We often get asked one of the following two questions: How do I get my website to appear on Google Search; and how do I get my website to appear higher up in the search results for a specific term?
This is known as SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), and in this article I will try answer both those questions.
Getting a new or unlisted website added to Google’s search results
This is fairly easy. Google will pick up your site over time, but you can speed up the process by signing up for Google Webmasters and manually submitting your site there. Signing up there is highly recommended even if Google has already indexed your site because it gives you some useful information about your website from Google’s perspective, and it also provides some helpful tools to improve your SEO.
How to improve your rank in Google’s search results and show up first for related search terms
The answer here is a bit more complicated. In short: there is no guaranteed way to show up first for a specific search term without paying for it (via Google Adwords).
Although you can’t guarantee your ranking on Google, you can do a few things to improve your relevance.
- Make sure your website code is clean and that all the basics, like meta tags, keywords and descriptions are in place. Wherever the HTML spec has the option for a title or alternative text, these should be populated with relevant information.
- Your website should be mobile friendly. Google will rank mobile friendly sites higher than their non-mobile-friendly counterparts.
- Website speed matters. Google has placed a lot of emphasis on user experience, and the search engine will favour websites that offer quicker loading times.
- Write useful content. Google has some of the best minds and deepest pockets of any company in the world, and they use an incredible amount of those resources developing algorithms that will find the most relevant and most useful content for the search term being entered.
- This point is quite closely related to the point above: Let your website be a resource to your prospects, industry, and area of expertise. A blog is a good way of achieving this, and by writing this article we are practicing what we’re preaching.
- Links to your website are an indicator to Google that your website is an authority on a particular topic. You can’t force quality links to your site, but by following the points above, you will hopefully gain some links over time.
- No matter how well you execute the steps above, it will take time to build your ranking. It’s in Google’s best interest to prioritise websites that are not only a good resource, but ones that have stood the test of time as well.
Those are some of the most important things you can do to improve your search engine ranking, but before I end this article, I would also like to encourage you not to make a few of the common mistakes people make.
- Don’t try to trick Google. Some of the best software engineers in the world spend their days making sure that quality websites make it to the top. You’re not going to beat them at their game.
- Avoid littering your pages with keywords and writing content for bots, at the cost of human readability. Yes, you want to have keywords in your article, but no one wants to read the same line over and over again.
- Don’t pay for links or try spam other sites with links to your site. Not only will it just get you banned from most websites, blogs, forums, etc. but it will won’t yield results. The value of the backlink is based on the quality and relevance of the website linking to you. So it’s quality over quantity.
- Don’t be a victim of SEO scams. If a company promises to get your site to the top of Google, they’re promising something that they can’t guarantee and it’s an excellent sign that you should avoid them.
I hope this article has been helpful. Please feel free to ask any questions or share your experience in the comments.