Ranking on Google’s Page 1
Here are 10 tips to improve the search ranking of your business. These are practical and proven ideas to help your consultancy business grow online.
1. Understanding How Google works
Google ranks content on the web in the same way you can judge the authority of a particular opinion. That means the more times a particular opinion is referred to by others on a topic, and the longer they have been established in their knowledge area, the more relevant that opinion might be to a researcher in that topic.
Despite the changes of its algorithms, your site will rank well if it
? contains good and appropriate content on that topic which is
? frequently and naturally linked to by others
? for a sustained period of time
2. Crawling Spiders
Search Engines find pages by sending “spiders” (or robots) to “crawl” the internet.
These are programs which move from one page to another, read the text, then follow another link to move on. The spiders bring back the content they have read and add them to the search engine’s index.
The main engines are Google, Yahoo!, MSN and Ask. These control around 90% of the search market and search engines will find and crawl your content successfully if you (1) have at least one link from another site to yours, and submit a list of all your pages (a ‘Site Map’ file) to them.
The most important thing you need to do is ensure the search engine ascribes more weight to your more important pages normally your home page.
3. Find Good Phrases
The real prize is to attract internet searchers looking more generally for services that your business offers rather than just get ranked high for your business name (which is quite easy).
The key is to thoroughly research the key words and phrases that people most often use to find what it is you are offering and the number of competing content on Google which also attempt to rank for that phrase.
By merging these two data sets, you can identify good phrases where the demand is high but the supply of competing choices relatively low; “holes in the market”.
You can do all this at adwords.google.com/KeywordToolExternal. To find which phrases are more popular requires the use of this and similar online tools.
4. Long Tail
Long tail is the term given to keyword phrases that involve several words rather than just one or two. Half of all searches on Google are for phrases containing three or more words. After all, “mens’ hairdresser South London” is a better search term than “barber”. As the number of words increases, so the frequency of searches goes down. However, the likelihood of conversion (of a click-though to a sale) rises. This is because such a phrase is likely to be typed in by someone looking for exactly this. Once found they are more likely to purchase that product or service.
It is much easier to rank well on a longer phrase (or series of phrases) than a short one – and it will deliver improved conversions.
5. Set up Your Pages Right
What people often do not realize is that every part of the web page content is read by the spider, including the full address of the page (or “URL”). So you need to have both a keyword-rich domain name and a keyword rich set of sub-page and file names.
The most important blocks of text on your page from a search engine point of view are the page title the full URL, and the page headings (h1, h2). So you need to use these.
The whole page of the content is also crawled by the spiders, as are the other meta-tags, including the meta-description and meta-keyword tags.
There are three key principles for writing good copy; prominence, proximity and density. The first means that text nearer the front of a text block carries more weight. For example, a title of “business coaching from Anderson” will rank better for a search on “business coaching” than the tile “Anderson: We offer Business coaching”.
Proximity refers to how close the keywords are to each other. The spiders see this as being relevant to the search and so will reward it.
Keyword density is the principle most familiar to people. Clearly, “business coaching” has a higher density of keywords than “business coaching and more”. Remove superfluous or redundant words!
6. Get Links
No matter how well written your site is, you will struggle to rank on Google without inbound links! Remember there is a principle of “citation” behind the Google algorithm. Other sites that ‘cite’ yours by having links to your site are valuable to you.
Ideally, you need links from other sites in quantity, quality and which contain the keywords or phrases that you want to rank well for. Google judge links that come from long-lasting and popular sites to be more valuable than others. Also, links from sites with similar content to yours are worth more.
In some ways, Google is a democratic domain where the sites with the most votes win the election. Buying votes is not allowed and will be punished so Google have been finding ways to end this once common practice.
Better ways to build in-bound links include directory submissions, forum participation, pay-per-click, article submission, and cross-promoting sites with other webmasters (so called “link building”).
7. Paying Campaigns
Some use Google Adwords to pay for ads and positions.. But once you stop the payments, the ads disappear. By contrast, a well-run organic campaign, the investment may be large (particularly in terms of time and energy) but the benefits are quality and continue long into the future.
8. Submit to Maps
There are now millions of more sites on the internet and the web is getting ever more local. Make sure you have submitted your site to Google Maps and other local search engines. Over the next few years, many more people will use search engines on their mobile phones to find services more locally. You need to be ready for this.
9. Always Tweaking
Make sure you familiarize yourself with Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. With these, you can see how people find your information, how the spiders look at your content, and the number of in-bound links you have. A search engine campaign is something thing you need to work on over a long period of time with constant attention, testing different changes and techniques.
10. Play the Long Game
It tends to take around 6 months or more for a new site to start ranking well. To rank really well requires patience and sustained effort and there is no “quick fix”. Any one who offers you a page one ranking overnight is either lying or being unscrupulous in their techniques.