How Do I Get My Website to Rank Higher on Google? PT. 2

Google SearchLast week I discussed how search engine result listings for Google are NOT universal. The search results you see may be entirely different than the results your neighbour across the street sees when you are searching the same keyword! But that doesn't mean you should abandon optimizing your website for search engine visibility. Quite the opposite is required.

So let's review four main factors that impact your website's overall search engine visibility... hopefully in basic, non-geek language.

Backlinks

BacklinksWhat is a backlink? Here is quote from Wikipedia: "Backlinks, also known as incoming links, inbound links, inlinks, and inward links, are incoming links to a website or web page. In basic link terminology, a backlink is any link received by a web node (web page, directory, website, or top level domain) from another web node." Well said, Wikipedia, well said!

Here are some of the different backlink categories available.

Some Key Take-Aways RE backlinks?

  1. Typically you want to get links from a variety of categories
  2. Quantity of links helps but the quality of links are even better! A quality link is from a well established website that has a 'good reputation' with Google. A bad link might be from a porn, gambling or 'spammy' sites.

On-Page SEO

SEO 100Google likes 'organized' websites that are easy to 'index'. I call on-page search engine optimization the online version of feng-shui. Get your website's content, linking structure, and site structure in order and your chances of increasing your overall and keyword-specific search engine visibility increases... often significantly.

Here are the most important on-page factors:

  • Page title: the most important on-page factor
  • Page speed: see our webmasters' blog post about the importance of web page load times
  • Headline & subheadlines: also known as "H" tags ranging from H1, the most important H tag, to H6
  • Freshness: how 'fresh' is the content on your website? how often do you add new content (this explains why having a blog on your website really helps with search engine visibility; blogs are awesome for making new content easy to build and promote)
  • Images: includes tagging these images with descriptive 'ALT' text
  • URL title: get the right keywords in each web page address
  • Page layout: are H tags in proper order? do image tags relate to the content, does the page content 'flow' logically?
  • Analytics & search stuff: since Google Analytics is on so many sites Google knows visitor 'time on site' and 'bounce rates'. (Bounce rate = got to your site/page, didn't like it, left as fast as I could.) Factor in 'click-through rates' from search results. Google tracks these too.
  • Other factors: include text formatting such as bold, italics and content length, keyword density (not too important), synonyms, etc

See my blog post entitled "Important On-Page Search Engine Optimization" for more details.

Some Key Take-Aways RE On-Page SEO?

  1. Build your website in a manner that fits what Google wants. HINT: follow the points noted above. Google is pretty clear about the fundamentals of a well built, search engine friendly page
  2. Plan the structure of your sites content carefully
  3. Continually adding new 'fresh' quality content. Blogs rock for this!

Author / Brand

Team 100It's been said that Google prefers 'brands' online. Why? Typically because people know and 'trust' brands. This is probably why Advil sells a lot more than much cheaper ibuprofen off the shelf even though they are the same product. Consumers know Advil and there is 'trust awareness' built up with this product familiarity through massive doses of advertising and marketing.

It's really all about establishing 'trust' and 'authority' online. Here are some key factors that affect these 'trust rankings':

  • Your domain popularity: tracking the 'strength' of your website over time
  • Age of your domain: typically the older is better!
  • Quality of linking: from your site to other online entities, and backlinks
  • Your brand: how often your brand is mentioned online? e.g. Home Depot has an advantage over Joe's Hardware & Tea Pot Emporium when we're talking online mentions throughout North America
  • Reviews & assessments: from others online
  • Length of your domain's registration period: a registration packs a little more power compared to a domain registered for one year; this is a small factor
  • Your Web Hosting: people... you get what you pay for; good hosting typically isn't free or $2.99 per month; quality web hosting makes a difference including positively affecting search engine rankings! Read more about web hosting on our blog.
  • Author authority: within your blog or other content pages; what trust and authority do contributing authors to your website have?

Some Key Take-Aways RE Author / Brand

  1. Good business = more business: Well respected businesses with a good track record get mentioned more offline and online
  2. Build your brand: Building your overall brand, awareness and quality of your business can affect you online
  3. Tech-stuff matters: Technical stuff like domain registration and quality of your web hosting do matter
  4. Authorship: The quality, trust and authority of people contributing content to your website also matters

Social

Social Media 100How much of a 'player' are you in the social networking scene? Ok then 'play-ah'... let's review these social factors:

  • Number of friends & followers: plus the types & 'quality' of these people
  • Age of accounts: typically older accounts are regarded as more 'established' so if you aren't in the social space yet get in there now!
  • Account backlinks to your social channels: again, the quality and quantity of these backlinks is a factor
  • Number of messages & activity frequency: self explanatory, but quantity does not = quality
  • Mix, quality and relevance of your messages: are your messages 'themed' or all over the place?
  • Other key social networks: Hey, did I mention that your presence on sites like Digg, Reddit and Stumbleupon can be important too? Yes, these social media channels are great ways to build traffic and 'online social equity.

Some Key Take-Aways RE Being Social Online

  1. Be there: You need to be there and active to have this impact your site's search engine visibility; set up your accounts today if you aren't in this space already
  2. Be active: Quality and quantity of your posts matter

How Do I Get My Website to Rank Higher on Google? PT. 2

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Putting Credit Where Credit is Due

I was inspired to write this article after viewing an infographic developed by Berlin-based artist Martin Missfeldt. You can view his excellent infographic on our Pinterest channel which links to Martin's blog.

Have any questions, comments or suggestions about this post? We welcome your input. Use the comment field below and I will respond to you.

Roy McClean
Oct 02, 2012
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