There is no guarantee for getting in the top 10 of Google, but there are definitely some ways to help make that happen!
For the throngs of so-called experts advertising on the Web claiming they know the recipe to Google’s secret sauce, I would have guessed by now they would have retired to their own private island to spend the millions made cracking Google’s’ search engine code.
Let’s be clear. NO ONE can guarantee getting your website on page 1of Google. That would mean claiming control over a 3rd party as large and as fluid as Google.
Google tweaks and fine tunes their search engine applications on an hourly basis. Some tweaking routines are automatic; others are performed by a small army of master and doctoral mathematical candidates to improve Google search results, build new Google applications, run quality checks across Google data centers all over the world, and thwart the legions of spammers and hackers who seek to manipulate Google search results.
There are however, a variety of tactics and strategies you can use to achieve top 10 results in Google. I am proud to say my web development company has achieved hundred of Top 10 positions for clients and we are adding more to that list every day.
Following are some factors that will attract Google to your website and put you high in their search results.
Having a search engine friendly website
Is your website search engine friendly? Google publishes technical guidelines and suggestions for building a search engine friendly website.
Is your website easy to use?
Is your website constructed in such a way that makes it easy for human users to navigate and find information?
If your visitors can’t find what they are looking for in 5 seconds or less they are going to leave your site and move onto the next website.
Google analyzes the amount of traffic a website receives, the amount of time spent on web site pages, and much more. This means Google can determine the popularity of a website by both the amount of visits and length of time spent browsing your web pages.
This would be a good time to ask yourself if your website is interesting and engaging.
Is there a large amount of online competition for your business? If you have a website selling women’s shoes, flowers or real estate, getting on page 1 of Google will be extremely difficult. If your website focuses on custom made duck-calls, the page 1 goal gets easier. You can get some idea for how competitive a search term is by looking at the amount of pages returned for a search query.
Go to Google and search for ‘women’s shoes’. The small black print just below the Google search box shows there are over 73 million references for this search term, not to mention the 1,000 lb. gorilla websites who are going after the same search phrase such as Macys, DSW, Overstock and Zappos.
Brand new website
Is your website brand new? If your website and domain name are new it may take longer for Google to come through and cache your website. Sometimes this will happen quickly and sometimes it takes weeks. Other experts agree it takes 6 to 8 months for a new website to gain any substantial ground on Google. Over the years I have seen it both ways where some new sites get fast recognition from Google and others don’t.
Some businesses will buy an existing domain name to get some traffic and ranking early on in the process. But this will depend on how competitive a search criteria you are going after.
Itsy Bitsy Website
Do you have a small website, less than 10 pages? Did you know that each individual page in your website is an opportunity to explain to Google what you are all about?
You can find out approximately how many pages Google has found for your website by searching your domain name in Google. In the Google search box type the following: site:www.yourdomain.com. This is also a good way to analyze your online competition by finding out how many website pages they have and how they have formed their meta-tags.
Think of Google as a huge digital library. As you walk into the library there are so many books (websites) on Google’s shelves. Each webpage in your site would be equal to the page count in a book. Is your website the thickness of a comic book, sandwiched in between War & Peace and the Webster’s Dictionary?
Slow loading website
Does your website load slowly? A recent upgrade in Google has webmasters agreeing that it’s advantageous to have a fast loading website. Rumor has it that Google will not downgrade or penalize a slow loading website, but others are not so sure. Factors that influence a website’s loading speed that you may control include the design, development framework, and hosting platform.
Is your website made completely in Flash? If you’re using a Flash website you’re not going to be found by search engines. Flash websites require expert modifications to be found by Google.
My website meets all the criteria mentioned above, how come I am not getting better search engine results?
For those of you who already have a website that employs ‘best practices’ for ‘on-site optimization’, but still not getting to the top of Google, there are steps you should take in building your websites ‘off-site optimization’.
On-site optimization is the work performed on your website pages and all digital assets associated with your website, domain name and website hosting server. Some best practices for on-site optimization are as follows:
1) Use unique and descriptive title meta-tags on every web page.
2) Use unique and descriptive description meta-tags on every web page.
Take a quick look in Google by searching site:www.1800Flowers.com. The results will show that every page in this website has unique title and description tags. This is of paramount importance in getting a website found on Google as it relates to search queries.
3) Demonstrate proper use of HTML text and HTML links as it relates to the subject matter of your website. A good hyperlink is descriptive. In the illustration below ‘Atlanta Homes for Sale’ links to a page with lots of information about homes for sale in Atlanta. Avoid using words such as ‘Click Here’ in your hyperlinks.
4) Be sure that your website navigation is accessible for Google to crawl. You should also submit a owner verification file and a XML site map to Google, Yahoo and Bing. This is a free service and will help communicate how to find all your web pages and associated files.
