There are many factors that play a part in a website's rank in Google including online advertising, meta data, quality of content, internal and external links.
This has to be the question most-often asked of our team. Google is always reviewing their search algorithms to reduce the number of people milking the system. Google have recently shifted their focus away from meta data and links, and are concentrating more on good quality, unique content.
To clarify; the pages at the VERY top of Google with coloured shading behind them are paid adverts (also the adverts down the right hand side of the page). This means that these companies pay Google to be placed there and incur a charge whenever anyone clicks on their advert. This is set up through Google Adwords and is available to any website, you just have to pay for the advertising as you would any other form of advertising. These are called inorganic search results and is a method often used by new websites while they try and build up the strength of their organic search results.
Suggestions: Online advertising can work well for increasing initial traffic to a new site with immediate results. Keep in mind the costs involved and how this is going to fit with your marketing strategy.
Meta data is the information that sits behind your website and tells Google what the content is about. This includes a page title, description, and keywords for what the user can expect to find on that page of your website. To view the meta data currently in place on your site you can go to any page of your website, right click, and select ‘View Page Source’. This will bring up the code that Google sees and somewhere near the top of the page you should see meta name keywords, meta name content, and title as highlighted below. This is the meta data for your page. In exactly the same way, you can see what your competitors have as meta data on their website.
Suggestions: use unique and specific meta data for each page of your website. Contact your web developer or an SEO specialist to put this in place for you.
Google likes fresh and unique content. The more content you have on your site the more your keywords will appear throughout, and the higher the chances of Google ranking your page well for the included keywords. Write content in everyday language that your visitors will want to read – not skewed so it is all about keywords and doesn’t make sense to the average reader. Google’s latest algorithm update penalises material on the web that has been copied; it is best practice to write new content for everything online about your business. Blogs have become popular for businesses as they increase content with fresh and new information on a regular basis.
Suggestions: regularly update the content on your website. Do not copy and paste from other material about your business on the internet. Most websites built today have a content management system where you should easily be able to login and update the content yourself, rather than relying on your web developer to do it for you.
The more links that you have to and from your website, the more valuable or informative Google may perceive it to be. It is a great idea to have a ‘Links’ page on your website which links to the websites of your associations, your suppliers, other franchise locations, or other useful information for your clients. It is also important to have internal links in your site, linking to other pages of your site with more information about a particular topic. The more internal links the better. You will also hear people talking about ‘Link Building’ which involves creating business listings on the thousands (or millions) of directory sites available – with the majority of them being free. These are sites such as Hotfrog and Finda, just remember to write unique content for every listing, a little more time consuming but it will pay off in the end.
Suggestions: spend some time utilising the free directories available, ensuring you add your site URL and unique description. Build a links page into your website if you don’t have one, or freshen it up with new links. Make sure internal pages of your website are linked through to other pages.
Social media, especially Google+ has the ability to influence your websites rank in Google. Conviently, Google+ is owned by Google, which means that Google+ content is likely to feature well in a Google search.The beauty of using social media channels for business, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn are that they generate and share new and unique content.
Suggestions: consider whether social media could complement your marketing strategy. Careful consideration needs to be taken on which channels will suit your business best, and which you are likely to get the best results in.
Above are just some of the ways that Google decides which sites will appear at the top of search results – if you require any further information please contact us today!