Getting to the top on Google Search is of course something that every website owner or company aspires to. Being ranked top of Google search can bring excellent benefits and is also an accolade to be taken seriously -
anyone offering you services that guarantee getting your site to rank first in Google Search results (fist place on Google) is essentially promising you the premium advertising spot in any vertical market. It is worth thinking about that for a moment. They are promising to put you in the Internet equivalent of Piccadilly Circus and that means putting you in front of the biggest players in your industry. Well what does that mean? Well it means that the biggest players will have to take a step back to accommodate you and they won't like doing that very much. They would instantly lose a significant share of their online revenue to competition that they may not even be familiar with. In light of this we should perhaps go over a few points so that all of this is put into context.
Firstly the probability you have to appear top on the Google search engine results page depends entirely on what is being searched for. If you specialise in hypnotising
field mice then you are pretty likely to be at the forefront of the Google search 'hypnotise (hypnotize) my field mouse' as this is a fairly specialist search term. If you offer freight services across North America or Indian food in London, England then your chances are made drastically smaller by the thousands of others (many of whom are paying specialists) competing for that Google first place spot on 'Indian takeaway' or 'Indian takeaway food in London.'
So, if you wish to get to be at the top spot on Google SERP you must first decide what terms you wish to be ranking at first place for.
Because of fierce competition of all of these search terms by companies offering Search Engine cOnfusion (SEO), the Google Search engine is being constantly refined and updated in order to stay ahead of these companies in what is referred to as SEO - (Search Engine Optimisation really). Optimisation is simply how those who practice SEO prefer to think of it, but to Google it is really a plague of unending problems thrown up by the SEO market, designed to corrupt their search engine, which seeks solely unbiased relevance and clarity. In other words what we expect to see when we search for a term on the Internet. The Internet is now, after all, an infinite Internet space, impossible to remember as a whole in our own human mind.
The Google Search engine is, of course, essentially a massive database of the Internet stored on Google computers in warehouses spread around the world. This database is populated by information recovered by spiders' or 'robots'
that essentially surf the web on our behalf. They refer the web pages (in the main part, as far as search is concerned, the text component only) back to the database which is then indexed so that it can be searched quickly by and for Internet users.
SEO is the art of manipulating the Google analysis engine (the analysis algorithm that decides which pages are most relevant) to get certain pages to the Top On Google rather than the page which Google had decided was the most relevant. And so the search engines operators refine their criteria for relevance constantly, as they are forced to by those who would misuse it in the name of commerce. This is of course all good business and nothing for anyone to be ashamed of as money has always been fought over and that is not likely to change anytime soon.
The conclusion? Anyone who tells you that they can get you to the top on Google for relevant search terms in your own market without a great deal of investment and hardship has either already discovered that you hypnotise field mice for a living or is not disclosing the whole truth.
Our attitude to SEO is one of clarity, value of content and of humour! We also believe in getting people excited about a web resource (resource is an important term here - it is always good to be useful!) Excitement helps to get other people pushing you (posting your URLs and company name) towards the top on Google via social media. We also believe in careful and intuitive updates for your Twitter and Facebook audiences - your web pages should feel like celebrities. Once a 'buzz' has been created around a service or site then you will find your website, your business and your lively-hood traveling in a more favourable direction.
Finally of course there is the matter of user trust and sometimes (and I realise this is not such a popular concept amongst many of our fellow SEOers) a good and relevant domain that allows people to
feel that you have invested in your Internet identity, and that you are here to stay. This is something that search engines often overlook, but a good honest domain name often helps people choose you above the top on Google spot simply because they can make sense of the link.
So how do you get started with your website rankings and climb above the websites of your competition?
Here are our Seven Golden Rules to get you closer to the Top On Google
- Make sure you have 'optimised' your website content by reviewing section titles - make sure the sections are designed to be read by, and engage the interest of a person. OK so we hear this every day on your average SEO website, but what does it actually mean? Well the search engine is a very busy little robot (yes there are loads of them really) and so it appreciates getting information in an obvious and straightforward pattern. In other words it likes headings and indexes that explain what each section is about. Once it knows what a section is about it can look at the links to that section and decide from human behaviour how relevant to the heading that the section is. So what action should you take? You should start out by reading the pages on the Google webmaster sitemap and organise your content into sections based on subject. Organise the text copy that you have into subsections based on each heading and then divide the sections up into pages. The pages should share a common theme. You can then give the page a relevant title and description so that people and search engines can find it easily and identify it as relevant. We are now on the way to appeasing the Google information ethic. Make sure that your internal links are relevant to each subsection they point to, so that readers and search engines will be able to easily navigate your site. Your internal site navigation is as important to Google as their own search results; they want the reader to be able to find the correct content within your site once the search engine has brought them there - this is after all the whole point of Google search.
