Category Archives: SEO

How to get a Good Google Listing

Getting a good listing on Google is pivotal to your website’s success. A few tips on how to go about getting your Google listing higher up the rankings.

Getting a good Google listing for your website isn’t nearly as hard as people make it out to be. You simply contact Google’s World Domination Department, pledge your undying loyalty and support, sign over rights to whichever of your children tests as the brightest and allow certain “testing” on your vital organs and…

Okay, I’m kidding. It’s way harder than that to get a good Google listing.

Get a Good Google Listing: What Makes for a Top Ranking?

If it were just one thing that would give you a top ranking in Google, then it would be easy and everyone would do it. This would, of course, result in everyone having a high ranking, which is quite the conundrum.

To begin to understand how to approach getting a good ranking in Google, it’s best to go right to the horse’s mouth. At Google Webmaster Central there an article, a couple of paragraphs long, called simply, “Ranking”. It gives one specific method to increase your ranking, which since it is coming directly from Google, it might be good advice to heed: “In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.”

Getting good inbound links is key. Okay, so how do you go about that? Glad you asked:

Get a Good Google Listing: Get Quality Inbound Links

The best method for getting high-quality inbound links is to have excellent content on your site. If your website is informative and offers something attractive to others, then your inbound links will naturally grow as other sites find you and link to you.

Outside of that, you can exchange links with sites of a similar niche. If your site is brand new, more established sites may not feel they will receive equitable pop from Google by linking to your site, but if your content is good, they may trade with you anyway.

You can pay for links, but if you do, be careful that they are actually good quality. What that means is, you should only pay for a link on a site that is similar to yours in its niche, and that isn’t a junk site. Don’t put your link on a place that is just a series of links or otherwise doesn’t offer any good, original content.

Get a Good Google Listing: Domain Name, Titles and Page Names

It is very important that your domain name be reflective of the words someone would use in a search engine to find your site. If you want to sell widgets and crackers and your name is Bob, then bobsplace.com would be a lousy domain name. However, widgetsandcrackensbybob.com, or better yet widgetsandcrackens.com, would be perfect. People looking for your product aren’t searching for Bob, they are searching for widgets and crackers.

Make sure you title your pages in the same manner. The title should contain the keywords likely used to find your product or service. If you write blog pages, make sure the title of the blog posting incorporates itself into the web address. For example www.widgetsandcrackens.com/how-to-split-a-widget-or-cracken

You can actually omit the throw-away words, such as “a” “to” and “or”, but make sure those pivotal keywords are in the URL.

Getting a good Google listing is manageable; it just takes time, effort and study. Start with these tips and you’ll be on your way up Google’s rankings.

Optimizing Retail Websites for Maximum Search Rankings

Getting a website to rank on the first page of search listings is critical in a site’s ability to be seen. Here’s how to get maximum ranking every time.

Getting a website to rank on the first page of a search, and ideally, within the top three listings, is not just important to a retailer, it’s critical. “Very few searchers will look past the first page,” says Matt Kain, chief revenue officer at The Search Agency. “Even on the first page, the lion’s share of the clicks — something like 40 percent — goes to the No. 1 result, and the difference between positions 1 and 2 could be a significant drop-off.”

Preparing a Site for the Highest Possible Return

One expert recommends starting with a complete site and searches audit. “We look at architecture, page construction, content, link popularity, and web server configuration,” explains John McCarthy, director of SEO for digital agency WebMetro. They then prioritize areas for improvement by ROI.

Rob Garner, senior strategy director for digital agency iCrossing, says that the best time to optimize a website for search is when it’s being built, because “it can cost 10 times as much to re-engineer later.” He recommends staying away from rich media applications such as Flash and Ajax that make it difficult to rework tags after the fact.

The first step to gaining maximum search engine exposure is to ensure that all content is indexed. “Meta tags” are a description of the content that includes a title, author, keywords and an explanatory sentence, among other information. Very often, when a site comes up in a search result, it is the meta tag description that appears, so it is critical that meta tags be precise and informative, Garner says.

Kain adds that the most important thing to consider with meta tags is the title and of that, the first few words.

Also important are “alt attribute” tags. If a person visiting a webpage has images turned off, the alt attribute tag allows them to see a text description of the picture — i.e., “iPhone case, black leather, flip top”, rather than an empty box where a graphic should be. Alt tags, Kain says, as well as the directory file path for the image itself should reinforce keywords and phrases the page is relevant for.

Improving Site Rankings

Site rankings can be improved by writing detailed and descriptive content. “A site will never rank on page one for a broad category like ‘high heels’,” Garner says. A description such as ‘dark brown peek-toed pumps’ has a better chance of generating a higher ranking. Google’s Website Optimizer is helpful for testing keywords to see how they will rank.

Also, the content should look natural. Rather than repeating words, add unique content such as an editor’s product review or links to sites with related information, such as health and fitness articles next to running shoes. Search engines consider all of that content in determining rankings. In addition, graphics should be a label with the same level of detail, rather than “image1.jpg”.

McCarthy recommends ‘latent semantic indexing’, which means using other words to help define a primary keyword phrase. For example, “If I talk about shoes, the search engines don’t know what kind. If I mention stirrups and a saddle, you know I’m talking about horseshoes; Mustangs and Raybestos, you know I’m talking about brake shoes; with Nike and Puma, ’m talking about running shoes.”

Finally, pages can only be optimized for so many keywords per page. A page is not going to rank first for both “cellphone case” and “squirt guns”. Choose the one with the highest value.

Next Steps

After optimizing content, there are two additional strategies worth considering. The first is uploading content to Google Base. Google Base is a free database that helps search engines find content. It accepts both XML and Excel spreadsheets for one listing or thousands. Yahoo! offers a similar product.

Another key to elevating search rank is securing links from suppliers, partners and other sites, such as enthusiast groups or related events.