How to boost traffic to your Web site

Want to increase your odds of people finding your Web site on the Internet?

Well then, you’d better optimize your site so it ranks high in the listings presented by top search engines such as Google and Yahoo, say experts.

This “search engine optimization” is critical, considering that more than 150 million people in the United States regularly use search engines to look up information online, according to Tim McAtee of Warren, R.I.-based MarketingSherpa. Of those users, 60 percent to 70 percent look only at the first page of results, he says.

“The goal of search engine optimization is to get your site as high in the search rankings as you can,” explains Julie Gross Gelfand of Harrison Leifer DiMarco, a Rockville Centre, N.Y., marketing and public relations firm that assists companies with optimization. “The ones on the first page get the most traffic.”

So how do you propel your Web site toward the top of the heap?

It certainly isn’t easy, but it is doable, experts say.

First you need to understand how search engines work. Search engines use spiders, crawlers and robots to find Web sites, explains Andrew Hazen of Prime Visibility in Melville, N.Y., which specializes in search engine optimization.

“Using complex algorithms, these spiders, crawlers and robots are able to locate a page on a site and then index its content in their database,” says Hazen, author of “Plain & Simple: Search Engine Optimization” (O-DASH Publications).

The indexing process allows search engines to then pull up a site in the results when a query is typed, he explains in his book, adding that the more relevant the content is to the query, the higher the ranking will be.That’s why picking the right keywords for your content and HTML code is so critical. You need to place keywords in specific areas that attract search engine spiders, such as your URL or page name, title tags, body content and clickable links, Hazen sats. This can become confusing, so you may want to enlist the help of an expert.

The trick is to pick keywords that are relevant to your audience.

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