Although there are many search engines out there, you should focus on the big three and leave the rest alone, to start. Google, Yahoo and Bing are the big boys on the block, with Google controlling the lion’s share of the market at 94%. Currently market analysts predict that Bing’s share of the market will increase from its current 4% to between 7 and 11% over the next two years; all at the expense of Google.
So when optimizing your site, stick to the things that the top three players Google appreciate. There’s no sense in optimizing for Ask or MSN, when you will gain very little traffic from those sites.
Make sure that both the page title and the descriptive tag is engaging and relevant to the person searching for your site. Search platforms will use this information to create that little blurb about your site, which will help prospective visitors decide whether to visit your site. The truth is that most people employing a web search will read these before deciding whether or not to visit a site; so it is not only about being number 1 in the search results.
A concise, descriptive blurb draw visitors to your site when the description associated with the search results your site matches their needs. This is one area business owners need to pay special to when setting up their web site. Web designers, or programmers rarely understand the best description to use, then again many business people do not understand the importance of this element of their web site. Although a description may be as long as you wish it is the first 160 characters that are the most important here.
Remember this each page must have a separate description, and each must focus on the reason for existence of that page and that page alone. Of course individual pages on a web site will be interlinked and use many of the same words – but you should should aim to be precise in your wording for each product or service offered – there MUST be differences for each page on your site.
The description must have excellent grammar and no typo’s in it and should include at least two of your key words or phrases. Keep your keywords in mind, but remember that each page must be created with your users in mind. Search engines may crawl for keywords but they are not the ones choosing to click on your link and here we enter into a realm of intuition and guesswork because you have to understand what is in the mind of the searcher in order to have them click on your link.
In The Mind of the Searcher
Ultimately your first priority in setting up search criteria should be your potential customers and not the search engines they may use. Yet looking into the mind of the user can be the hardest thing to do.
According to Paul Sutton “Psychologists believe that the internet has become part of our ‘trans-active memory’“. Indeed it is true that we know that we no longer have to retain knowledge in our own memory because the information is available at the touch of a button, through a search.
Getting inside the mind of the searcher is an important, yet complex subject and there are many, many theories that have been written on the subject.