"How do I get my Arts Website Higher on the Search Engines?"
If you work in the web development field you get that question a lot. Its called SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and even though there are firms out there that will charge you from $1,500 to $50,000 to optimize your size, here are really the top ten tips you need to know (at least for Arts Sites)
Your site should have a clear hierarchy.
This means that headings should follow in order. You see, Google (and Yahoo) looks for the h1 and h2 tags as important indicators for what the text will contain. Therefore, the top of your document should have an H1 tag that has your most important keywords, followed by some content that is relevant to a visitor. Additionally, Google has become rather savvy to the frequency a site is updated with new content, so you’ll want to continually add new “stuff” to your site, again using the H1 tag, so that Google will come back to your site and respider. The more frequently Google thinks it has to come back to respider your site, the higher your site will rank.
Have a strong introductory paragraph on your site.
This should not only explain what your site is about to new readers but also contain the keywords that you want to focus on.
Use Text Links As Much as Possible
All pages on you site should have text links to them, not just graphics. And it helps if those text links say something other than "click here".
Offer your readers a site map of your site.
By making the site map a hierarchical representation, complete with H1 and H2 tags you can let Google know the “parent/child” relationships from one page to the next. In other words, not only should each page’s content be laid out in a hierarchical manner, your entire site should be laid out in a hierarchical manner as well. This will help Google to understand how one part of your site relates to other parts … and drive every single page of your site higher in Google’s rankings.
Make sure your page has a descriptive title tag.
Remember that it is possible to show only titles and meta descriptions in Google search results, and 11 million is a hard number to rank high among.
For important content, use text, not images.
The Googlebot can't read images.
Validate your HTML and keep your links current.
Once the Googlebot or Yahoo Spider hits a number of broken links it "kills" the site, assuming there is nothing there.
Always write your pages for your readers, not for Google.
People always try to "write" for Google, repeating keywords again and again. It may help SEO, but it really pisses off the customers trying to use the site. For example, repeating keywords again and again make it difficult to try to understand the concept that repeating keywords again and again does not offer useful information to your viewer, you are simply repeating keywords again and again.
Request reciprocal links from other Web page writers.
The key to getting high ranking in Google is to get lots of people to link to you. The more people who link to you and the more "important" they are in the Googlebot world, the higher you will rank for keywords.
The actual formula that Google uses is:
PR(A) = (1-d) + d (PR(T1)/C(T1) + ... + PR(Tn)/C(Tn))
PR(Tn) - Each page has a notion of its own self-importance. That’s “PR(T1)” for the first page in the web all the way up to “PR(Tn)” for the last page
C(Tn) - Each page spreads its vote out evenly amongst all of it’s outgoing links. The count, or number, of outgoing links for page 1 is “C(T1)”, “C(Tn)” for page n, and so on for all pages.
PR(Tn)/C(Tn) - so if our page (page A) has a backlink from page “n” the share of the vote page A will get is “PR(Tn)/C(Tn)”
d(... - All these fractions of votes are added together but, to stop the other pages having too much influence, this total vote is “damped down” by multiplying it by 0.85 (the factor “d”)
(1 - d) - The (1 – d) bit at the beginning is a bit of probability math magic so the “sum of all web pages' PageRanks will be one”: it adds in the bit lost by the d(.... It also means that if a page has no links to it (no backlinks) even then it will still get a small PR of 0.15 (i.e. 1 – 0.85).
I know it sounds complicated, but in plain english it means that "important" or credible sites that offer links to your page, drives up your page rank.
So a website that has been around for more then ten years, ends in .Edu, and already has a high page ranking that offers a link to your site will drive your ranking higher.
But a website that has been around for less then a year, ends in .com, and doesn't have a high page ranking that offers a link to your site does not increase your ranking significantly.
The important thing is Search Engine Users
Keep in mind that Google, as well as other search engines, record search engine clicks. This means that if 100 people use google and enter the phrase "Public Relation for the Arts", and only 12 of them click on the first result, and 62 click on the second result, and 26 click on the third result. Google will move the second result to the number 1 position, and the third result to the 2 position. It is constantly updating your position based on user results. And why Google seems to be almost human with results.