Want to see your website on page 1 of Google?

The most common question I get asked, when discussing websites with a new client, is “If you set me up with a website I want it to rank on page 1 of Google. Can you do that?” My reply to how to improve the search engine ranking of your website is to either:

  1. Pay them
  2. Work hard

It really is as simple as that if you want to see your website on page 1 of Google. The former ‘Pay them’ may not be an option for many smaller businesses, but if you’re not prepared to allocate some time to creating content then you won’t get very far with success in Search, however pretty your website may look or whatever you’ve spent on having it built/re-designed.

New website or a re-design?

Almost immediate visibility on Page 1 of Search for anything at all is a pretty tall order, for a new website fresh from the press, or even a re-design of an existing site that up to now hasn’t been performing well in Search.

What people don’t seem to grasp these days is that the requirements for SEO, search engine optimisation, is even more demanding now than it was even 6 months ago. Why? Because search engines are now better able to make an assessment of  what’s quality content and what’s not, ensuring they deliver quality replies to search enquiries.

What is quality content?

green tick in checkboxSearch engine algorithms are pretty sophisticated these days and can analyse your web page content and actually compare it with other web pages writing about the same subject; scary isn’t it?

Google publish their own guidelines to improve understanding about what is quality content, as opposed to just content. Therefore if you publish a website page or blog post with SEO applied,  peppered with a certain percentage of key words or phrases, designed to flag up to search engines what the content is all about, you may find it doesn’t perform well. Why? search algorithms can compared similar pieces of web content and compile a hierarchy of ‘value to the user’ (the person asking the question in Search).

Benefit the user and win in Search

During the workshops I run, whether for ‘Planning a successful website’ or ‘Developing effective web content’ I talk about the need to keep the phrase ‘benefit the user’ in the front of your mind for working on every aspect of creating web content.

When applied to building a website, to benefit the user might be about understanding what your website visitor will be looking for when they land on your home page. Creating the right environment to help your website visitor find what they’re searching for quickly and easily will help keep them on your site.

If you benefit the user by creating effective web content, which engages the user, they are likely to then share that content with their social media networks. This creates social signals which are one of the ‘quality criteria’ used by Search algorithms to assess the value of your content. Therefore the more effective web content you create, the more opportunity you will have to benefit your users and also Search, in that order!

Get a blog for Better Listings On Google

Creating content that’s published on a blog is a great way to encourage people to share your content with their social networks. However, in consideration of how to improve the search engine ranking of your website it needs to be an integrated blog, sitting in the same place where your website is hosted.

If you have a website and you have a blog on another platform, such as Blogger, then that is not an integrated blog, rather a linked blog. Why? Because the blog is sited on a different website hosting server than where your website is. This means that when someone shares a blog post on Blogger, it’s great for the blog on Blogger but adds nothing to the quality score related to success in Search.

diagram showing integrated and linked blog models

How often should you blog?

I get asked this question a lot too! My answer is, it depends on a number of factors which are best answered once there is some kind of strategy in place for blogging in the first place!

Publishing blog posts and hoping they’re going to be picked up by people ‘just passing’ is being a little unrealistic if you consider the sheer volume of blog posts that are being published.

Publishing blog posts and hoping that the Search algorithms will consider the content valuable enough to feature it on Page 1 of search results for what you’re writing about is also pretty unrealistic.

What influences success in Search?

There’s another phrases I use on the courses I teach, which sums up the situation of how success in Search is influenced. “Self recommendation is not recommendation” sums up how success in Search is determined. If other people think your content is good then they’re likely to share it (if you’ve provided them with the social sharing buttons to do that). What people think is now mirrored by the quality criteria applied by Search algorithms, for example, is the content:

  • Of greater value to the user than other published web content on the subject
  • Provides better insight into the subject than other web content
  • Is being shared by users to their social media networks
  • Is receiving feedback, via comments
  • Uses correct spelling and grammar

 How to find out how well is your website doing

As part of the services I offer here at Website Wings I carry out website audits for people. These invoke me not only considering their website, but every aspect of their business presence online.

Questions are asked, reports are run and then a feedback session follows. These audits are a great way to gain insight into what can be done to improve what’s online already and what could be implemented to help with success in Search.

Feedback after a website audit

We hired Susan to complete a website audit for us and it proved an incredibly worthwhile exercise. Not only a design perspective but also for advice on converting visitors. Susan spent a lot of time with us, all at a really great price too and I would thoroughly recommend this service

Kerry Purdy – PWM Training (UK) Ltd – April 2014

How I can help you give your website wings!

Consider contacting me, Susan Collini about how I might help you by undertaking a full or a  mini-online-audit to help you improve the potential of your online presence, with the aim of benefitting users and improving success in Search.

You might find the following of interest

Details of teaching workshops delivered by Susan Collini for ‘Planning a successful website’, ‘Developing effective web content’ and ‘Getting started with WordPress’.

Search algorithms – what you need to know 

Think you’ve got what it takes for Formula 1 online marketing?

How to make your website impress Google

What you can learn at the Dentist about websites

Keep learning, stay up to date

The ‘How to improve the search engine raking of your website’ is constantly being updated and you need to keep abreast of what’s new and what you should do.

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