You may be new to Search Engine Optimisation or you may be wondering what we, as SEO Consultants actually do to help sites rank prominently in Google. SEO is not a dark art and with some basic principles understood and implemented your website can enjoy lots of natural traffic from Google.
Rank Number 1 in Google Search
Before I go into this though, here are some warnings:
In 2012, Google rocked the SEO boat in a big way by penalising websites (in the form of ranking penalties) for engaging in SEO practices that are outside of Google’s policies. This has continued into 2013 with some high profile websites such as Interflora receiving severe penalties for attempting to manipulate Google’s ranking system.
A crucial part of ranking a website sustainably is understanding how not to get a penalty: it’s actually very easy: If you read or are told about anything that includes any of the following then be cautious (or at least seek the advice of an SEO Consultant):
link schemes, link wheels, link pyramids, link exchange, buying links, article submissions, directory submissions, Press Release submissions, blog commenting and any other “tactic” designed to get you fast rankings.
Now i’m not saying some of the above will not help but you need to understand where the line is: the link between natural SEO and unnatural SEO, step over it and you could find yourself in SEO hell.
Here’s the easy bit:
Take a look at Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, specifically “link schemes”. Links to your website are a huge ranking factor, but it’s how you go about getting these links which can be a problem. As Google states in the above link:
“The best way to get other sites to create relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can quickly gain popularity in the Internet community. The more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it. Before making any single decision, you should ask yourself: Is this going to be beneficial for my page’s visitors?”
Here are your two choices when it comes to link acquisition:
1. Write some articles deliberately for Google, include lots of keywords you want to rank for and submit them to as many link schemes as possible.
2. Write great content for your website, regularly update your blog and write for people that visit your website: give them great information that they enjoy reading, visitors will share this great content within Social Media channels and all of a sudden, lots of great links from blogs, websites and Social Media. Establishing yourself as an authority and thought leader in your field will go a long way to obtaining natural editorial links from industry relevant websites.
Number 1 puts you in prime place for a penalty. Number 2 will lead to long term sustainable rankings.
How do I get my website ranked on Page 1 of Google?
Ok, get ready, here it is…
Make sure your website deserves to be better than every other. Think about it, is your website better than every website on Page 2 and beyond? Ask yourself these questions:
Is my website accessible? Can visitors and Google find what they are looking for and browse without errors or confusion easily?
Is my website relevant? Is your website relevant to what you want it to rank for? Include keywords in a natural, flowing way and make sure your website copy is written for people and not Google.
Is my website of a good design quality? Be objective – does your website look and feel professional? If your website is the Quasimodo of the Internet, rankings will not help you convert visitors to customers.
Is my message getting out there? Are you using Social Media? You should be. SEO and Social Media have converged: using the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Google+ gives you the opportunity to push your content our there and invite engagement. One amazing blog post on your website can quickly reach thousands of people through the power of Social Media.
Understand what Google regards as a quality website, implement this and avoid schemes promising fast results. Understand there is no quick fix – and accept it. SEO is a long term strategy which is perpetual. It’s also worth noting that ranking positions can change almost daily: if you rank number 1 today and tomorrow your not, don’t over react, just be patient and keep creating that great content.
Focus your time on creating the best quality website and awesome content that visitors will find interesting and the rewards will come – it’s no more complicated than that.