German researchers have conducted a massive study that will enable Internet marketers to gain higher search engine positioning. The research was conducted by Sistrix, a search engine optimisation company, and it looked at 10,000 different random keywords. The company analysed the top 100 Google ranked pages for each of those keywords. As a result, they have detailed information on one million web pages.

What they discovered was a series of important factors to get your pages to the top of Google for your particular keywords. Of all of the factors the most important was having your keywords in your “title tag” – the page reference that appears above the menu bar in the browser window. Importantly, though, this is not enough on its own; the title tag also needs to be in the body of the page several times. It appears that Google is checking to see if the page is actually about what the title professes it to be on.

If the domain name (the URL) is also the same or nearly the same as the keyword, then the page ranked more highly than pages without the keywords in the domain name. If the keywords were in the file path, this had no impact. So, what this means is you need separate domain names for your major keywords. Using those keywords as folder/directory names is not having any impact on search engine ranking.

Incoming links were also an important factor. The top result for each keyword had about four times as many links as the 11th result for the same word. What this means is that for each keyword you need specific links – not just links to your site, but to specific keyword rich pages. This is much easier to achieve with blogging than with general web sites, because people tend to link to specific posts.

Interestingly, page headlines (those in the H1 tags of the HTML) had no impact on a page ranking. Instead, subheadings had more of an effect. This is possibly because people have tended to stuff H1 tags with keywords and therefore Google has taken this factor out to prevent web site spamming.

How can you ensure you follow all these search engine ranking rules? Well, apart from creating separate web sites for each major keyword – something I have been advocating for the past couple of years – you should also be using blogs as a major marketing initiative as they are easier to achieve the right combination of links, title tags and so on. Equally, you can measure your site against this research by using something like Internet Business Promoter to help you ensure you are on the right track.

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