Let’s talk about Google and how it works, as many people forget that Google is a robot that crawls the internet and applies a set of algorithms to rank data in its search engine. Google itself is not a person or a set of people. It is a robot that crawls the internet. The people who will be visiting your site are human, and thus what appeals to Google might not appeal to your users. Google Inc has done a fantastic job in aligning what a person searches for and what the Google Bot shows in the Google index. The Google algorithm, which SEO consultants spend most of their time trying to crack, determines how sites will rank in their search engine by determining over 200 factors.
Factors Google Considers
Google breaks factors in assessing where your site should appear in the search engine results page (SERP) by addressing on the page (internal) and off-page (external) factors surrounding your website. While these are both important, hundreds of other articles are available on the internet about these topics. When you are first getting into Search Engine Optimization and Web Development, I find it is a lot more important to address web design, usability, and functionality of your website from a user and search engine friendliness perspective.
When you create content for your website, you must make it relevant to what people are searching for. Grouping content into your website’s areas allows you to pick up search engine traffic for many searches related to your main topics. It is important to consider your website will likely grow in size in the coming months and years, and you will likely be adding more content and features. This is one of the most overlooked features that isn’t taken into account in a web design.
The layout of your directories and the internal linking structure of your site will also play an increasingly important role in your site’s success as it grows. Google factors into account the internal linking structure of your site when determining search results, so defining your internet linking structure around a few main keywords is an important consideration.
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Building Links to Your Site
The easiest way to quickly increase your search engine rankings is to text inbound links to your site. Google ranks sites based on the number of relevant links that point to a site. It’s a bit like high school all over again; if your site is in the popular and “cool” website network, you will be ranked higher in the SERP’s, and if you are in a bad website link network, you will have trouble getting indexed and crawled by Google.
There are many ways to get links to your website. From posting on a site link this one to exchanging links with websites related to your own, using social media sites, putting content on other sites and blogs, and running an affiliate program. There are many more ways to do this, and this is really scratch the surface of the possibilities.
The key with links is to make sure that the website linking to you is a creditable source and not engaging in any spamming or unethical business practices like seeing it and those associated with it banned from the search engines. An example of this was a company I worked with that had a blog, and it didn’t have spam protection and was overrun with spam comments. By getting rid of the comments and asking Google to re-index the blog, they could reinstate their traffic.
This also points out that you should always keep an eye on what you are being indexed for in Google. In one case, a well-known SEO company appeared as number one for “Search Engine Spam” because they haven’t kept an eye on the negative keyword matching of their content. Google now has a tool called Google Alert that you can use to have them alert you when something happens that may negatively affect your business.
Lastly, do not just focus on optimizing for Google. Focus on Ask.com, Live.com & Yahoo as well because they might generate high converting traffic for you. Although Google is the powerhouse of search, Yahoo is still the most trafficked site on the internet, and Windows Live is aggressively expanding its reach into the search market and is the fourth most trafficked site currently. If you want to expand your presence on the web, then learning search engine optimization is your best bet unless you can afford to hire a savvy SEO consultant.