How to Rank Well in Google

I am often asked how to land on the first page of a Google search. While in some cases it is worth paying for search engine optimization (SEO) research to get the right answers for your site, in many cases site managers can do a lot to improve SEO with some basic steps.

If your goal is to appear on the first page of a Google search (and it should be), keep these things in mind:

  • Two factors—content and credibility—help determine where your Web site lands on a Google search.
  • Content is what’s on your Web site. 
  • Credibility is determined by the number of sites that link to your site. The more your site is part of the larger web, the more credible it is.

John Spagnuolo, president of the New Media Institute, suggests this tip for determining your site’s credibility:  Type “link:yourdomain.com” into Google or go to Yahoo site explorer. This search reveals the sites linking to you. Another tool is the the Google tool bar. The higher the Google page rank on the tool bar, the greater a site’s credibility.

Ideas for generating incoming links to boost credibility

  • Ask. Contact websites with complimentary content and ask for a link to your site. (This generally is better received if you in turn link to the other site.)
  • Issue press releases with your website address and post them at a news service. One free service is PR Log.
  • Post comments to blogs with your URL where relevant. Careful, make sure that your post and URL add to the blog post and don’t just come off as shameless self-promotion.
  • Use social media – post videos on YouTube, pictures on flickr, etc. and link everything back to your website.

Ideas for making your content work for SEO

  • Update your site as frequently as you possibly can. The fresher your content, the more appealing to search engines.
  • If you have the option, use a domain name that has one or more of the words that you want to “own” in search engines.
  • Use the words that you want search engine users to use to find you. Use them in your heads and subheads and in your content.
  • Keep your content as text and don’t embed words in images or other non-text elements.
  • Have a site map at your site. This helps search engines index your content, and it is a nice thing to offer your site visitors as well.
  • Drive traffic to your website. Include your URL in all your offline communication. Send people to your website for answers and information. Website traffic generated more website traffic. (Just like a busy store often attacts more people.)