Google is the de facto search engine, meaning what they want, we give them. Yahoo! and Bing are great tools, but they just don’t have the volume that Google enjoys, and for the most part the algorithms are very similar across the board. As for what Google wants, they’ve never been privy to tell us their search rankings, but we have been able to speculate quite a bit.
- Inbound Links – The original algorithm that made Google what it is today is the one that taught the web how to rank sites by how many links they get from other sites. In particular, Google ranks you by the links you get from authority, reference, and related sites.
They don’t like link exchanges, they don’t like link farms and they definitely don’t like empty pages with unrelated content linking to you. They do, however, like .gov and .edu sites, high Page Rank sites, and content rich sites on your niche linking to you.
- Keyword Density – Keyword density is far less of a factor than it once was, but it still stands out as a big part of the process. You’ll need to ensure keywords appear in your Title Tags, META tags, your headings on the page, and within inbound links you have pointing at your site. Proximity and placement on your page are also important as it shows the relative value of that keyword.
- Outbound Links – Links are fantastic coming in, but they can be valuable going out too. If you’re referencing quality, related sites in your niche, it will show that you’re intent on
providing users with value and information.
- Clean HTML – Messy HTML that isn’t verified and has bad tags will not necessarily hurt you, but it sure won’t help. There are conventions here that are too complex for a short message, but you’ll want to have a programmer clean up any code you use on your sites if it’s old or doesn’t perform well.
- Navigation Structure – Your pages should all be linked so that you can reach any other page on your site with ease. Remove any dead-end links, and don’t have any links nested more than 3 pages deep in the structure.
Quality – More and more, Google’s spiders are learning how to tell if your content is of a decent quality.
Using LSI (latent semantic indexing) and other natural language filters to gauge the way your keywords are laid out and how the content is formatted, they can tell if you’re writing for a ranking or for useful content.The result is that most pages need to be at least 400 words now, keyword density needs to stay below 4% and content needs to be topic related.
Getting high search rankings is a long process that requires an expert eye for content development and keyword planning. However, if you do it right, you’ll find infinitely more value in your organic search listings than any single PPC campaign could ever provide as traffic will pour in repeatedly without any additional cost.
To get the most out of your marketing efforts you need to know what you’re up against…
Traffic Travis will provide that data quickly and easily!
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