Most SL customers host websites on our services, and all websites benefit from high search engine rankings. The "old method" of search engine optimization doesn't really work anymore. Back in the days before Google, the best way to get to the top of the search engine rankings was to follow four easy steps:
However, only #3 is a valid tactic in this new, Google-driven world. Let's analyze them one by one.
Diversifying your IP space. Old search engines gave more credence to sites located in "geographically diverse" areas, where "geographically diverse" was determined by class C addresses. Now, however, with the advent of huge centralized data centers, search engine algorithms recognize that a site with 15 servers in the same datacenter may be just as effective as 15 separate cities. Of course, it's still a good idea to buy servers in, say, Dallas, Seattle, and Washington DC.
Meta tags. Google and other major search engines don't really look at meta tags anymore for keywords. They still will use the meta tag for language, encoding, and summary data. However, the processing power of search engines has been increasing exponentially in the last few years, which means they're capable of analyzing the actual content of the page rather than relying on meta tags. If you still have meta tags, you can keep them, but they're only really useful for language and summary information.
Document body keywords. This is an area where it still matters. As previously mentioned, search engines now are capable of searching the entire page. In the past, it was only a few search engines that indexed actual page content, and even then it may have been a simple count of how often your meta keywords match page contents. Now, however, Google stores local copies of every page they index (to a certain extent) and uses the entire page contents for search and cached viewing.
Dummy data. When search engines were younger, they could be fooled very easily by simply including the top 1,000 popular search terms in your meta tags and as invisible text inside your document body. I never understood it personally, but the thinking was that if you had enough references to Britney Spears on your page, you would hijack enough people that one of them would forget what he was originally looking for and buy your product instead. Though I guess that's how spam works now, isn't it?
So what can you do right now to improve your search engine placement? There are a few easy things to do, broken into the following categories:
So all you have to do to improve your search engine rank is to have dynamic, frequently changing content about a single, concise topic on an easily accessible page that is frequently linked to by other pages. Wikipedia is a perfect example of search engine optimization in action. Each page is titled with the topic it discusses; every image has a title attribute and links out to a full description of the article; each link has a title attribute; many outside sources are mentioned; plenty of sites link to each article as well as the root domain; and the index page changes every single day with completely new and original content.