- Remember that the most important factors regarding SEO Copy are simply clarity and engagement - keep the reader reading and everything else will follow.
Engagement is the attention span draw of a website. If Google sees a new or edited site it may send that site up the SERP rankings on a popular keyword or phrase (based on that website content) for a small period of time and see how long people spend on the site or wether they bounce away within a few seconds. The amount of time for which your site holds a user's attention is an indicator of relevance to Google. They use this data instead of a computer evaluation to decide how relevant a site is. It is a better evaluation than any computer could ever derive and people are telling them for free.
- There is one thing that everyone agrees on and that is the aim of the Google search engine, and that aim is relevance. Relevance
has been the buzzword in SEO for over 10 years and this is because if Google doesn't find you relevant content, you are going to start using another search engine. And all of this is fine, the only difference in opinion is on how Google measures relevance and which techniques effect rank the most. Our rule is simple - give as much as you can, or have time to. You will never fit everything you know into your website anyway, so people will always come back to you. The act of populating your website with as much quality content as you can is the best form of advertising; it immediately shows generosity and generates trust and validates your knowledge. The advantage of this is that when a prospect finally contacts you, they are in the perfect state of mind to do business with - ready to listen.
Use Traditional Marketing and Advertising
- Marketing is marketing - affiliate networks are all very well but the websites involved will only be interested in swapping links with sites that hold equal or better site rankings on Google. To get real a real leg-up on the rankings will require you to
target a specific website and find someone to take out for lunch and sell to. You need to explain what you do best and offer some services
in exchange for an anchor link (a link that includes your chosen keywords or key-phrase) pointing to a relevant landing page on your website. You need to get people coming to your site using
traditional methods and get feedback. Scour the social networks and find out what people think. You can then update and improve until people start enjoying your content. Remember that the social
networks are free market research and that the data is easily recovered simply by searching.
Exploit Every Media Type
- Look across the top of the Google search results page (SERP) and what do you notice? All Maps Videos News Images More. These are the results categories that Google have detected people are currently most interested in and that get people where they need most often. This is great free information to be used to climb the SERPs. You should therefore be treating your web presence in this order. 'All' means the web in general but the others are fairly obvious. You need to be on Google maps so make sure that you have updated your Google business places and that you have started a brand for each business you run from any venue. This can all be managed under your business places Google account. It is worth getting a custom URL for Google Plus on each of these as Google plus is improving in quality all the time and is now faster and more convenient to use. Make videos on Youtube and other sites that are relevant to your key-phrases or markets and link them to your site with anchor links videos stills and then post these on Social networking. Post decent and attractive images on your site with suitably relevant filenames and titles that will link back to your site.
- Keep a regular blog on your site - this is linked to services like Google news and most importantly, Flipboard. These services are looking for updates linked to different areas of business to populate their newsfeeds regarding each vertical market etc. and so they are hungry for content to fill a large colection of subjects. If you are blogging on your own website it immediately gives you material to share to social media networking every day which will be a relevant anchor link to your own website. Revise your website constantly. Google want to know that your material is up-to-date and if the content is updated with sensible opinions and good value offers, you will maintain your readers' interest and keep a social network buzz going.
Use the Right Tools
- Use the right tools to help you maintain your digital marketing and online presence. Hootsuite allows you to track all of your social networking accounts in one place and on one screen. For a small monthly fee you can coordinate Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus as well as many other networks. You can also keep all of your company pages on each network coordinated by having a separate stream of notifications all on the same page. If you are using Google Chrome you can download the Hootlet which will enable you to easily post to your chosen network without needing to copy and paste links etc. More details can be found on our social networking post. You can also look at Flipboard and similar websites which can offer categorised news snippets for your chosen subjects that can be useful to fill blogs when you do not have a lot of time. If you have chosen subjects relevant to your line
of business you can easily port articles to your social networking pages.
- Google is always interested in how many people are using your site and how much unique content is being added. This means that the more activity with forums and blogs, or whatever, shows Google that things are happening, which means your site must be relevant to someone, or they wouldn't be adding content. This is another example of the type of ranking Google prefer to use - they just watch human behaviour, exactly as they do with engagement - which, although is not impossible to fake, is infalable as it simply analyzes human interaction. If you can get a great site with enormous possibilities for user interaction, then you can get unique content for free, which is exactly how FaceBook and instagram work.