Increasing my search engine placment?

Discussion in 'Digital Marketing' started by firstchoice1, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. commercialnetinc

    commercialnetinc LawnSite Member
    Posts: 25

    Travis, here are some solid basics:

    1. BROWSER TITLE -- Most people want to put their company name first then keywords after that. Instead, insert keywords and key-phrases related to how consumers search first ~ all separated by commas. Then, use a dash with your company name thereafter. Like this:

    Remember that search spiders look for relevance UP FRONT. Unless consumers are specifically searching for your company BY NAME, keep your name BEHIND keywords in the browser title. (NOTE: There is speculation that search spiders quit indexing browser titles after the first 60 characters, so make the first 60 count!)


    2. META TAGS -- There is a right way and wrong way to use meta tags. The construction of the right way is demonstrated below:

    Code:
    <meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1" />
    <meta http-equiv="expires" content="-1" />
    <meta http-equiv="pragma" content="no-cache" />
    <meta name="author" content="Johnson Landscaping" />
    <meta name="ROBOTS" content="index,follow" />
    <meta name="ROBOTS" content="ALL" />
    <meta name="DESCRIPTION" content="Metro Atlanta Landscape Maintenance Services Information, Rates, Hours, Services" />
    <meta name="KEYWORDS" content="Metro Atlanta, Georgia, Landscape, Maintenance, Landscaping, Residential, Commercial, Mowing, Trimming, Seeding, Aeration, Sod, Fertilize Lawn" />

    3. IMAGES -- Search spiders cannot see images, but they can see "attribute" tags. Two of the most important are the "ALT" and "TITLE" tags. They are written as shown below:

    Code:
    <img src="../images/myimage.jpg" border="0" ALT="Atlanta Georgia Landscape Maintenance" TITLE="Johnson Landscaping, Atlanta Lawn Maintenance">
    The ALT tag is the "alternate" text that appears in a browser in case the image somehow doesn't load. Even so, this is seen and indexed by the search spider.

    The TITLE tag generates small text pop-ups when a cursor hovers an image. Matter of fact, TITLE tags are used here on LawnSite.com when you hover over the embedded smilies in the "Reply to Thread" box (like the one I'm using right now). Search spiders can see these, too.


    4. KEYWORD TEXT LINKS -- Spiders follow links, and the more links you have within your own site to other pages in your site, the better. For example, you could insert something like:

    (Notice that the important keywords are linked.)


    5. NON-KEYWORD TEXT LINKS -- Same as above, but a little more complicated. Let's say you want to link a word or phrase, but that word or phrase doesn't contain keywords naturally. In this case, you'll use a TITLE tag. For example:

    In this case, "contact us" (which is linked) would be embedded with a TITLE tag so that the keywords can be indexed once the link is followed. Here's what the HTML would look like:

    Code:
    <a href="http://www.jlsinc.net/component/option,com_qcontacts/Itemid,87/id,1/view,contact/" title="Metro-Atlanta Lawn Maintenance Services, Mowing, Trimming, Debris Removal, Brush Clean-up"
    In this case, not only would there be another link for the search spider to follow, but keywords would be available for indexing. When site visitors hover over the link, "Metro-Atlanta Lawn Maintenance Services, Mowing, Trimming, Debris Removal, Brush Clean-up" would pop up.


    6. BODY COPY - This one is pretty much a no-brainer. Make sure that common search phrases (for anyone looking to hire a landscaper) is located in each of your pages in the body-copy.


    7. HEADERS AND STYLIZED TEXT -- You should use "stylized text" and "header tags" to set-off indexable words and phrases appearing near the top of each page. Shown below are how header and stylized text HTML is written:

    Stylized....
    Code:
    <span style="font-size: 14pt; font-weight: bold; color: green; font-family: verdana, tahoma;">Metro Atlanta Landscape Maintenance</span>
    Header Tags....
    Code:
    <h1>Metro Atlanta Landscape Maintenance</h1>
    Stylized text gives you more control over your 'inline' page text while header tags are often pre-defined in your Website's style sheet. You would most-often use inline styles if your Website doesn't have a CSS (Cascading Style Sheet), or if you simply want to use attributes for fonts that are not pre-defined in the CSS. Whatever the case, search spiders love styled text and header tags because they have a certain "importance" to them.


    8. XML SITE MAPS -- Site maps simply provide search spiders with a literal map for them to follow on your site. XML (Extensible Markup Language) site maps can be auto-generated online and inserted into your Website. The "XML" part tells search spiders that your site map is, in fact, for your Website.

    Here a sample site where you can generate XML site maps: http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/


    9. RECIPROCAL LINKS -- Search engine companies consider reciprocal links (i.e., links back and forth between different Websites) to be "gimmicky". This is because most reciprocal links are integrated in a way that isn't "useful" (and thus, emulates a "link-farm" page). In other words, just linking back and forth between buddies in different states doesn't help either of you much. If you are going to engage in reciprocal links in a way that can be of GREAT USE, then you need to keep the following in mind:

    Find a group of buddies in similar industries across the country. Instead of just creating a page on your Website where you post your buddies business names which are linked to their Websites (as most people do), place a "useful" sentence at the bottom of each of YOUR Web pages that contain a reciprocal link within the sentence. For example, if you live and work in Atlanta, GA and your a buddy of your (from this MB, perhaps) lives and works in Chicago, IL:

    The way that is written is far more useful to search engines than...

