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Ten things to get you to the top of Google

The best time to think about how you’re going to optimise your website is before your build it.  The second best time is right now.  So here are ten things you need to do to get your website climbing the Google rankings.

  • Choose your keywords.  The first and most important thing is choose the key words and phrases that you want to optimise your site for.  You must do this first.  Google those phrases and make a note of where you appear for each one.  This is your starting point, you will now be able to measure the success of your SEO work.
  • Plan your content.  For every key phrase you’ve chosen you will need at least one page of content.  By having a page dedicated to a single key phrase, you increase the chances of successfully optimising it because you’re not diluting the content and you will be able to focus on honing it without worrying about how it will affect the other search terms.
  • Get your website ready.  Start thinking about your website from Google’s point of view.  It needs to be easily read by a robot as well as a human.  This means using the latest HTML5 code and making sure everything is laid out in the optimal manner.  Google will reward you for making its life easier.  Google also rewards speedy websites, so do everything you can optimise your site’s performance.  Google Webmaster Tools has some great features for doing just this.
  • Write your content.  Remember the most important thing: Google wants to return the best source of information for any search.  That means you need to turn your website into a detailed resource.  A couple of paragraphs is not enough.  Use all of your industry knowledge to write the most informative content that has ever been available online.  And keep that key phrase firmly in mind, don’t blindly repeat it but make sure it, and it’s synonyms, are there.
  • Get your headings and meta tags right.  Think carefully about your headings.  Your main ‘h1’ heading should be the key phrase you’re targeting for that page.  Your secondary ‘h2’ headings should expand upon it.  The same goes for the meta tags.  The meta title should be the key phrase, the meta description should be tight and easy to read whilst still containing the target search terms.
  • Submit everything to Google.  Make sure all of your content is being submitted to Google. Whichever way you choose to do this make sure you include all the new content that you add to show Google that your site is a regularly updated, going concern.  This will hopefully increase the frequency with which Google indexes your website, making the effects of future SEO work easier to spot.
  • Put your business on the (Google) map.  This one is really important if you’re targeting local business.   Google will return local businesses when it feels it’s appropriate so it’s vital that you tell Google where you are!
  • Link everything.  The single most important factor Google uses to calculate page rank is the number and quality of backlinks a website has.  So get out there and create as many as you can.  There is lots of low hanging fruit that you can target easily.  They might not give the greatest results but every little helps.  Google also rewards good internal linking, so take the time to add them to your text.
  • Start blogging.  Blogging is a really great way to get people to link to your site (and get them there in general, but that’s another topic).   It also gives you fresh content which shows Google that your site is a going concern.
  • Add at least one new page every week.  Google is looking to deliver the most useful information relating to a given search, so it’s your goal to provide that.  Turn your website into an encyclopaedia.  Make it the number one destination for information about your market.  Not only will you be rewarded in terms of ranking, but by having more pages, you increase the number of search phrases your site targets, allowing you to cast your net ever wider.

In Conclusion

You might have read this article looking for that one secret tip to see your website zoom straight to the top, but unfortunately no such digital elixir exists.  Search engine optimisation boils down to the regular application of effort in the direction of pre-designed goals.   If you put these ten points into action, you’ll be well on your way to reaching the top.  It can be a long climb and there are no shortcuts but it’ll be worth it in the end.

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