Making it on the Net ( Page Ranking )

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In my last article, I mentioned the phrase Search Engine Optimisation. And I mentioned that this wasn't a technical word. Yes, its a marketing term. And if you are going to succeed on the Net, then you have to get a grip of what this phrase means, and how it can change your (online) life! I also talked about how the likes of Google are not really Search companies, but marketing companies.

So the question is, how do you enhance your search engine optimisation? To provide an answer, I shall dig back into my history. One of the most biggest hurdles that I consider to have scaled was passing my matriculation exams to go to university (I am sure a lot of readers would agree with me. I see you smiling with some sense of nostalgia!).

Well, there something I was told about passing those exams [for the record, I only passed on second attempt], and every other exam that you have to take. The saying goes something like this (please excuse the language): Na person wey read book serious, but na person wey pass exam na him no book! Translated, this statement means that your passing any exam is not really an indication of how brilliant you are, but more of an indication of how well you were able to pass that exam.

I guess this is the reason some schools place more emphasis on your curricular activities than passing exams. And how does this story affect the price of fish? To put into context: your ability to get in front of the millions (sometime billions) of other pages that are available on the Net, doesn't have a lot to do with how fancy looking your website is. It has more to do with how well you do in the Search Engine Optimisation matriculation exam. And what are the scores that are used to determine the leaders in this field?

Here are few: - Tags and keywords: Again, let's go back to Google. And do that search for the word 'Marketing'. You will find that Wikipedia's page on Marketing beat everyone to the pack. Now let's do a little magic: right-click on this Wikipedia Page, and click on 'View Page Source'. A very ugly looking page should appear. Do a search (that's CTRL F for those of you using Windows) for the word 'Marketing'. You will see a line that looks like this: <meta name="keywords" content="Marketing,Articles needing additional references from February 2008,Cleanup from May 2008,Articles with unsourced statements since October 2008,Special:Search/Marketing,2006,Account-based Marketing,Advertising,Advertising Research,Affiliate marketing,Amazon.com" />

If you ask a Website expert, they would explain this statement as a Meta Tag. What this means is simply that Wikipedia would like people who search for the word 'Marketing' to see this page on the Google search results. So you should start asking yourself: what keywords would my potential customers be looking for? These are the words that should be placed in your 'meta tags'. The hard truth, however, is that you are not the only one who is thinking of these words. Many are also putting these words in their meta tags.

So how does Google separate the boys from the men? - Pagerank: it all boils to understanding Google's criteria for determine a page's importance. And Google's term for determining a webpage's importance is called Pagerank. To understand Pagerank better you may have to download Google's Toolbar. After installing it, you would see the Pagerank indicator somewhere near the 'Bookmarks' indicator on the Google Toolbar. Google measures the number of high quality web pages that link to yours. And this gives your web pagerank a score from Zero to Ten.

So, if you don't anything from this article, get this: One of the most effective methods of marketing your page on the Internet is in your to get other sites (good ones at that!) to link to yours! In the part of the world I come from, we have a saying for this: Na togetherness na him make rice plenty for pot.... meaning 'The more the merrier!'. Another important Google rule for pageranking is that your rank is downgraded if Google finds out that you paid for the in-bound link from some other site to yours. So what Google is saying is: Get as many free referrals as possible, and we'll reward on the Search Engine League table! - Your Keywords: its one thing to have inbound links to your site.

The biggest mistake most people make when they setup such links with their web partners is the choice of words they use. To illustrate: assuming you have setup an auto-mechanic workshop website. Lets say that you have a friend who sells spare parts. And you have both agreed to place inbound links to each other's site. I'll take a guess at what you would give him as your inbound link.

I am sure it would read something like: Click here to see XYZ Auto Mechanic. And the hyperlink would be on the phrase 'Click here'. Now go back to Google and do a search for the phrase 'Click here'. The number one item is the Adobe reader download page. I am sure I dont need to explain why, but for those who still havent gotten it, the reason why the Adobe reader is the number one page for search engine results for 'Click Here' is that the phrase 'Click Here' is what everyone around the world uses when they want to refer you to download the Adobe Reader so that you can download a PDF on their site (Did I hear you say 'Ah Ah!'?).

So, instead of competing with Adobe Reader for the phrase 'Click Here', why dont you change your inbound link to read' Check out the best Auto Mechanic here (with the hyperlink on the phrase auto mechanic)? I guarantee you, that this would go a long way to improving your ratings on the Search Engine League table. Now that you have people coming to your site, what do you do to covert them to customers? Coming soon to a Web page near you! Watch out!

P.S. Do go ahead and share this page (and previous articles on the right hand side of this page) with those you care about. And your feedback is most useful. Feel Free to ask me any question. And I’ll do my best to get you the answers.

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