Setting the Stage
According to comScore, the leading source of analytical data about the internet, Google has cornered sixty-seven percent of the online searches done in the United States, as well as the majority of searches done internationally. Furthermore, several e-commerce studies have shown that search engine traffic coverts better than any other source of online traffic. People searching for something specific in a search engine already know what they want, and if they find it at the site they click on, they are more likely to buy it. For online businesses, this means that ranking well in Google is an essential part of any online marketing strategy.
Businesses building a new website, as well as businesses trying to create a better presence online, often don’t understand all the steps that are necessary to rank well in Google. The owners of these businesses may read about various search engine optimization strategies but whey they try to apply them, they may miss crucial steps to make them succeed. To rectify this situation, you will find a step by step tutorial below on how to rank a website in Google.
Step 1: Get a Good Domain Name with Good Web Hosting
Yes, “free” sites are available from Weebly.com and from Google’s Blogger.com. However, to rank well in Google, you will need to register a domain name and find good web hosting for your website. Don’t worry, this is quite inexpensive. Check with Levaire.com for reliable web hosting. (Oh WAIT!! That’s US!!) Be sure to register your domain name with a reliable service. Often, it’s easier to get your domain name through your hosting company where everything can be managed by one entity you trust.
Don’t worry if your target keywords are not in the domain name as Google no longer gives this much weight. However, you should try to get a domain name with a primary common extension like .com. You can also use .org if your business is a non-profit or .edu if you plan to run an education site. However, Google no longer gives a ranking advantage to sites with domain extensions like .biz or .info. You should also keep your domain name as short as possible so that people looking for information in a search engine will be able to view the entire domain name as well as the directory structure of your URL. Google will truncate a URL if it is too long.
Step 2: Create At Least a Dozen Pages Initially
When you put up a new website, make sure you create a minimum of a dozen pages right away, more if you can. We’ve heard one-page websites almost never rank well in Google. (Yes, that’s what we’ve heard. Ehem.) Also, with a dozen pages, you will have eleven internal links pointing to your home page right away. Google counts internal links pointing to a page, similar to how they count external links pointing to a page. The more links pointing to a page, internal and external, the higher Google will rank that page. Some people call links to a website “link juice,” with more links pointing to a website equaling more link juice.
Step 3: Add To Your Content Slowly and Steadily
Many business owners put up a website and then just let it stay stagnant. They do not add additional pages for months or even years. However, you should keep in mind that Google strongly favors sites that add a steady stream of new pages. In fact, if you add a slow constant stream of new webpages, this is better than adding a large number of new webpages all at once. Once a site is indexed by Google, it sends out its Googlebot spider frequently to see if new pages have been added. If the spider detects that new webpages are consistently added over time, Google will reward the site by ranking it higher in the search results for relevant keywords and key phrases.
Step 4: Be Sure to Change Your Webpages Regularly
A good gardener regularly tends to their garden. They pull weeds. They prune plants. They till the soil. In other words, they maintain their garden so it will grow more beautiful and prosper. Google favors sites that are tended to on a regular basis just like a good gardener tends to his or her garden. Google determines how regularly a website is maintained by checking to see how often pages are modified. This doesn’t mean big chances necessarily. Make sure the changes you make add something of value and make sense. Some websites have a special message that they change with the season and/or holiday. Also, you don’t have to make big changes. You can just make small little tweaks on some of your pages to see a huge improvement in your Google search engine rankings.
Step 5: Design Your Website as a Magnet for Natural Links
While link juice is great for improving your Google ranking, not every link provides the same amount of link juice. Google’s engineers constantly modify their algorithm to distinguish between the highest quality links, quality links, and poor quality links. If you can achieve a natural pattern of quality links, plus get a few high quality links, you can seriously improve your Google rankings. This assumes, of course, you don’t have links in bad neighborhoods, i.e. you don’t have links on websites Google has identified as suboptimal pages, pages with spam and/or thin content.
To achieve a natural pattern of quality links, you need to remember that achieving quality links in a natural way takes time. Therefore, if you pay for instant or automated link building techniques, you should not expect to get your money’s worth. In fact, as a matter of point, if Google’s spider discovers multiple new links that point back to your website that don’t follow a natural pattern, this may result in your website being demoted in Google’s search engine rankings. It may also result in your site being banned from Google. Alternately, if you provide useful resources on your website, users of these resources will build natural links to your website that will show up as a natural pattern in Google’s eyes. Surfers who discover good resources often post the URLs to these resources in online forums, on their personal blogs, on their social medial pages, and on their websites. A link to your resource(s) could even end up in a print magazine that then gets hyperlinked and archived on the print magazine’s website.
Website resources that draw natural links can be in a variety of forms. These include original articles that provide useful hard to find information, tutorials and FAQs, fun and quirky content that makes people laugh, original photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, honest and informative reviews, useful YouTube videos such as product demonstrations of cooking demonstrations, “how to” tips, a fishing report, a surf report, a real estate forecast, or anything else you can think of that would be useful and/or fun and that people will want to recommend to others. Ask yourself, “If I discovered this resource, would I want to tell others about it?” If in your heart of heart you know the answer is yes, then your resource will likely attract natural links but you’ll have to be patient for this to happen.
While it may be difficult to be patient and wait for your Google website rankings to improve naturally, methods that focus on the long-term cultivation of a website will ultimately rank a website better in Google than almost any quick method you come across. Although some fast methods do deliver high Google rankings right away, this is almost always short-lived as Google usually views these methods as a form of spamming. Thus, the next time Google updates their algorithm, they will usually deflate any ranking advantages obtained by fast methods that are not earned by building a quality website. Sticking to the five steps outlined above will put your website in good standing over the long-term which is ultimately the best thing for your business.