Being found on Google is essential to every business
Having a website and being connected to the world is a must, but once you’ve taken that step how do people find you? With millions of websites online it really is like trying to find a needle in a haystack!
Back in the 90’s when there were only a few hundred websites, it quickly became clear that people needed some way of searching all that information and the search engine was born. Competition between early search engines was strong but the results they produced weren’t great, that is until 1998 when Google appeared on the scene.
Google prides itself on providing searchers with the most relevant information and that’s the key you need to understand if you want to appear high up on those results. You must make sure the content of your website is relevant to what people might be searching for if they’re looking for your product or service. If you can do this Google will reward you with a higher ranking.
The exact criteria Google uses to rank web pages is a secret, but there are some well-known guidelines which will help promote your site’s position.
Who links to your site and who you link to
In this instance, Google looks at which sites link to your site and how important it considers them to be. For example, if you have two sites linking to yours and they both receive thousands of hits per day this will give you a boost in the rankings because Google sees this as credibility. On the other hand, if 100 sites were linking to your site and they each only got 10 visitors per day Google would not rate your credibility so highly.
Who you link to will also contribute to your ranking. If for example you sell baby products but all the sites you link to are space exploration websites, Google is not going to consider you as relevant as a competitor who links to other baby related resources.
The key words used on your site
When someone performs a search they use key words like “how”, “to”, “get”, “to”, “number”, “one”, “on”,”Google”. Google will check its database to see which pages contain those words or terms. It also takes into consideration where those words are on your page, for example, if they appear in a title they are going to be seen as more relevant than those in a paragraph. So it’s important to make sure you think about what people will be typing into Google when they search for your product or service. It’s also important to note that if you try to jam as many key words into your pages as possible you will be penalised and appear lower in results. As before, it’s about showing people what’s relevant, just be selective and try to choose the most relevant key words.
How often your site is updated
It’s also commonly excepted that keeping your website up-to-date also helps improve your ranking. This is because Google works by scanning the web and reading everyone’s pages, the frequency of this is determined by how often your site is updated. If Google scans your site and then comes back the next day, scans it again and finds nothing has changed it might leave it a week before it returns. If there is still no difference it might come back in a month or even longer. If Google is scanning your website regularly it will help promote you as a source of up-to-date information and therefore relevant.
Is your site responsive (will it resize for mobile devices)
Since 21 April 2015 Google has advised that it will be penalising websites that are not mobile friendly. Mobile friendly means that it will display well on a mobile device like a tablet or smart phone. If you’re not sure whether your site is mobile friendly or not you can use this Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to check it.
I hope this has helped you identify some of the key areas you need to think about when optimising your website for Google. I’ve used these techniques myself and have had great results. Good luck!