Do-It-Yourself – 30 Ways to Improve Your Visibility Among Search Engines for Adventure & Eco-Tourism

Optimize Site Content and Keep it Fresh

  • All pages should include a reasonable amount of content. May experts suggest 255 words. If a page is too short, consider merging it with another page. Pages that are too long and require considerable scrolling can be broken down into several pages.
  • Replace vague copy with more specific copy.
  • Localize content. If you are not marketing to the entire world, include geographic keywords and locations to reach your target area.
  • Add page links in copy when appropriate. Replace vague links with descriptive, keyword rich links. The link “XYZ Company” should be replaced with “Learn more about web design and marketing solutions for the outdoor adventure industry by XYZ Company”
  • Organize your content using titles and subtitles, referred to as headers. Using H1 to identify the topic of each page and H2-H? to identify subtopics increases visibility and helps visitors locate the content they are seeking. Where appropriate use keywords and descriptors in heading tags. For example, replace “About Us” with “About XYZ. – Web Marketer”
  • Bolden and italicize important content to increase visibility.
  • Display text as text and not images.
  • Keep your site fresh. Regularly add new content. This is easily done by including press releases, news articles pertinent to your site, or adding media features like calendars of events and photo galleries.
  • To easily add keywords to a page and to increase site usability, include a “call to action” at the bottom of each page. At the bottom of this page, we might add:
    • “Please remember, Search Engine Optimization is an ongoing process. No one can guarantee top search engine placement, but by following effective design standards, web operators can improve their chances to be listed higher on major search engines and improve visitor usability.

      If you are interested in learning more about Search Engine Optimization or web design by XYZ Company or would like one of our web design professionals to review your site and suggest improvements, please contact XYZ Company. at XYZ.com. ”

Add Value on the Back End by Making Minor Changes

  • Choose a domain name that is short, unique and memorable. Consider choosing a name that includes one or two keywords rather than the name of your company. For example, search-engine-optimization-primer.com. Using keywords can give a slight boost.
  • Rename files and folders to be short and include one or two keywords. Separate multiple words with hyphens.
  • Page titles should include keywords and be reasonable in length. Avoid comma separated lists of keywords. Page titles are displayed in the top bar of the browser window and are displayed by many search engines in the results.
  • Keyword meta tags should be short. Focus on the specifics of the page and avoid including words that are not included in the content of the page. Avoid using the same word more than three times in the list. Commas are not necessary between words. Order words so that multiple keyword patterns are obvious.
  • The description meta tag requires special attention as it is displayed in many search engine results. Keep the description to less than 225 characters and avoid comma separated lists of keywords. The description should be descriptive and convey the value of the content on the page.
  • Downloadable files including Excel Sheets, Word Documents, and PDF’s are indexed by most search engines. For each document listed on your site, add a title, keywords, and description to help the search engine index the file more accurately. In most programs, click on File > Properties.

Site Navigation: Create a Network of Links that Add Value and Increase Usability and Reap the Rewards.

  • Marketing pages (and in our opinion, all pages) should be within three links of the homepage. We recommend providing multiple paths to get to content.
  • Flash-buttons, image-based buttons, and complicated Javascript-based navigation may hide links from search engines. Where possible, include navigation menus that are text-based and descriptive.
  • Use a link-checker to verify that links are valid. Sites with numerous broken links may not be indexed completely by search engines.
  • Include a link to a site map on all pages of your site. The site map should include a link to each page on the site. Links should be descriptive using keywords or phrases.

Link Your Way to Better Searchability

  • Add off-site links if they will be useful to your visitors. Avoid building sites with links to low-quality or free link exchange farms. Links should build value for your client.
  • Request link exchanges with business partners, clients, or trade organizations. Request how sites should link to you. Use descriptive links that convey the value of your site, service, or product.
  • Avoid pages with too many links. Search engines only follow so many links per page. Place high priority links higher on the page.

Make Certain Your Site is Accessible

  • Use tables conservatively. Although content may be logically ordered in the browser, look at the code as the search engine would. It should still make sense.
  • Include alternatives for flash movies and noscript content for javascript. Not all viewers allow flash and javascript and such code can hide content or links from search engines.
  • Search engines cannot see images. Let them know what the image is about by including ALT tags with short descriptive phrases for each image. Avoid using long lists of key words.
  • Use HTML validation tools and remove buggy code and eliminate validation errors. For free tools, goto http://validator.w3.org/.
  • Do not use splash pages. Homepages should be content rich and link friendly. Homepages that consist of a single image with the world enter, flash movies, or that provide little content can reduce visibility. Your homepage should inform visitors (and search engines) of the value of your site.
  • Keep load times to a minimum. Make certain that code and media are optimized. Remove and reuse repeating code using Server Side Includes.

Don’t Get Blacklisted: Things to Avoid when Trying to Gain Searchability

  • Do not try to trick or spam search engines. Hiding long lists of keywords or creating mirror sites will provide little to no benefit and may cause violations that block your site from being listed.
  • Always act in your visitors’ best interest. Content that provides a value to the customer is worth including. Avoid including content, links, or media that do not directly add value.