Google isn’t the only search engine, but it’s certainly the most popular. It’s common to hear people talk about Google rankings, but you hardly ever hear anyone mention Yahoo or Bing rankings. Google is where most of the action is.
But Google is also infamous for changing their search algorithms and sending websites packing to “not in the top 100” for trying to game the system. What does Google want and how can you give it to them without getting in trouble?
I used to think Google was an unfair and evil empire, but I have come to realize this is not the case at all. At the end of the day, Google wants you to have a great website that provides value for your visitors. That’s all they’re trying to do: find the best websites for a given set of keywords –websites that add real value to their product –the search engine. Can you blame them? Everyone benefits.
What Google Wants:
1. Relevant content: If someone searches for the term “vacation rentals”, they shouldn’t end up at a website dedicated to spaghetti sauce recipes or something worse! Is your content relevant to the subject matter?
2. Original content: The idea here is to invest the time to add some real value. Don’t copy, make your own content. If you’re not a great writer it is okay. You can do it. Sit down and write out an outline of what you want to say. Then just fill in the outline points. It’s not easy but the hardest part is to just start. If you need help seek out the assistance of someone who is a better writer. Develop some unique content that explains exactly what it is your business offers.
3. Multi-Media: Text is great, but there are other ways to provide information and entertainment to your web traffic. You can make “how to” videos on Youtube for example and put these videos on your website. This is a great way of creating some unique content for your website visitors if you don’t like to write.
4. Quality backlinks: If you have a great website, others will link to your website. Google crawls through websites and keeps tabs on the links. It considers how many links are pointing to your website; and considers the quality of those links. A link from a prestigious organization is generally more valuable than a link from an unknown individual.
5. Fresh Updates: While a website doesn’t necessarily have to be updated daily, a website that’s been stagnant for 6 months is going to lose points with Google. Keep your website current by posting additional, unique content regularly.
What Google Doesn’t Want You To Do:
1. Spin content: If you’re not familiar with content spinning, it’s the process of taking web content and changing it just enough to evade Google’s ability to recognize it’s the same content. It used to be a common black hat SEO technique to use software to create 100+ copies of a post or article and disseminate them all over the Internet. Not anymore . . .you WILL get caught. If fact, I recommend that you don’t post any articles anywhere in duplicate. This is not what Matt Cutts, Head of Webspam at Google means when he says be careful of duplicate content (see this video). Nevertheless, it’s not worth risk to circulate your article to hundreds of places on the internet. If you are asked to do a guest blog, make it a unique article just for that website . . . not a duplicate of an article that already exists on your own blog.
2. Keyword Stuffing: Keyword usage should be kept between 1-3% in most cases. It’s not unusual for people to stuff as many keywords as possible into their web content. It’s not only borderline unreadable, It is obvious you are trying to manipulate search results and it doesn’t work anyway. Do put your keywords on your website. Do repeat them. Don’t insert the keyword 15 times in one paragraph.
3. Purchase Backlinks Off E-bay and Other Sites Selling Bulk Backlinks: Google wants a website to accumulate backlinks naturally. Your rankings are on the line so make sure when someone links to your website they are related to your industry. You can see who is linking to your website in your webmaster tools. If you see links that look like spam (are from a disreputable website) you can use a disavow tool to get rid of it. Here is a video on how to use the Disavow Links Tool here.
In a nutshell, Google frowns upon any attempt to artificially make your website rank higher than it should. My Advice? Give Google what they want — find a creative way to add some real value on the web and they will include you in their search results — simple as that.
For more information on the new search engine optimization and developing quality, unique websites and content you can visit my website here or call and I will be happy to discuss it with you.