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and to add to Matt's post. Some search engines analyze text inside header tags and use it to rank Web pages. They assume that anything important enough to put in larger text is also relevant to the page's content.
And you should never use the < h1 > < /h1 > tags as a replacement for the font tags. Anything you put within the tags spiders will read it as the pages topic. So if you do this < h1 >Donate< /h1 > spiders will think that page is only about 'donate' and not about what it really is.
I agree I meant to point that out but did not. Use your heading tags wisely. And yes I have seen them called header and headings. I actually prefer heading, I probably typed header as I was working on the header code for a website for some one else while I wrote that
If I might make some suggestions regarding optimization.
One of the first things a person should do is to get rid of all the tables that are used for websites. You need to have a website that is both HTML and CSS validated. You should use CSS style sheets for your design and then use "div" "div id" and "div class" tags instead of the "table" tags. One of the reasons for this is when a search engine is spidering your page, it will only read so much of the html code, using a lot of table take up a lot of unnecessary code. Create ids & classes using css, it is much cleaner.
You should also have a sitemap.xml file in you root directory for google, this tells the googlebot what to look for and where it is located. Very helpful!
If you are not familiar with CSS there are many sites that explain it or you can hire some one to redesign your site. I use nothing but valid html and css for any site I design.
For more on getting you site listed higher in the search engines.
You need to get your PageRank higher. One way to help this is to have links from other relevant sites linking into you site. (notice the emphasis on relevant! If your site is about lawn care than a link from a furniture sale website is going to do nothing for you PR.
You also want to obtain links that have a higher PR than yours. This is also helpful when you first develop your website. The higher the PR of a linking in site will get you listed much faster in google. The reason is that as an example, a site that has a PR of 6 or higher is visited by the googlebot at least daily if not every hour, as this site has updated content regularly and if you have a link on the spidered page it will follow to your page.
There are many sites on the internet to find like sites to exchange links with. Also, I you have a new site, I would suggest that paying for a link on a relevant site with a high PR is a good idea as it will get you site listed in the search engines quickly.
Thank you for that great info. I have to start reading it now.
So I am guessing that you need to name your sitemap sitemap.xml and put it in the root directory. If you don't do that (different name or directory) it simply won't be found?
Also when you say page rank, is that the rank the page shows up in search engine results or is this something else?
When he refers to page rank (commonly known as PR) it's the rank that Google assigns to your page. Basically the higher your page rank the *more important* your website is. Your page rank is based on a number of factors but the main one being inbound links (other websites that link to yours) and also the number of outbound links (other websites you link to) and the quality of both inbound and outbound links. It's another factor in the way Google lists results on search pages.
Although there has been a lot of changes with page rank and talk whether it's as important as it once was in deciding your websites ranking.
I hope all that is clear, I'm pretty tired and about to head off to bed but I just wanted to reply to that first
I'm not saying if you link to a bunch of important sites you will get a higher rank, but if you link to a bunch of low quality or spam related sites then your page rank may drop and the quality of your outbound links will go down.
On another note, this contest has been kept open a few extra days as I was gone most of Saturday and today. I will leave this open until tomorrow after noon or morning. This will give a little bit more time for late sign ups and I'm also just to tired to close the contest at the moment. But if you are considering signing up, don't wait any longer cause this will close at any given time tomorrow and most likely without notice.
Thanks for the article Ritchie, there is a lot explaining page rank in that post.
They rightly figure that webmasters cannot control which sites link to their sites, but they can control which sites they link out to. For this reason, links into a site cannot harm the site, but links from a site can be harmful if they link to penalized sites. So be careful which sites you link to. If a site has PR0, it is usually a penalty, and it would be unwise to link to it.
This is not always true. The reason is, Google only updates page rank every 3 months or so? Some thing like that, so newer website's could go a couple of months without even getting the chance to have their Page Rank updated.
Just some thing to think about, cause not all pr0 websites are bad.
So Who won?
Hope It was me! My Site needs a Makeover
I have not picked a winner yet But one will be picked later today. I'll be sure to let everyone know once the winner is chosen.