August 20, 2007
I must have read hundreds of articles telling me how to get better rankings in Google. Some of this advice was very good and some was not. Here you will find 10 truths about getting better rankings in Google that I personally have found to be true after years of research. So let’s cut through the fat and get to the lean meat of the subject.
1. The Quick fix
First the bad news, unfortunately there are no quick fixes in creating higher rankings in Google. You have to have a lot of patience in the search engine optimisation game. It will take months for your tiresome efforts to come to fruition. That’s why it’s important to get things right from the start and plan out your strategy.
Keywords are the most important part of search engine optimisation. You must do your keyword research before starting your website if you can, as this will form the basis of all your search engine optimisation.
There is no point going for broad keywords for example “ website design” as there is too much competition for those keywords and you will find vey difficult if not impossible to reach the top spot in Google. You are much better using long tail niche keywords. They will have a smaller search volume, but it will be easier to obtain top position. People are more likely to find what they are looking for with long tail keywords, for example if someone needs a website they may type into Google “ web design” and visit a few websites. They may then discover they also need hosting and a domain name. They will then do another search for “website design hosting and domain name services” for example, and this may be your niche keyword or key phrase.
How do you find keywords that people are searching for? Well a good free tool can be found at SeoBook.com or if you want something more professional you can use Wordtracker an excellent service for finding niche keywords. You should try and get at least 10 keyword phrases.
Once you have found your keywords do a search with them on Google. First of all look at how many results there are. If it’s in its millions them maybe your keywords are not that good and would be too competitive.
If you can find keywords with results at about 50,000 then you could be onto a winner. You should also check out your competition. Click on the top result for your keyword in the SERPS (search engine results pages) and check out their pagerank. This will give you a rough idea of what you need to achieve to get top placement. Also you should check to see how many links they have pointing to their website as this will also give you a rough idea of how many links you will need to get to the top position. To do this in the search box type link: www.thedomain.com and you will get a list of websites that link to that domain but it’s a good idea to do this in the Yahoo search engine as they give a more extensive list of back links. Google will only show you a percentage of their links, usually of pagerank 3 or higher.
Remember these are only rough estimates as every website is different and less, more relevant links will achieve better results.
3. Title Tag
Google sees the title tag as the most important and relevant part of the webpage it retrieves. This is one of the few things you have any control over in Google’s search results. The title tag is the underlined header for your result in the SERPS, it also appears at top of your browser window. Keep this descriptive and readable, but at the same time include your newly found niche keywords. Google will also highlight the keywords in your title that where included in the search query.
4. Description tag
The description tag is the description of the webpage, which resides under the title tag in the results. Again use your keywords in here, maybe some of the lesser ones you discovered. This is the only other part of the results you have any control over. Google will also highlight the keywords in here that match the search query. Again remember to keep it descriptive and readable.
5. Domain names
If you can, try and include your main keywords in your domain name, as Google will highlight them when they match the search query. This can give your ranking a little boost as this will show that your website is relevant to the search query.
Content is very important. If you have ever changing fresh unique content on your website relating to your topic Google will love you for it and other websites will link to you. In return this will increase your rankings, but you should really be doing this anyway. A website with no changing content is a dead website. Your content should contain your keywords, but don’t spam your content with your keywords. Use them at the start and end of your webpage and sprinkle them in-between. Also use them in your header text and even bold a few as this shows Google that these words bear more importance.
Why are people so obsessed with that little green bar on the Google tool bar? Well I’m here to tell you that you can stop obsessing about it right now.
The thing about the pagerank bar is it can be at least 3 months out of date as Google only updates it in roughly a 3-month cycle. Only Google knows your true pagerank, which changes all the time. Google regularly spiders your website and scans for new content and links to show the most relevant content in its results. Therefore pagerank is pretty inaccurate.
The other thing people get confused about is that it’s called pagerank not siterank. What I have determined is that your website will get assigned a pagerank figure and then it will be distributed through your indexed pages, for example if your website gets a figure of 5 then your home page may get a pagerank of 3 and your other pages get a 2 or maybe a 1 and so on. If these other pages also have links to them this will increase their own individual pagerank.
The only advantage of that green bar that I can see is for exchanging links. You can get a rough idea what a websites ranking is and you can decide whether or not to exchange links.
One-way links are better than 2 way links but one-way links can be harder to obtain. Why should someone put your link on their website, what’s in it for them? You can do this by writing articles like this one, and submitting it to article websites, social media websites or on your own blog, but remember to include an author’s bio including some links to your website.
Reciprocal links are easier to come by but in the early stages when you don’t have a good pagerank will be more difficult. Once your pagerank increases you can be more selective of the pagerank you exchange with.
Don’t forget about the guys starting out when your green bar starts to increase. If they have a website with good quality content then you should consider linking with them. Remember we all need to start somewhere and page rank of 1 is tomorrow’s pagerank 5. Try and keep your link to relevant websites as Google likes this and you will receive quality traffic from these websites for years to come.
Also I have found a great little tool to check if your potential link partners are linking to bad neighbourhoods, which Google may penalise you for linking to. The address is:
9. The open directory (DMOZ)
You should always submit your website to DMOZ as it can take an age to get listed in here and Google uses these results in its organic results sometimes. I recently wrote an article discussing this topic and some people commented on this and said that they haven’t submitted to DMOZ and their rankings are fine. This may be true but one thing you should remember is that lots of directory websites use DMOZ results, which in turn will get you more one-way links
Blogs are loved by Google as they have lots of text and are constantly getting updated, so start your own blog on your website. Include articles, stories and any thing that’s related to your website. If you give people something of interest they will come back for more and link to you.
That’s all for now, take care and good luck!
And remember you only get out of something what you put in to it.
Author: Kevin Gallagher is the managing director of Umbrella a custom website design company in the Scottish Borders providing small business website design , website builder software and affordable company SEO services