Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How to Get Good Search Engine Rankings

Everyone who has a website wants it to rank high in the search engines like Google and Yahoo.
A higher rank means more visitors, and more visitors mean more sales, or more advertising revenue.
If the phrase(s) you're trying to rank well for aren't competitive (that is, few other sites are using the same phrase) then getting good placement is pretty easy: Just put the phrase(s) you want to rank well for in the tag and in at least one other area on the page. For some reason this isn't obvious to everyone: I can't remember how many times someone has sought my advice about how to rank well for some phrase, and I check out their page and that phrase is nowhere to be found! A while back a friend asked me how to get her homepage to rank well for her name, which was unusual enough that she should have been at the top of Google with no problems. After I checked out her page I felt like asking her, "And it didn't occur to you to put your name somewhere on that page?!" Actually, her name was on her page, but in a graphic. Google can't read that, they have no idea what words are contained in an image. And her tag for each page that accurately describes that page (no more than about 64 characters).
  • Try to create two new pages every week. If you can't do that, try to do one page each week. At a bare minimum, create a new page each month.

  • As much as possible, your new pages should be unique, interesting, authoritative, and compelling.If you want to rank well for the phrase electric widgets, then make your site the best resource about electric widgets available.

  • Make sure all of your pages are accessible through normal links (i.e., don't use JavaScript or Flash links exclusively).

  • Link to quality relevant sites. After you do so, ask those sites to link to you, but don't make your link to them contingent on whether they link back.

  • Follow standard website design tips and avoid the problems listed on Problem Websites. Your site should be not only attractive, but super-easy to use, and completely free of annoyances.

  • Most importantly, purge your mind of trying to think of ways you can "trick" your way to the top of the results. Do NOT think about the specific nuts and bolts of how a search engine will rank your pages. Instead, build good, quality pages for your visitors, and trust that the rankings will follow.

  • But many webmasters don't get this. They write to me asking such things as:
    • How many times should my keywords appear on my pages?
    • What's the optimum ratio of keywords to non-keywords?
    • Should I seek links from several PR4 sites or one PR6 site?
    • Will doing "X" cause me to rank higher?
    Such webmasters are missing the point. You get good rankings by building a quality site, not by trying to figure out exactly how the search engines rank pages. It's counter-intuitive, but you get good rankings byignoring rankings and focusing on quality. Focus on quality and the rankings will follow. It works the same way in business: If you focus on the money you'll probably make less money. But if you focus on creating a great customer experience then the money will follow.
    But many of you came here hoping to find tricks, so before you dismiss that, consider this: Your site doesn't rank as well as mine, otherwise you wouldn't be here. You want your site to rank better, which is why you went looking for this article. And my site does rank well, which is why you found it. In other words, I know what I'm talking about. My sites are all over Google and Yahoo for a variety of popular terms. When I tell you the best way to get good rankings is to ignore rankings and focus on building your site, it's not just theoretical, and it's not a cop-out: It works, and it works well.
    But maybe you figure that you don't have time to build a quality site, so that's why you want some easy tricks. In that case, your site doesn't deserve to rank well. And don't be surprised when it doesn't. If you want better rankings, you must make your site worthy of those rankings. Look at the sites that are beating you. Assuming you already have good