How Can I Improve My Web Site Ranking in the Search Engines?
How to improve a Web site’s ranking is a common question asked by many Web site owners. That question has complicated answers. This article is intended to give some insight into this question to a Web site owner who does not maintain his or her own site, and may not be familiar with all that goes into improving a site’s ranking.
Many years ago there were some tricks and techniques that could be applied to help drive a site to the top of the search engine rankings for particular search terms. Over the past several years Google has been constantly trying to eliminate the special “tricks” that many Webmasters used to use to improve rankings. Google’s position is that they want Web sites with the very best content on any given subject to appear at the top of the search results. They want searchers to have the very best experience possible. Unfortunately, they alone define what that means. It is very important to understand that what is considered acceptable and unacceptable to improve a site’s ranking changes over time; sometimes a great deal.
White Hat vs. Black Hat Techniques
Some of the old techniques and tricks are now considered so inappropriate by Google (“black hat” techniques) that they will penalize Web sites that employ them. Penalties can result in sites being seriously demoted in the search rankings, even completely banned from the Google index so that the site will never appear in search results. A few of the old techniques that Google now penalizes include (Make sure your Webmaster or SEO is not doing any of these!):
- “Keyword Stuffing”; using your target key words as a certain percentage of the total number of words in your site copy.
- Invisible or semi-visible text; Another very blatant way of stuffing keywords into Web page code and copy without being completely obnoxious to viewers, only to spiders crawling the entire page code. This is done using a number of techniques.
- Buying/selling page links; since links to your site from other Web sites is a primary way to boost your sites rankings, this has always been a major goal of Webmasters seeking better rankings. However, it must happen naturally. That means other sites link to your site because it has the very best content on your subject matter, and therefore it creates the need for other to pass that info along. Buying links from “link farms” or engaging in other unnatural link schemes is seriously disliked by Google. Google’s policy is explained here.
- And, there is so much more, but you get the idea…
Don’t Put Your Web Site at Risk
Google is constantly changing and evolving what they consider to be “best practices” in Web sites. Keeping up with their latest ideas and philosophies is a full time job for conscientious SEO’s. Do not let anyone work on your Web site that is not completely informed of Google best practices. We all know that there are people on every street corner who can build a WordPress Web site, and just as many who can hand code a beautiful HTML site. However, there are very few of those casual Web designers who understand all the detail and nuances of these best practices. Be very careful! I have been quite surprised lately at the Web sites build for important clients by a couple of supposedly very reputable agencies in the LA area.
Keep These Points in Mind
Anyone seeking to improve the rankings of their Web site needs to be aware of several realities:
First, as discussed above, there are acceptable techniques for helping your site perform better in the search engine results. However, many SEO’s practice black hat techniques, unfortunately. As a Web site owner, it is absolutely in your best interest to avoid these techniques at all cost. Some Webmasters use thes techniques because they are malicious, and some use them because they are ignorant. It will not matter to the search engines why those techniques were used; they will simply penalize your Web site. Search engine penalty recovery is a significant business earning those that do it a very good living.
Second, achieving better Web site ranking in the SERP’s (search engine results pages), takes a lot of time and work. After that it takes elapsed time for Google to discover and index your site after you have spent all that time and energy getting keeping your site fresh, current, and the very best of any on your subject matter. There is simply no way around doing the hard, consistent work of creating great content, and doing all the right detailed things to make your site rank well.
Third, it takes a much greater investment to create and maintain a serious Web property these days than ever before. For many years we have been used to just spending several hours designing a nice Web site, finding nice images for it, and writing good copy. Maybe even putting up some videos. Perhaps also creating some special purpose forms for the convenience of our customers. Then we simply hosted this on a Web server and went on with our lives. Having a Web presence that allows your market to find you and your offerings is simply a much more costly endeavor these days.
It Requires a Lot More Investment These Days
One of the key components to a quality site that Google will rank well is current content. Also, it is vital that this content is of very high quality. That means that your content should be the very best information available on the subject that your site addresses. That means content must be constantly created and published on your site. It’s no secret that it takes massive amounts of time and effort to create this high quality content. No simple matter, to be sure.
We are always to help you improve the effectiveness of your Web properties by improving your search engine ranking. We only use reputable, white hat, best practices. Contact us if you need help improving your site’s ranking.