It’s often asked of me, “How do I get my website to be #1 in search results?” Now if you’re any bit of a techie, I can tell you all about how the internet is evolving at a breakneck pace thanks in part to mobile devices, social media and shifts in how we interact online. But if we cut to the chase, I’m going to have to break it to you that unfortunately there is no magic code that will instantly and effortlessly catapult your website straight to the top (read: you need to work at it). More recently search engines have started to reward websites that are updated frequently and with good quality content.
“Simple! I can do that!” Wait…what’s the catch? For most of us, finding the time to write a blog post or update our website is not as easy as it seems. The truth is that when we’re busy, we simply don’t want to set aside time to come up with something witty yet relevant to our business. Or maybe we don’t fancy ourselves as good writers and publishing a regular blog is a daunting task. I’ve had clients in the past “copy ‘n paste” an entire article and publish it. Sure, it gets content on your blog quickly. But it’s illegal. Oh yeah, and the search engines are smart enough to realize who published the article first. Tsk, tsk.
Perhaps the easiest way to update your blog is to write a short post like I’m currently demonstrating and link to a quality article that someone else spent a good deal of time writing. To illustrate my example, check out this informative article Social Fresh wrote on “How To Use Content From Other Blogs Without Violating Copyright”. You see, the link gives credit to the true author, but all this commentary above is original content. Website = updated.
You may have noticed over the last year that searching for something on Google would occasionally lead you to spam based websites. When I refer to a spam based website, I mean a website in which it’s sole reason to exist is to show up on search results in an attempt to make money off the ads displayed on their website. Most spam websites carry no real value to you, the googler.
As you might imagine, the credibility of Google can quickly come to attention if the search results yielded aren’t quality links. In an attempt to rid their search results of spam, Google has recently implemented a new search algorithm that rewards high-quality sites rich in original content.
The good news with this new algorithm is that if you regularly update your website you’ll immediately gain an edge over your competition that isn’t doing the same.
Writing an article does a few things: It provides information about your business field, it shows your potential customers and clients that you are an expert in your field, it publishes your business name and it is a cost effective marketing strategy. Here are some tips to make sure your article will be search engine ready.
The title of your article should include the most important keywords that describe your business. You should think about this like the title of your website. (See our previous post “10 ways to make your website more search engine friendly”). When people are looking for information that your article contains what will they search for?
The keywords in your headings and body text should sound natural. Write them without thinking about the keywords. Then, after you have finished, go back and add the keywords where they make sense.
Industry jargon is generally something to avoid. It really depends on who you want to market your article to. Unless your article is geared towards industry professionals or business to business clients, don’t use terms that are too technical. They won’t rank well on the search engines and you will have lost a good chance to use a more popular keyword.
When you are thinking about your most important keywords – think about their synonyms as well. Don’t stuff your article with the same keyword over and over… it won’t read well or help your ranking.
Anchor text is hyper linked text. Make sure that several important key phrases are linked to your homepage or related internal pages.
Post your article on your website and if possible give it a separate page with a keyword rich URL. This will help your article rank in the search engines and it can build links for you website.
Submit your article to a few free article websites. Please see a list on our previous post “10 free ways to promote your website”.
People are much more receptive to useful information than a sales pitch. Write about a new technology, a theory, the newest players in your field, a critique of software you use or an evaluation of a new online tool. Give information that highlights you as an expert in the business field without actually saying it.
Flattery goes a long way! If there is a non competing experts in the field – use a quote from them or give a link to their website. Then, tell them about it. They might link to your article or your site!
Make sure you include your name, your website, and your contact information at the bottom of the page.
If your article is not professional people will not take you seriously. Send it out to a few grammar-enlightened friends. Send it to someone who doesn’t know a lot about your business to make sure it is clear. It will be your first impression to a lot of people – so make it count!
The main goal of a search engine and its rankings is to provide users with the best possible array of websites and information so that each user can easily find what they are looking for. Here are 10 tips to make sure you can rank well in Google, Yahoo and MSN!
The title of your website should be a few keywords that explain your business. (La Crosse Web Designs is our main title). Search engines take the words in the title into account when deciding where you will rank for a search term (like “La Crosse Web Design”) so it should contain words that you want people to find you on. You should descriptively title all of your internal pages as well.
Search engines love unique content. Why? Unique content (text that isn’t found anywhere else on the web) gives search engines the opportunity to provide more variety and better choices when displaying search results. They love it so much that when you do the opposite – i.e. duplicate content – your ranking can drop or be black listed.
Updating your content often tells a search engine that you are constantly providing new information to internet users. If the search engine reads something new on your page each time it visits, it starts to read your page more often. Every time it reads your site, you gain trust and authority with the search engine which helps you rank higher!
Frequently updated content can be achieved by having a news section, a blog, a message board, etc.
Website architecture is how you set up your website for navigation. How do people get from your homepage to your internal pages? A website’s architecture should be simple to use for your user and for the search engines. Search engines will read all of your pages if each page is easy to get to through internal links.
This video better explains website architecture:
A sitemap is like a map of your website. It guides the search engine through all of your website’s pages. It can help search engines read pages that they might not have seen otherwise.
You can create a free one here: www.xml-sitemaps.com/
Sometimes websites have two URL’s for the same site. For example, www.couleecreative.com or http://couleecreative.com. Even though the web pages look exactly the same search engines see these as separate websites. As mentioned before, duplicate content can get you in trouble with search engines because they may think you are trying to manipulate the rankings. To remedy this situation you have to create a 301 or 302 redirect.
Create a link network with related businesses and websites. It not only helps your ranking within a search engine and/or drive traffic to your site – it can lead the search engines to read your page more often (because the crawler finds you through another website). This leads to a greater trust and authority which can result in a better ranking.
Using hidden text, hidden links, keyword stuffing, etc. is manipulating search engine rankings. It’s a waste of your time and it can get you blacklisted from search results. Seriously, don’t do it – search engines are smarter than you think!