How to get your small business website higher in Google's search results
Getting your website on one of Google's highest [[Search Engine Results Page]s] (or SERP) -- preferably, the first SERP -- is critical for the success of any small business that has a website. Professional Search engine optimization (SEO) or Internet marketing firms that help marketers improve their organic search (a higher ranking on Google or other search engines) can be very expensive to hire. There are many factors that lead to high search ranking results on Google, so no one step can be the answer to everything you need to do to improve your search engine results. However, there are steps you can take that will help you rise on the search engine listings that you can do yourself.
- Create great content: The most important ingredient in having great search results is to have quality, helpful and timely content that your target audience is looking for. Remember, great content = great search results.
- Cross-link it: Whatever content you create on your website is more than likely to be related to previous posts you have made. This gives you the opportunity to create an interweaving network of links where pages with related content have links pointing to each other for specific keywords. Google loves interlinked pages and the sites which have them. It immediately elevates them into sites where a certain amount of thought has gone in the creation of the content itself and because the keywords which link from one page to the other are usually associated immediately with the overall theme and content of the website itself it knows that these are not spam sites (which have no interlinked pages) or amateur sites (which usually throw up one unrelated page after another).
- Digg it: Point your browser over to Digg.com by first, creating an account there and getting into the habit of linking there each of the new page (or post) you create on your own website. Apart from the fact that you increase the chance of them being picked up and promoted by Digg’s own community of news and online content posters you also make sure that Google's indexing bots, which follow Digg links, finds and indexes the page you have put up within 24 hours.
- Facebook it: If you have not yet taken the time to create a free Facebook page for your website, now is the time to do it. Your site’s mention and activities in a social network is one of the metrics Google uses to measure the quality and value-worthiness of your website. Make sure your Facebook page has link to your site content on a regular basis, work a little using your network of online friends and acquaintances to get some fans for it and you will soon find that your content is virally marketed for you as links get passed around Facebook profiles and appear on Facebook friends’ Newsfeeds.
SEO is an inexact science at best. There are many SEO firms out there that make a wide variety of claims. If you decide to go down the route of paying for SEO make sure you get an exact description of what they will do, what the expected outcome will be and what timelines they give you in order to achieve this.
- Google.com Search Engine Optimization resources - Provided by Google as part of their webmaster tools.
- Google's Official Search Optimization Starter Guide (PDF)
- Search Engine Optimization
- Google Webmaster Tools