Search Engine Optimization Help . December 2013 . Vol. 19 No. 12

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10 Easy Steps to Search Engine Optimization

By Howard Berenbon

If you’re in business offering products or services, you must know, to compete, you need to have a Web presence.   If you don’t have a Website for your business, you need one now!  It’s easier than ever to get online so you should be.  Several companies offer free or low cost hosting for your business, and it doesn’t take much time to post a single page to start.  One page is enough to give your business some exposure and you could be online in just minutes.  Then when you’ve designed more pages, just add them. I use for as a host for some of my sites because they offer a lot of features for just $4.99 a month for their basic package.  If you have more than one site, you can get their deluxe hosting for just $5.99 a month, which offers unlimited Websites, unlimited bandwidth and unlimited disc space. These packages require some knowledge of Website programming using an HTML editor to compose and upload your pages to your domain space at  So, if you have somewhat  experienced, you can build a professional looking Website for a low monthly expense.  However, if you’re not experienced you’re in luck because you can still build your own Website through using a number of tools including Website Builder.  For just $4.49 a month you can build that site online (a Website designer could cost you thousands).  They offer hundreds of pre-designed templates and you’ll pick the one that fits. Using their graphics and text tools, you’ll set up your page with your logo, name, address and phone number, the services and products you provide, even add a few bells and whistles  (like video and music). Then after a few clicks of the mouse, you’ll be live online.  If you need credit card processing, they offer low monthly rates, or use your own provider. They also offer their Quick Shopping Cart®, if you don’t have one. However, I use and recommend a free shopping cart out of the UK by Mal Stewart at Mal's cart is easy to use and offers lots of features and functions.

Before you sign up for hosting, either using your own editor, or Website Builder, pick your domain name, and register with  At that time, you can pick your hosting, including a free hosting if you’d like.  I wouldn’t recommend free if they place ads on your site.  That doesn’t look professional.  If you’re experienced, pick the Basic package, if not pick Website Builder and either way you’re on your way to a Web presence.

Now the work begins, because once up and running you’ll need to concentrate on search engine optimization for your site so that people can find you when they search for your products or services on the engines, though is really the engine we’re interested in.

10 Steps to Search Engine Optimization

1. Domain Name Selection

When choosing your domain name, try to pick a name that has at least one key word that describes your product or services. It can help if someone is searching for a product if the key word is in the domain name.  So, if you sell pet supplies, or have a pet shop, you’d want to get the word “pet” in your domain name.  This could be difficult to do since many of the common domain names are already registered.  But, if you’re a little creative, you could get the key words.  So, for a pet shop, an idea name would be “” but that name is already taken.  So, the next best name could be “” or “bet-shop-boston” if your store is in Boston, or “one-pet-shop-shop” or “” You may have to get a little creative to secure the domain name.  Also, try to keep the name short.  It makes it easier for a user to type it in, or remember.

2. Page Title

The title of your home page may be the most important text you can enter, because the engines use the title to index your page.  Actually, you’ll want to modify, or add, a Title to all your pages.  But, first we’ll start with your home page.  The title should describe your products or services in one short sentence using key words that someone would search to find you.  It’s inserted in the

HTML page header in this format:

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" /> <title>Your company key word description</title>

3. Meta Page Description

The description is made up of one or two short sentences describing what’s in the page:
<meta name="description" content="A few short sentences of what’s in your page with key words."/>

4. Headline (<h1> format)

This should duplicate the sentence in your meta description.

5. Descriptive Text

The next most important information you want on your page is a paragraph or two at the top (below your top banner or logo) that describes what you sell or your services, like a mission statement.  This should complement the meta description in the HTML header, but with more details and include the important key words you’ll want people to find you when searching.

6. Sub Headline (<h2> format)

You’ll want a sub-headline in your page that describes what’ s in your next paragraph. It may be an in depth description of your products or services. But before you enter the paragraph, use a sub-head (<h2>).  The engines want to see headlines and sub-heads.

7. Graphics Descriptions

Any photos or graphics on your page should have a description, usually with your product or service name, which is entered when you upload any graphics. It’s entered for each graphic uploaded.  The HTML format looks like:

<img src="logo.jpg" width="1050" height="129" alt="product or service description" />
Entering the alt description is important because he engines can’t know what the photo represents, so they look for the alt tag.

8. Navigation Buttons

The home page of your site should have navigation buttons that link to your other pages off your home page.  The engines like to follow these links so they can index other pages on your site.  It’s very important to add navigation buttons you’re your home page, and all pages on your site.

9. Key Word Density and Variation

When adding descriptive text to your pages the engines expect you to repeat your key words at least 3 or 4 times in per page, per topic, but no more. Repeating your key words more than 4 times per page can penalize your site. Also you should vary the key words for each topic. In the case of key words at The Water Exchange, the key word “fluoride water filters” is varied within the text to “water fluoridation, removing fluorine, fluoridated water," etc.

10. Links and Articles

One of the most important requirements for getting to recognize your site and rank it high is to enter links on your site to important sites in your field, and get as links back to your site from sites in your industry. The more links back to your site, the higher Google will rank you.  This is not an easy task.  It may be difficult to get quality sites with high PR ranking to link to you.  But, if you want people to find you nationally, especially if you are one of tens of thousands of sites in that industry, you’ll need those links back to have any search engine positioning. If your business is just local, you may find good search engine positioning even if don’t have a lot of links back.  That’s where the <title> and <meta name=”description”content=”content”/> tags set up correctly can make the difference between a page one Google listing or page twenty.

Articles you write and publish covering your industry are also important. The engines want to see informative content on your site. And articles can generate links from other sites. If you're lucky enough to get some of your articles published on reputable sites related to your industry, that's also helpful. Don't forget to include a link back to your site within the article.

A few examples of (my) sites correctly optimized for the search engines:

The Water Exchange

Fluoride Water Filters

Casino Detroit Magazine

Computer Systems Repair

If you're interested in domain registration and hosting services at, click to visit. They offer outstanding Internet tools and services at discount pricing.

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