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Search Engine Positioning for the Weary

Do you want to get your site from page five to page one in Google? Here are a few tips to boost you on your way.

1. Clean Up Your HTML.

Keep a beady eye on Dreamweaver and avoid CMS software.

What, Dreamweaver, beloved program of pro webmasters everywhere?


Dreamweaver adds lots of extra blank space to HTML code, and breaks lines. This is especially irritating in meta tags. Use EditPad’s ‘Find and Replace’ function to get rid of newlines and double blank spaces in your pages.

Content Management Systems are a great time saver. An amateur can set up a professional-looking site in a few hours. The problem is they contain lots of code that’s irrelevant to search engines. The top of a CMS page may contain only a few words relevant to its subject matter.

Then there’s the duplicate content problem.

Blogs have duplicate copies of their own content; sometimes exact, sometimes excerpts.
Thousands of people are using the same CMS as you.
A search engine spider sees the same header, sidebar and footer content in every page in your site.
Result? Your page is down the SERPs for any competitive keyword. Assuming it’s indexed at all.

These programs are written by geeks. Their primary aim is to eliminate code errors and add features. Your marketing comes a very poor second. They’re also posting security updates every few months. More hassle. For you.

Drastic solution:

1. Type your documents in a text editor like Editpad, then
2. Use a Text to HTML converter, then
3. (Use Dreamweaver to add formatting, then)
4. Use a index generator to make a HTML list of those pages, then
5. FTP them to your web site.


Search engine spiders get to the ‘meat’ of your page immediately;
You have more control over how the page looks;
You have more control over what an SE ‘bot ‘sees’;
You’re not relying on a MySQL database to maintain your site;
Hackers won’t be able to deface your site easily.
A clever webmaster would look into Conditional Server Side Includes. You can use them to ‘program’ your web pages, while still presenting clean HTML to search engine ‘bots.

And as for Microsoft FrontPage, I wish all my competitors were using it.

2. Get Lots of Links to Your Site.

Submit articles to article websites;
Pay freelancers to make software for you, and give it away free;
Submit to the top directories, like Yahoo and DMOZ, but don’t spend much time or monëy. Only half a dozen are worth a damn for SEO;
Post in popular forums and blogs, if they will let you use straight hyperlinks in your signature;
Be controversial – assault a few sacred cows;
Do a press release, and think beforehand about how you can make it interesting to journalists;
Make a better, faster, cheaper version of a popular product.
That should get you a few decent links. With millíons of cheapo, ‘me too’, linkless sites out there, yours will stand out like a snowdrop on a dungheap.

3. Offer Something People Really Want.

You like fuschia leg warmers. You think other people do too. You make a website selling them.

Cue sad disillusion.

People want monëy, sëx, friendship, human contact, cars, drugs, health and happiness. They know what they want (not need, want). You’ve got to figure out a better way to satisfy that want, for a fat net profit.

Simple, ain’t it?

Actually, yes it is.

Save time. Pick a very profitable, popular industry. Think up a way to give people a better product. Or faster. Or cheaper. Or all three! Research costs little. Thinking costs nothing.

Or just go off half-cocked. Employ a cheap, angry webmaster. Half-finish the site for a product you’re not 100% sure there’s a demand for. Then sit back and wait for traffic.

Then give up, go down to the pub and gripe to your pals: “The internet’s sh*t, innit?”.

Funny thing about offering a popular good with a new twist; you get links without cadging them.

4. Be First With a New, Popular Good (or a smarter second).

MySpace wasn’t the first social networking site, but they did it better. They designed it to be viral. Members could compete to get ‘friends’, and everyone wants new friends, right? Users could put anything they wanted online, even if it looked cr*ppy. Censorship was minimal. Result: Huge popularity, without needing the search engines.

Not easily done, but again, research costs little. Thinking costs nothing.

Stop the daily slog. Go for a walk. Have a long bath. Play a game of street-hockey. And see what pops into your head.

If you feel good about it the next day, it may be a good idea. Test it before committing to it. If it still makes you excited a month later, you may be onto a winner.

If complete strangers start feeling the same, you definitely are!

About The Author
T. O’ Donnell is a credít broker and curmudgeon living in London, UK.


Camilla Todd
Camilla Todd is Head of Digital Marketing at WNW Digital and manages Search Engine Optimisation, PPC, Social Media campaigns and Brand Awareness for WNW Digital SEO clients. You can follow her on Twitter @camilla_wnw, email her at or phone on 01392 349580