Tips for Increasing Your Search Engine Ranking

Written by geordiejimb

Topics: Internet Marketing

High search engine rankings means a higher volume of search traffic coming to your website, and unless you have a darn good reason not to want it (please let me know if you have one, I can’t think of any good reasons!), that’s what we all want for our websites!

Google Co-founder Larry Page once described the “perfect search engine” as something that “understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want.”

With that being the case, here are some tips to help those search engines understand your blog, and what it’s about in order for you to appear in those search results and to help increase your search engine rankings.

Tips Improve Search Engine Rankings

There are two halves to optimizing your website, as shown in the picture above – identifying your webpages appropriately, and developing keyword rich valuable content, and then getting word out there and promoting it.

There is no point having an awesome website that no one ever reads, and likewise there is no point sending a ton of traffic to a website not worth reading.

Let’s explore both sides.

On-Page SEO

on page seoSearch engines don’t like to be ‘played’ or ‘gamed’; instead, their goal is to find the most relevant content based on the search parameters you entered – including the search term or phrase and any additional criteria you set using search term operators or location and date type information that you might set outside of the search box itself.

With that in mind, you can take your page full of awesome valuable useful content and tweak it such that you tell the search engine exactly what your page is about when your page is crawled for indexing.

Correct usage of your Meta tags, keywords, domain name, title, description, internal links, and external links can all play a role in determining you search engine ranking.

Domain Name

Choose a domain name related to what your site is about, keep it relevant, and specifically choose one that reflects the main keyword phrase you are going after.  If your site is about building your own dog kennel, you might want a domain something like buildyourowndogkennel.com or buildmyowndogkennel.com.

Meta Tags

Correct use of your website Meta tags will help search engines identify what your page is about – keep them keyword targeted and page relevant (remember search engines index individual web pages, not just entire websites).

Create Quality Content

Without any doubt in my mind, the best place to start when looking to obtain high search engine rankings, is to create something that is worthy of a high search engine rank – providing value to your readers and viewers is the ultimate goal, and while it will take more than just this to achieve the rankings you want, solid quality content on your webpage will exponentially affect any efforts you put in afterwards to promote it.

Target Longer Tail Keywords

It’s almost impossible today to achieve a high rank for a single word term, unless it’s a new company name or something extremely obscure, and it’s not really good practice to go after single word search phrases either, because they are generally too generic.

Targeting a longer tail phrase of 3 to 5 words will see a much lower search volume, but the search volume you have is instantly far more targeted – meaning your page is far more relevant for what the searcher was looking for, and that’s the kind of traffic we want.

Conversational Marketing

Search engines like fresh constantly updated web pages far more than old static dusty pages telling you how something was done years ago when the page was built; this is part of the reasons blogs and article directories, and social media sites are so popular in the search engine results.

Engaging your reader base in conversation at the end of a post ensures the content continues to be updated for as long as the conversations carry on.  The more valuable, or controversial, your content is the more comments it will likely gain, and if you are active and replying to those comments the effect grows even further.

Bring in traffic and conversation from your social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook – don’t be shy, ask your followers and friends to comment on your post with their thoughts and feedback.

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Off-Page SEO

off page seoIn addition to your On-Page SEO efforts, you need to work on the Off-Page SEO factors too.  The work done above will greatly enhance the work that follows below – doesn’t matter how many links and how much traffic you get, if your site is full of garbage not many people will bother with it, and those who do probably won’t come back.

Get the site worthy of attention first, and then go grab that attention.

Backlinks

A backlink is simply a link from a website or webpage other than your own that links back to a page on your own site.  The more links you have pointed at your web pages, the more popular they are thought to be by the search engines, and consequently the higher search engine rankings you will get.

There are a number of factors affecting the ‘value’ of the links you get, including:

One-way Links

Trading links with other sites is seen as an artificial link, done for the sake of getting a link for SEO only, and so search engines tend to rank these with less effect than they do one-way links.  It feels more natural to think that someone saw your content and liked it enough to link to it, rather than having traded links.

Link Diversity

If all of your backlinks come from a single source, such as an article directory, the search engine is going to see that.  While every link counts, your site will see better search engine rankings if the links are coming from a variety of sources, different domains (different IP address), different countries, different ‘types’ of site and so on.

If you are manually building backlinks try to switch up the websites you get them from – include some articles, some forum comments, other blogs, website directories, social profiles, and if you are able try to get some education (.edu) and government (.gov) links, as these are seen as authority sites and links from these sites to yours carry more weight.

Link Relevance

Another factor in how much weight your backlink carries is how relevant it is to the webpage it links to.  Not only that; the webpage that the link comes from plays a role too.  Search engines like to see links coming from related topic sites more so than random un-related links, because it’s more natural to link to something relative to the page you put the link on than to link to something random, doesn’t it?

Image our build your own dog kennel site, would it be more natural to have a pet store link to your site from a page about dog care, or would it be more natural to link to that same build your own dog kennel page from a webpage about link building on an internet marketing blog?

Anchor Text

Following on from the relevancy noted above, the anchor text used on the link also matters, and needs to be related to the webpage being linked to.  Ideally you want to be using anchor text that uses your main keyword phrase for the page being linked to.

There are debates all the time about how varied do you want to make the anchor text on your links, and I’ve read arguments to say it doesn’t matter, and arguments that say you want some variety.

Personally I think a little variety feels more natural so I vary my anchor text a little and also use straight URL links as well.  You can use your main keyword phrase, and related terms and phrases to maintain the relevancy while providing some variety.

PageRank (PR)

PageRank is a Google term, and is a measure of how popular, or how much weight and authority, any given webpage carries.  The majority of PageRank is based on the number of links pointed at the webpage, and links coming from higher PR sites carry more weight when determining your overall search engine rankings.

PageRank works on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best of all (Google itself carries a PR of 10).

When you are building backlinks, look for websites and webpages with a higher PageRank to get links from.  If you are submitting articles looking for the bigger directories and if you are doing some blog commenting look for the most popular blogs in your niche.

Don’t only use high PR sites, vary it up and get links wherever you can.

Social Bookmarking

Social Bookmarking sites are a good way to create some backlinks and generate some traffic, especially when other people are bookmarking your content!  Not all Social Bookmarking sites generate ‘dofollow’ links, but for the bigger sites, just having the bookmark there can help get you traffic, exposure, and interaction on your webpage, all of which contribute to your search engine rankings.

I recommend starting with at least Digg and StumbleUpon.

Keywords

Keywords are the underlying factor of search engine rankings, and when used consistently throughout your website and marketing (domain name, Meta tags, post title, in the post body, anchor text links, etc) play a huge role in determine which page of the search results you end up on.

Take time first to identify the best keywords to target, check the search volume and competition – if no one is looking, or there are too many competing web pages you may be better off looking for a different keyword to go after.

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While this list is by no means all-inclusive, it should give you a really good grounding to get you moving.  Following the tips above will improve your rankings, and as with most other activities on the Internet, the more action you take, and the more you do, the better your results will be.

Let me know what you think of this post in the comments below, and if you liked it i’d appreciate if you could tweet it out for me :)

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