    There is a "gotcha" here, though. Make sure that each page containing reciprocal links is accessible from main/public navigation menus and site map menus. Remember, search engines follow links!


    10. SITE SUBMISSION -- Keep in mind that search engines will automatically begin indexing your site in three to eight weeks, SOONER if you have an effective reciprocal links program engaged with other landscapers and contractors around the country.


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    Hope this helps. I know it's a lot of material, but I don't think there's anything here that you can't do on your own with a little practice.

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    Last edited: Dec 27, 2009
  2. commercialnetinc

    commercialnetinc LawnSite Member
    Posts: 25

    The W3C validation service is far from perfect, and it fails to understand the "big picture" of a Website. In fact, you would think that companies like Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Wikipedia, YouTube, and sooooo many more "credible" establishments that hire six-figure, ultra-talented coders SHOULD (and do) hammer-out error-free mark-up (HTML, XML, PHP, ASP, etc.) could survive the W3C validator....but they don't. I repeat ~ THEY FAIL.

    In fact, follow this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W3C_Markup_Validation_Service

    Notice that most of the major sites fail. Erros include stupid things like using the ampersand symbol (as in, "Lawn & Garden") in menu text as opposed to using the ampersand code (as in "Lawn &amp; Garden"). Browsers accept the traditional "plain text" way of writing an ampersand as "&", yet the W3C code validation application considers it an "error" if you don't write ampersands as "&amp;".

    Matter of fact, LawnSite.com's results are as follows: 637 Errors, 17 warning(s)

    Be careful when putting too much weight on HTML validation apps. Use them to find legit issues like unclosed tags or broken scripts, but open your Website in multiple browsers to really check your work. If your site displays properly in multiple browsers, then the nit-picky issues found by the validator app might not really be an issue.

    -Robert-

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  3. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    While it is true the validator is not perfect, I don't know if I would go so far to say "far from". One must keep in mind it is a code validator.

    Technically speaking, the validator is correct. If you can't follow the coding specifications of the doctype you are using, then don't use that doctype. For example, your point about "&" is a validator non-issue under a 4.01 doctype. In any event, improper use of ampersand can cause real issues.

    IMO, the reason most sites "fail" is because they are constructed using "design" software that falls way short of producing anything that even comes close to valid code, let alone efficient implementation of that code.

    Not really a good example, this sites code is a mess, especially given there has been little effort to follow the coding standards of the doctype being used.

    I agree that a multiple browser (all relevant major versions) test should be conducted in all cases, because one cannot expect all browsers to behave the same. That said, writing valid code eliminates most all issues with browser compatibility.
     
  4. yard_smart

    yard_smart LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 590

    Post on LawnSite LMAO This thing has a crazy page rank !
     
  5. yard_smart

    yard_smart LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 590

  6. commercialnetinc

    commercialnetinc LawnSite Member
    Posts: 25

    Kiril,

    My point is simply that validators will FREQUENTLY show "errors" where none actually exist (as far as proper HTML coding). You and I could do this all day long because you apparently "talk the talk and walk the walk", but I'm trying to avoid talking over people's heads (no offense guys). How many people using this board actually understand 4.01 vs any other standard....maybe 1/10th of one percent?

    Regardless of doctype, most developers are going to use scripts and markup that MUST be written a certain way and will STILL violate doctype validity irrespective of the basic HTML standard. If you are using scripts from, say, Dynamic Drive, then you will undoubtedly run into validation issues though there is absolutely nothing wrong with the script itself, nor is the doctype being used incorrect.

    Sorry, but you can't tell me that a validator is "technically correct" and that my choice of doctype should be changed if I don't like the validation results when the vast majority of validation errors I've are a result of how coders write JavaScript, Perl, etc. Validators validate HTML and not scripts or advanced markup, yet scripts and advanced markup use HTML in them which would look like an error in most validators.

    I think you and I are on the same page overall, though.

    _
     
  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    I agree, the vast majority of "non-issue" validation errors are in embedded scripts .... which begs the question why are they even embedded? IMO, it is far more efficient to link the scripts when possible than embed them. That said, there are ways to avoid validation errors caused by embedded scripts... if you know how to properly markup your scripts (ex. wrap the code in a CDATA section or comment it out).

    With respect to the ampersand issue, the vast majority of errors I see are in improperly written URL's.
     
  8. tinman

    tinman LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ga
    Posts: 1,348

    Regular updated content... maybe weekly tips or daily if possible.
     
  9. willscottie

    willscottie LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    Good evening,

    I am new to lawnsite but not new to owning a lawn business. I have had mine about 2 years now. I also have a website @ www.caligreenscapes.com which I made myself. I was doing residentials but obtained my License and Insurance in order to do commercial properties and apartments. I have about 3 commercial properties and would like to gain more. Besides google, what other methods can I use to get my site viewed?

    Thank You,

    William
     
  10. tinman

    tinman LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ga
    Posts: 1,348

    Put website on all ads that are offline like yp or newspapers. Connect with other businesses in your town that have websites. Facebook, twitter. blog.
     

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