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Search Engine Optimization

Optimizing Your Web Page

External search engines such as Yahoo, Hotbot and Lycos index and rank Web pages differently in their databases compared to Loyola's internal search engine. These rules include ranking pages according to keyword placement, frequency of keyword use, and quality of hyperlinks inserted into a Web page.

If your goal is to rank higher in search results, it may be necessary to optimize and modify your existing Web page.




Optimizing Your Web Page

Typically your index file (index.htm, index.html, or index.shtml) should be modified for search engines. Optimization on secondary or splash pages containing graphics and minimal text may actually lower your ranking level.

The list below provides a brief overview on improving your Web page's chances in search engines rankings (from highest to lowest priority):
  1. Decide on an appropriate set of keywords for your page
    • Consider what keywords your target audience is most likely to enter in a search engine query to draw up your Website listing.
    • Evaluate your keywords by trying them out on a search engine. The number, quality and contents of the Websites should be similar to your site's theme.
  2. Add keywords to the tags <p>The <TITLE> tag is given the highest priority for ranking purposes which search engines analyze. The format should follow:</p><p><TITLE> keyword phrase - etc, etc.

    NOTE: Adding keywords closest to the opening title tag gives it higher ranking priority.

  3. Add keywords to the tags

    Utilize the tag, between your tags using the 'description' and 'keywords' attributes.

    • Keywords should have the format:

    • Descriptions should be kept under 100 words and have the format:

    • The meta tag attribute "name" can be used to alert random visits by search engine spiders and robots:

    NOTE: Adding keywords closest to the top gives it higher search engine priority.

  4. Add keywords to your headline

    Headlines generally use the

    to

    tags to increase font size and are usually the first words your audience sees in your Web document. For example:

    "Study Abroad - Rome Center"

  5. Add keywords to the first 25 words of your body content

    Place keywords within the body of your Web page. The higher they are to the top of the page, the greater the ranking weight it will receive.

  6. Place OR tags around keywords

    Use special font decoration tags such as and . Spiders and robots search for keywords between these font tags.For example:

    Welcome to Rome Center, a Study Abroad Program.
    This program is......

  7. Add hyperlinks similar to the theme of your Website
  8. Add keywords to your alt tags

    An attribute within your IMG tag is the ALT tag is a prime spot to add keywords.

    keyphrase

  9. Add keywords near the end of your Web page

    Search engines such as Lycos give keywords at the end of a Web document additional consideration for ranking purposes.

    As an alternative, add one or two keyword phrases within invisible comment tags before your closing tag. For example :

  10. Name your file similar to your keywords (optional)

    Web pages can be optimized when naming your document after your keyword. For example, if your keyword phrase is "study abroad italy" you might rename your "index.html" file to "study_abroad_italy.html"

  11. Keep keyword density low

    Repeat keyword phrases only 1-2 times in the title tag and keep keyword weight in the body 5-15%. For example, 5 keywords out of a 100-word document is 5%.

    Known as "spamming", search engines penalize sites that saturate their content with a high frequency of the same keywords and may result in lower ranking placement or removal of your site from their database.


Search Engine Registration

After opimizating your Web page, you can submit it manually to your preferred search engines.

Most external search engines offer a free submittal service with indexing results varying between 2 weeks to 7 months. Many engines reserve a paid option for faster indexing.

Search engine spiders, robots or crawlers are programs that visit and return information about your site to their database for automated analysis. The above optimization tips are designed for this indexing method.

Human editors will vote on, rank or index your page manually. This typically requires you to fill out a lengthy online form about your Web page. In this case, optimization through thoughtful and detailed explanation of your Website as well as quality content will raise your rankings. Words used within optimized title and meta tag descriptions can also be analyzed by editors for search engine registration.

A current trend is to do a combination of both robot and manually driven analysis. A successful Website should employ both optimization methods.

Here are external search engine registration links to get started:

Optimization Checklist

The following is a post-optimization checklist for maintaining and improving your Website's search engine rankings:

__ Check your site's current visibility

__ Understand why your page did not rank as well:

__ Identify and correct areas

__ Resubmit your site:

__ Keep accurate records: