Lots of new webmasters ask us how to get their website “higher in Google” or even how to place their website into the search engines at all.
Firstly, there is no magic formula to putting a website high up in internet search engines.
There is, however, best practice.
It is a bad practice to engage in anything which could be seen as attempting to manipulate the search engine rankings artificially. Such techniques may result in a penalty from major search engines, particularly Google, so be very careful only to focus on best practice.
But, that caveat aside, many new webmasters want some real world tips – some things they can be doing to get their website firstly to rank in search engines, and secondly to rank well or higher in search engines, such as Google. Below are some bullet pointed tips, which will help you to achieve a better search engine ranking, if you work at them!
Tips for Getting a Better Search Engine Ranking
- Write a truly useful website – using words which accurately describe your given subject(s) in the best possible way. Don’t focus all of your content on sales – talk around your subject, too, to create content which “hooks” people who may be interested in your sales messages later;
- Use images – people like pictures, and, as a consequence, search engines do too;
- Be sure to use alt tags in your pictures – alt tags tell search engines (and the hearing impaired) what is in the picture. Search engines cannot see.
- Gain relevant links from quality directories and industry websites – don’t spam every site under the sun, just ask a handful of respected websites for a link. Very politely. This works best if you know the people in question, and you have a 100% useful website that will be of interest to the audience of the website in question.
- Never reciprocal link (a link in return for a link) – this is an obvious thing to do, which is why search engines don’t like people doing it. It is unnatural.
- Never buy or sell links
- Social Media – Create an official Facebook, Twitter and Google+ page – and add your website’s link wherever relevant – this alone will help Google pick up your website – regularly put up new content notifications into your social media account. This can be automated.
- Create an XML sitemap – and “ping” Google, Yahoo and Bing whenever you update your website. Silicon Dales builds this in for most business clients.
- Signup for Google, Yahoo and Bing’s Webmaster Tools (or equivalent) and submit your Sitemap.xml files manually, at least once.
- Track organic search performance using Google Analytics or similar free tools, and make sure you are delivering the content that your visitors are engaging with (i.e. track time spent on page)
- Make sure your website loads very quickly – Google (at least) uses this as a search ranking metric. The thinking is that website visitors will be more likely to enjoy fast loading websites, so they deliver these sites higher in results than the painfully slow. Silicon Dales can help you with this.
- Spend time updating your website – regularly.
That last point, regarding regular updates to your website, is very important people do not, generally, like stale websites, because they are out of date in one way or another. Google likes to send people to websites they want to see – relevance is key – and an out of date website is not likely to be relevant.
Make sure you stay on top of your website, and keep it relevant, and then the internet search engines will have a keen interest in sending their users to your website, so that those users continue to enjoy using that search engine as the source of information from the web!
Search Engines Are Businesses – Get Inside Their Heads!
Search engines are businesses too.
They need people to use them in order to make money.
If a search engine regularly sends people to irrelevant or out-of-date websites, then people will stop using that search engine; the search engine will make less money.
Keeping your website up-to-date and highly relevant to your target audience is perhaps the only real “SEO” you should be performing. For everything else, there is no substitute to good old fashioned hard work.
You Do the Business, We Do The Web
At Silicon Dales, our Enterprise level maintenance clients have us to update their websites for them, so they don’t have to. We keep not only the software and the servers up-to-date (which search engines like) but also the content and images on the websites in question too (which search engines love).