Site Optimization > Onpage Optimization
Successful websites are a balance. The site must be appealing to the eye, contain pertinent information to the subject of interest, easy navigation, tools to generate leads, and most importantly the right tools to rank well in the search engines.
On-page Optimization is an essential element of your website. When choosing a website you want to make sure it contains the proper characteristics to rank well in the search engines. Poor programming, improper layouts, over use of flash programming, or I-frames can kill your ranking in the search engines as well as limit the amount of keywords that you come up for in the search engines. To have a successful website it is important that when a search engine “spider” comes to your website, it is able to recognize the content contained within your web pages.
When using the RapidListings system, you can be confident that your website is created in proper layout and programming style that will be conducive to your search engine ranking. There are over hundred different variables that search engines use to help determine the relevance and importance of a website to different search terms. You want to be sure that you have all the elements of your website working for you to get the best ranking possible. Just a few of the factors involved in this ranking process are Website Content, Meta-Tags, and Web Page Structure.
A good way to determine how much search engines are actually recording when they come to your website is through the following method.
Place your mouse at the top right corner of your real estate website and hold down you left mouse button. Slowly drag your mouse diagonally across your website so that areas highlight. Does each letter highlight on your site individually or do “blocks highlight with the text image with in them”. A good example of the difference between text, text images, and text contained within flash is the following experiment
In this example we have 3 versions of the same word, the top example is recognizable by the search engines and the other 2 are just recorded as image files and are of no benefit to the search engines.
The second example is an image or picture of text. If you try to highlight the individual letters you will notice that the whole “image” lights up. That is because it is a picture of the words “INDEX ME” and search engines only recognize it as a picture and not words.
The bottom example is an example of Flash. The words “INDEX ME” where written in a Flash program. When you left click and drag across the words to try to highlight the individual letters you will see the whole Flash Image light up. Again, with this example search engine spiders cannot read the text it simply sees a Flash Image. This is the reason Flash sites or sites with a lot of flash components have a harder time ranking in the search engines.
On the first example look at the text- “INDEX ME”. When you hold your left mouse button down and drag across it you will see the individual letters light up one by one. Search engines CAN recognize and read this example.
Using this method on your website can give you an accurate idea just how much information is being indexed when a search engine spider comes to your page.
Not as relied on as heavily as they used to be, Meta-Tags are still an important part of your on-page optimization. This background programming allows web administrators place “tags” to help tell search engines what the webpage is about. Some search engines rely heavily upon these tags, and some search engines place very little bearing of what is placed in the Meta-Tags. Like it was said before, It is important that you have all the elements of your website working for you. RapidListings actually gives you complete control of what you want these tags to say and helps you out by pre-filling these tags with information pertinent to your local area. RapidListing also provides valuable tips and hints what to place into these tags if you do choose to change them to focus in on a particular search phrase. Click here for more information on the Meta-Wizard.
Web Page Structure
The Layout of a website has a lot to do with how well it ranks in the search engine. Search engines programs have to make determinations of what a website is about. It does this by analyzing the content that was collected from the website. A higher importance on placed on different words depending on where they are positioned on the page, their font sizes, boldness, whether the text is linked, and other factors. Typically the first few words on the page and the first few words in each section of the website are considered to be “more important” than the rest of the text on the site. You must ask yourself when analyzing web providers- What is the first Text on the page? Is the Website title an image? Is my home page a flash intro?
Navigational structure is an important aspect of your website as well. Did you know search engines also use links to determine what the pages of a website are about as well? Each Navigational button is a “link” to another webpage. Search engine take into account what text is attached to the link. If your navigational button is written in text format and it links to your “buyer resources” page, then search engines believe that that page is about “buyer resources”. Many web design companies like to use images for their navigation or Java Script, though sometimes visually appealing, it can actually be detrimental to the rank of your website. Site Maps are a good way to offset design downfalls such as these, but we believe every design element should work to your advantage.