you for your effort.