Sunday, 25 August 2013

12 Tips to Improve Your Google Ranking

 1. Page Titles Define Your Website

Everything you need your potential customer to know about your business needs to be identified in the title and every page title on your website should be meaningful. You'll easily spot a poorly-optimized site where the front page title says "Welcome" or "Home" or simply has no title at all.
Your title should define your website's content and describe your business because this is what will be displayed in Google's search results. Keep it short (50 chars. including spaces) and give careful consideration to the keywords that define your business, describe what it does and where it does it. 

2. One URL to Rule Them All

If your website can be accessed through multiple URLs you'll likely be penalized by Google seo for "doubling up" on content. Choose your main URL and have all others redirect to that address (your web host should be able to help you with this.) This way search engines won't be trying to figure out which is the preferred URL to present when displaying your site in search results. 
This also applies to your website address with the www prefix, which should also be set up as a redirect (or vice versa depending on your preference.)

3. Content is King

Google analyzes the text content of your site to determine how relevant your keywords are. There are many tricks they use including giving more relevance to text in the first half of the page, text inside heading tags and text linked to other pages within the site. Take time to determine the keywords and phrases most important to your website and make good use of them within your meta tags, headings and image tags. 

4. Get to the Point!

The front page of your website is the most important page. It carries everything a search engine needs to determine your site's relevant keywords. If your front page simply says "Welcome to our Website. Click to Enter" you've not only wasted the user's time with a pointless page to click through, but you're creating extra work for Google to then make their way to your real front page and figure out what destination URL is relevant to users. 

5. Don't Be Evil

Google's search algorithms are fairly well-guarded secrets and all the literature available about boosting search rankings are largely speculative. What we do know is that Google's famous motto "Don't Be Evil" is also applied to webmasters and trying to trick Google will result in severe penalties. While this guide is largely a list of Dos, it's also worth mentioning some Don'ts:
  • Don't load up pages with keyword lists that are the same colour as your background
  • Don't deliver different content to Googlebot than you do to regular users
  • Don't load irrelevant keywords in your meta tags
  • Don't load up multiple title tags (called title stacking)
  • Don't keyword-spam your file names
  • Don't list your website URL on link farms
  • Don't pay to get your site listed on high-PageRank sites
Doing any of the above could get your site banned from Google. 

6. Linked Text Counts

When you link to pages within your website the text you link is counted as keywords used to describe that page. Instead of simply using "click here" to links, try adding a more descriptive phrase. 

7. Control How Google Describes Your Site

Meta tags are HTML tags in your web pages that are hidden from the viewer but used by Google to fetch a useful description to display for your site in their search results. Without a meta description Google won't be giving your website the best representation as it tries to put together its own description from content on the site.
It's recommended to give each page on your website its own meta description instead of using the same across all pages, as this will give a relevant description for deeper search results.
Note: Depending on the user's search query, for relevance Google may display snippets of content from your page instead of the page's meta description.

8. Flash is Not So Flash

Flash has its uses, but it is also prone to misuse. Many creative types build their entire website in Flash, with no regard for the fact that Google can't extract any text content from Flash. When you present text content in Flash you are reducing a search engine's ability to index keywords for your site, so make sure to only use Flash where absolutely necessary. 

9. A Picture Shouldn't Say a Thousand Words

As with Flash, Google can't extract text content from images. Believe it or not there are still some websites around that use images for their entire text content! Images should never be used in place of text, especially with the flexibility of Style Sheets to present headings in any format required.
When using images for logos, graphs, photos etc. always include a descriptive Alt tag because Google indexes these words, not to mention people who are unable to display (or see) images will appreciate your accommodating them. 

10. Quality Links Count

Google's original algorithm for determining a site's relevance was (and still is) to analyze the volume of incoming links to a site. A site with a lot of incoming links is considered an authority of sorts. If a "high authority" website then links to a "low authority" website then that website's credibility gets a massive lift and increases its rank.
What spawned from this concept was masses of link farm websites that Google eventually found a way to discredit, and in fact, penalise the websites listed on them. There is great value in getting links to your website through link exchanges, but they must be quality links. Using this model it's easy to see how providing expertise content (just like this guide) on your website will attract incoming links and boost your rank.
Note: If you allow users to post comments on your website always ensure that any links posted include rel="nofollow" in the tag so Google doesn't count links as recommended by you.

11. A Clear Site is an Organised Site

It's not just users who appreciate clear site navigation, with Google using folder structure to determine what is the most (and least) important content on your website. As an example, a link on your site with 5 sub-folders before the file name will be treated as content with lesser importance than a file with only one.
Google appreciates short and descriptive folder and file names (as will your users) and uses them (along with your Domain) to determine relevant content in search results. 

12. If You Can Measure It, You Can Manage It

Google provide two excellent tools to track your web site performance: Google Analytics, which is a web-based website statistics and traffic tool; and Webmaster Tools, which focuses on your site's performance as it relates to Google, for example, how your keywords rate in search results, how many clicks your site's received etc. It will also help you identify any problems encountered during indexing.