Are there success secrets for Google search?

When a user does a search for something in Google it would seem obvious they’re more likely to click on a link appearing on the first page of results, rather than the second, third etc.  So, it’s entirely understandable that every website client I have asks the question “How do you get to feature on page 1 of Google?” and “what are  the success secrets for Google search?”

Google have just rolled out their latest update to what they call the ‘Panda’ algorithm, which is as cute as it sounds in terms of being able to identify and penalise websites that are trying to cheat their way to being rendered high up the list of search results.

Google and all search engines endeavour to deliver quality, helpful information to user enquiries. Obviously everyone wants to be on Page 1, to attract what they believe will be maximum ‘click-through’ potential and it’s human nature for some to try to cheat, without regard for relevancy or quality of content. For some businesses the lure of reward will long outrun ethical consideration.

Page ranking

The order web pages appear in Google search is called ‘ranking’, determined by answers to several hundred signals contained in a search algorithm. These answers are collected by search engine robots that crawl web content to gather information to take back to Google HQ. Latest research suggests that ‘click-through’ rates are similar from the top of the first few pages of search results, but most website owners will continue to identify view page 1 ranking as their goal.

I’m not going to get bogged down in the incredibly complicated world of search algorithms. Suffice to say the idea behind algorithms is to try to ensure quality content, most likely to answer a user’s search enquiry, is presented to the user.

Google’s investment into continually developing ‘what works for users’ is huge. Why? Because Google has a vested interest in keeping users happy and loyal.

Algorithm updates

There can be over 500 changes to the ranking algorithm over the course of a year. Some elements can change every day! So, how do poor website owners keep up? These days there’s more required for success in search than ever before and the goal posts are constantly moving.

It might be some consolation to understand that these updates are meant to target spammers, those people trying to trick their way to enjoy high rankings. Google wants to ensure the websites with quality, relevant content are the ones rewarded.

If you’re not a spammer then these algorithms and their frequent updates can really help small businesses, as they’re designed to level the playing-field, helping the best triumph over the most powerful players.

Site visitor votes matter

However, the answer to “how do you get to feature on page 1 of Google” isn’t just about you ensuring your content is quality and relevant, but whether your site visitors agree by sharing your content with their social networks, or leaving comments on your blog. Yes, if you haven’t got a blog yet, perhaps you begin to see the relevance of having one now?

Blogging and social media helps page ranking

“Self recommendation is no recommendation” is a phrase I use a lot with my clients these days, in answer to opinion that they “only need a website and Testimonials from satisfied customers”. I’m afraid that while Testimonials on your site are undoubtedly a good idea, they won’t cut muster with search algorithms.

On the other hand, having your content shared on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc. create what are called ‘social signals’; ticks in those all important algorithm boxes.

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Other blog posts that may be of interest

6 tips for blogging

How to engage with social media communities

Can Twitter benefit my business?

Will social media replace the website?

Is social media relevant for your business?


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