Designing a High Search Engine Rankings Page


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