Here is my step by step process of building a killer page for high search engine placement and ranking. Each step of building the killer page is explain in detail elsewhere among these pages, so this is going to read closer to instructions than advice. For an example, I’m going to use this very page as I build it.

    Start with five or so keywords that the page is about. I’m going to use:

    page design,
    meta tags,

    Lets go to the content. I want to work in the five keywords as
    much as possible. I use them as a guide to the content, and modify
    them as the content leads me back to the keywords. Building the
    content and the web page become a
    reciprocal thing. The meta keywords help me focus the web page content
    while the page content helps me refine and redefine the meta keywords.

    After the content is set, I choose a good title. In this case, I’m going
    to pick “Designing a High Search Engine Rankings Page”. That may not be
    perfect, and it will need some refining, but its a good start.

    Next, I go for the meta description:

    “Designing a web page for high search engine rankings. An easy to follow
    step-by-step page building guide to give your page high placement. This
    can lead … ”

    Again, not perfect, but a good start.

    Next: the meta keywords. First, I take and I index the page. I strip down
    the page itself into nothing but a series of words. Then I sort the
    words alphabetically to give me a list of the words on the page. I strip
    out all the fluff words (a’s,the’s, is, etc). What I’m left with, is a
    list of 50 or so critical words that appear on this page (at this point).

    I again stare at the list and pull out the bigger fluff words (become,
    your, good, going). I make sure that I don’t pull out anything that may
    “bond” with another word or phrase (High search engine placement – so I
    keep the “High”).

    Next, I look at the list and kick out almost everything that doesn’t relate
    to this page (making sure to keep the “bonded” words).

    At this point of keyword development (above this line), the following
    would be my starter keywords:

    advice, alphabetically, building, case, content, description, design,
    designing, engine, example, explain, help, high, instructions, keywords
    meta, page, pages, pick, placement, possible, process, guide, ranking
    rankings, reciprocal, refine, refining, search, step, strip, tags, title
    words, web page

    From a count of each word, I can see that I’ve not used my original
    keywords nearly enough. Rankings is only used once, meta tags only
    used twice, and placement is only used to describe it as a keyword.
    This will not do – so, by the time you read this, I’ve probably already
    gone back through the above content and worked in my keywords to a
    better degree. It is critical that the keywords you want to be your
    “biggies” get reinforced for that high search engine ranking.

    I try to keep my initial build of keywords under 250 characters. I reserve
    the remaining space for the critical followup work to come.

    Next, I html’ize the page and get it ready to put out to the world. That includes
    validating my html (I use WebLint), spell checking, and giving it
    a good proofing from the browser. Of course, I add in a logging line
    to log all page hits.

    Now the fun begins, I submit it to all the major search engines and kick
    back and wait for you to show up at this page (HI THERE! Welcome to my
    page – glad you found it, I bet it was from a search engine! )

    Ok Ok, you’ve looked through my site, you’ve studied everything, I guess
    it is time I give you a major tip for your page. Here comes the one
    and ONLY trick to high search engine placement. I call it
    Retro Keyword Design.

    Watch your Referring Links. I use some logging software (AXS) that tracks
    the referring URL. I watch those referring urls like a hawk. Once a week,
    I strip down the referring urls into nothing but the search engine
    referrals. I rip out the keywords people used to find my page. I look for
    combinations of words that people are using and slowly start to refine and
    rebuild my meta keyword tag. That *is* the trick folks, refining your keywords
    AFTER the page has been published based on the referrals, NOT before it has
    been indexed. Its like letting the search engine TELL YOU what it wants to
    be fed for keywords.

    For example, a referral from Infoseek showed a search for “search engine
    position tips”. I look at the referral for the words I don’t have in my
    tag (this example it would be “tips”). I would add tips into my meta tag. I
    will continue to do this process until I use up my limit of 744 chars.

    If you have really good logging software, some programs can actually strip
    down the referring links and count the words used from the referral line.
    I do the same thing semi-manually. What it gives me, is a total count of
    the referring search words used to find my page. I put those words near
    the front of my meta keyword tag. What I accomplish is finding the most
    often searched for keywords and then compliment it with the secondary
    keywords. Searches on the big keywords pick up the “fluff” third and forth
    keywords that people use in a search – you cover all the basis.

    How and why it works:

    Everyone is going to find your page based on one or
    two keywords but everyone is searching with three or four keywords. The
    third or fourth keyword they type in, is one of the true “pull words” that
    is going to get people to your site. Once you start to find the pull
    words, your site will begin to show up in more and more search results
    across multiple wide ranging searches that you would never imagine. It
    also insulates you from people stealing your keywords because your only
    going to show up under those searches where you’ve reinforced your keywords
    to make your site relevant. So if Joe User steals your keywords, he is not
    going to find himself next to you in the search engine results (he just
    wont have the relevancy you have).

    I think it is absolutely hilarious to listen to people talk about being
    first on the search engines under one keyword. I’d rather be
    found 20’th under 10 various keywords than first under one keyword. The
    goal is not getting high placement for one word (that will never last), the
    goal is getting high placement under dozens of keywords and phrases.

    Finally, I have theory that I’ve been unable to prove or disprove. The
    theory states that your site gets a higher ranking based on the number
    of times your site is returned in various searches
    . I think some of
    them (Google,Yahoo and Altavista) score the number of times your site
    shows up in results. I don’t know how to prove that theory, but I’ve seen
    this effect on several different sites – its as if success is breeding
    success. Once you start to turn up across multiple phrases there is a
    magic flash point where your rankings congeal, and the sky is the

    Post notes:

  • I’ve refined my keywords on this page about twenty times in six months.
  • I’ve just read a story that indicates that one major search engine is
    going to start including “result hits” in its algorithm. Meaning, your going
    to get a higher ranking based upon the number of times your site is returned
    in results