WEB WATCH: Giving your Web page a search lead

In his last article, GOBALA KRISHNAN discussed the two schools of search engine optimisation — White Hat and Black Hat. Now he offers tips on optimising your Web page for search engines

THERE’S a difference between a Web page and a Web site. A Web page is basically any single page that you can access using a Web browser, and is part of other pages that form a larger Web site. In terms of SEO, or search engine optimisation, a Web page and a Web site are two different things. You can get a Web page ranked highly in Google, yet receive low rankings for the Web site as a whole, and vice versa.

Creating Web pages There are a few ways to create a Web page. The oldest method, still used today, is to manually create a page from HTML. Although this is the most time-consuming, it allows you more flexibility, especially if you need different pages to look different and perform different tasks. To manually create Web pages, you can use HTML tools such as Adobe Dreaweaver or Coffee Cup HTML editor.

But most of us will opt to use a CMS, or content management system. BlogSpot and WordPress are two examples. All you need to do here is to enter the content of the Web page. The actual coding and page layout is done by the CMS.

Optimisation with CMS Assuming that most of us are using some kind of CMS to create our Web sites, let’s focus instead on how to create an optimised Web page based on the content we create on our blogs and Web sites. There are four important aspects to creating a page that ranks highly in search engines:

1. The right keyword: Without getting too technical, keywords are basically what you type into Google when you’re searching for something. If you want your blog post to show up when someone types in “Kuala Lumpur budget hotels”, then this is the keyword you want to target for the particular post.

2. The title of your blog post: Now that you know the keyword you want to target, make sure you use that keyword in the title of your page or blog post, preferably in the beginning. This tells Google that your page is related to the keyword, and they are more likely to show it to users searching for that term.

3. The content of your post: Having your keyword in the title alone, in most cases, is not enough. You should also enter the keyword randomly in your content. Don’t overdo it, though — three or four insertions of the keyword in a natural way along with the rest of the content should do.

4. Links to the page within your site: Now that the title and content of your page have the keyword you’re targeting, make sure that you link it to the page with the same keyword from within your Web site. If you’re using WordPress or BlogSpot, make sure that you have an archives page where you list links to all your Web pages. Myths Although most people think that getting high search engine rankings is difficult, this is not quite true. You just need to manage your expectations when trying to do SEO.

Some keywords are much easier to optimise, others much more difficult, simply because of the sheer amount of Web pages on the Internet that also target the same keywords. For example, if you target to rank No. 1 on Google for your name, that’s pretty easy to do if your name is not too common. But if you’re trying to rank for general keywords such as “hotel” or “herbal medicine”, you’ll find that there are tens of thousands of Web pages competing for the same terms. Some of these Web sites may have been around for ages, have much better content than yours, or have a team of SEO professionals implementing what I just taught you.

SEO is easy and fun if you get your expectations right and target to get ranked for easier keywords. Over time, when you get ranked for hundreds of these “long-tail” keywords, you should end up with a decent amount of traffic to your Web sites and blogs. The writer is a Web marketing expert, author and marketing coach-Nst

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