5) Demonstrate correct use of ALT tags for images and other visual assets. ALT tags are widely used in ADA compliant websites. The ALT tag is good for humans and search engines in extending the description for any digital asset displayed in your website.
6) Use of Robots.txt file in the root directory of your website. (You can take a peak at any website’s robots text file, providing they have one, by typing the following in your web browser: http://www.somedomainname.com/robots.txt
7) Your site index page is live and linked at the top of your website home page.
Off- site optimization
Google and other major search engines assign a ranking score, popularity vote or other designation to a website and/or website page based on numerous factors:
a. The amount of links or quality of links linking to the website and/or webpage.
b. The power or authority of the websites in item “a”. If you are linking to weak websites that have not been built correctly then you are not helping your cause. Linking to well-built websites that rank well in the search engines helps your cause.
c. The traffic to your website or the amount of visits. Think of ranking a website akin to getting found and listed in a huge digital library. Picture it this way: Google has numerous search bots or computer routines that crawl the World Wide Web at breakneck speed collecting data on websites. Google crawls, analyzes, indexes and caches data found in Websites, Blogs, Forums, Articles, Directories, other search engines and all manner of digital applications.
Google will crawl EVERYTHING that can be indexed. This includes; HTML, Txt. or text files, PDF files, Word docs, Video, Power Point, XLS spreadsheets and much more.
If you have a presentation about your company in Power Point or video then this is a digital asset that you could use to increase your exposure to search engines.
Here’s how to get it done.
Step 1– Claim your local listings on Google, Yahoo and Bing.
NOTE: If you cannot find these resources, please email me and I will help you find the link resource.
Step 2 – Create a profile for yourself or business on some or all of these popular websites: Facebook, Twitter, Local.com, Super pages, Aboutus.org, Agreatertown.com, Brownbook.net, LinkedIn, You Tube, Classmates, MySpace, Flickr, Craigslist, Google Profiles, Google Products.
NOTE: Never pay for a link unless it is a well respected directory such as Find law or other similar website.
Step 3 – Find and join a Blog or Forum website related to your business or website. If your website is about “home remodeling” then join the conversation. If I were a home remodeler I would go to Google and search “How do I repair this or that” or I would search “Blogs + Forums for home remodeling”. Remember, all this stuff equates to a link since your postings in Blogs or Forums are connected to your profile.
Step 4 – Research and analyze your competition. See where they have linked or listed themselves. To do this type the following in the Google search box:
Also do this by entering only their website name without (www) or (.com) and you will get some different results.
Take a look at some of the websites that get returned in the results. Not all of them will be a place where you can get or place a free link, but chances are you will find more than a few. For privacy reasons I cannot show the results of someone else’s website link backs so I will discuss a few of my own.
In the Google search box type VISIONEFX. About 4th or 5th down the page you will see Crunch Base. This is technology based directory where I got a free link and listing and I learned about it by analyzing a local competitor.
The building of back links, linking, votes, listings and other tactics it is not rocket science. It is long, hard tedious work.
On the sunnier side of things, back links sometimes come naturally. If you have an interesting website then people are going to want to link to you and share your website with others.
Step 5 – Go back and do it all over again and again. Think of ways to grow your website pages (you can never have too many pages). Create any of the following pages or sections for your website: Case Studies, News, Articles, Announcements, Testimonials, Videos, Photo Gallery, Random Thoughts, Tips, Helpful Hints, etc.
Extend your presence on powerful third party websites.
My two favorites are You Tube and Flickr.com
You Tube is probably the most powerful 3rd party website in terms of expanding your presence in Google natural search results. You can even create your own You Tube page otherwise know as a You Tube Channel.
You want to be sure that you tag and title your You Tube videos so they have the best chance of getting found in a standard Google search query. Here is a live example. I hope you will see the same results as I, as that depends on which Google datacenter is near you (more about that in another article).
In the Google search box type aerial power ball. You should see two You Tube thumbnails for videos I posted for my client Chesapeake Bay Helicopters.
If you find these on the page, take notice how I titled the videos:
Aerial marker balls, Power line marker balls
Utility marker balls, Aerial Marker Ball
This goes a long way in helping you to leverage your marketing assets over Google.
Companies that have video or animation should leverage this kind of search engine marketing power for real estate, properties, leasing, hotel, auto sales and the like. Google Products offers some great venues for these businesses, but You Tube is also an excellent channel.
Balance your off-site and on-site work
Link backs or off- site optimization is a smart thing to do though it should not over shadow your on-site optimization tasks.
A smart webmaster strives to balance on-site and off-site tasks. Don’t try to get it done all in one day, one week or one month. Growing a website into a powerful lead and sales generator as well as a brand awareness tool takes time. It is a methodical marketing process that never ends (until your business ends).