What are the best ways to improve a site's position in the Google search results?
Here are some rules I follow:
- Try not to repeat content.
- Try to get linked from other, relevant and high quality websites.
- Try to make sure your outgoing links are relevant to the content of your site (rel="nofollow" for ones that aren't, such as ads).
- Give each page a relevant (and unique) title.
- Add in a meta description to each page describing the contents or purpose. Keep in mind that meta descriptions are not used as much today.
- Mark up your site using schema.org, if applicable, to display rich snippets.
- Build a sitemap for your website and submit it using Google Search Console (but be aware of their limits).
- Keep content unique and relevant to your website.
- Use HTML correctly (<hn> tags, titles and alt attributes on images).
- Try to use relevant keywords in the URL.
- Ensure a fast load time.
- Use HTTPS for everything.
- Make sure that your site is mobile friendly and use the mobile friendly test.
Generally, if you follow these rules, your domain will naturally rank better with Google over time. If you try to speed this process up, using things like keyword spamming on your website, this is likely to be picked up and blacklisted by Google so avoid this wherever possible.
A lot of people look for technical tricks for SEO and ignore the big picture. You need both. Your SEO (and business) strategy is every bit as important as SEO tactics. There are more than 200 SEO factors that go into rankings, but here are a few of the more important SEO factors that I've experienced, both tactical and strategic:
- Have a website worth visiting. If your website isn't designed for users first, most of the time it won't do well in the search engines.
- Do your keyword research using Google's Keyword Tool. I guarantee that you're missing out on traffic opportunities if you don't do this (and most people don't). Take 5 minutes to make sure that your content is hitting the most popular search terms for its subject matter. It's worth it.
- Make a bigger website. Backlinks matter and internal links from your own pages count. The easiest, surest, and most efficient way to get backlinks is to increase the number of pages on your site. The bigger your search engine footprint, the more weight you have to throw around. This is one of the reasons blogs are recommended for SEO.
- Get your title right. You get 65 characters to create an on-topic incentive for the user to click on your search engine listing. Use the opportunity wisely. Your best keywords should be in the title. However, it's not just about using the right keywords; it's also about catching the user's attention while still signalling that your page is going to be relevant and helpful to them. Use Michael Masterson's Four U's Method: Be Unique. Be Useful. Be Urgent. Be Ultra-Specific. Stronger titles use more U's. Remember that your title is often used by social media sites to link to your page as well.
- Get your anchor text right. Use keywords that are also helpful to your users. Never use the infamous 'Click Here' or 'More...' text as a link.
- Get a handle on duplicate content. It's far too easy to
create duplicate content.
http://www.example.com/are all considered different URLS. URL parameters also create duplicates:
http://example.com?b=2&a=1are both different URLs. Use Apache or whatever server you're using to manage your redirect rules so this doesn't happen. This needs to be a consideration from the beginning and should be solved both programmatically and with server redirects.
- Don't waste time asking for links. There is no bigger waste of time and money, IMO, than emailing other websites offering to do link exchanges. Think about the time spent searching for relevant websites, emailing, responding, and implementing a link exchange. What's your hourly wage? Now think about economies of scale and how many times you have to do that to make a discernible difference for every page of your website. There is no way that you can possibly come out on top. There are easier ways to get links.
- Viral content works. But you need to use it wisely. Not every announcement on your site is going to be or should be viral. It has to make sense and it needs to be well-thought-out. Ask yourself objectively, why would someone link to this? If you can't think of a good answer, you should go back to the drawing board. Again, the 4 U's help here.
- Incentivize linking. A great way to kickstart a viral campaign or even a more moderate but steadily growing external link profile. Think contests and giveaways, but also think Stack Overflow's badge widgets.
- Build a community An audience of loyal readers will link to and share your content naturally. User-generated content increases your website's footprint and also incentivizes linking.
- Remember the big picture. Why are you doing SEO in the first place? What is the purpose of your website? It's easy to focus so much SEO that you lose sight of what you're trying to do. If you're trying to make money with your site, don't forget that you also need to focus on the usability, the design, the copy, the offer, the product, the checkout process, etc. SEO is only a small part of that.
Edit: Incidentally, one of the reasons Stack Overflow does so well in the search engines is because it has an enormous community that continually produces keyword-laden pages. It gets a lot of the basic tactical SEO right too, but this is an excellent example of big-picture thinking that most people ignore. SEO is built into the design of the community as an extension of the way the community functions. That wasn't an accident.
To boost your rank:
- update site regularly
- get good back links over time
- use Google Keyword tool and Google trends to see what content is most relevant
- make your site accessible
- make your site light weight and use less http requests
- link to great websites
- use more content then HTML
- use friendly URLs
- use a domain that is up in years
- link to page within your own site
- provide a robots.txt and sitemap to Google Web Master tools
- post quality over quantity
- optimize your website for users not just search (kinda odd but true)
- use web standards
- use microformats, RDFa, ARIA and schema.org.
Search engine strategies are designed to find the best or most relevant content, not just the loudest. If someone finds a way to trick the search engine and get high rankings today, it will likely not work tomorrow. Don't make the mistake of trying to outsmart the search engines — good pages with good content, structure, and standards support will always win.
Here is some new advice from Google:
Avoid these common mistakes
Having no value proposition: Try not to assume that a site should rank #1 without knowing why it’s helpful to searchers (and better than the competition :)
Segmented approach: Be wary of setting SEO-related goals without making sure they’re aligned with your company’s overall objectives and the goals of other departments. For example, in tandem with your work optimizing product pages (and the full user experience once they come to your site), also contribute your expertise to your Marketing team’s upcoming campaign. So if Marketing is launching new videos or a more interactive site, be sure that searchers can find their content, too.
Time-consuming workarounds: Avoid implementing a hack rather than researching new features or best practices that could simplify development (e.g., changing the timestamp on an updated URL so it’s crawled more quickly instead of easily submitting the URL through Fetch as Googlebot).
Caught in SEO trends: Consider spending less time obsessing about the latest “trick” to boost your rankings and instead focus on the fundamental tasks/efforts that will bring lasting visitors.
Slow iteration: Aim to be agile rather than promote an environment where the infrastructure and/or processes make improving your site, or even testing possible improvements, difficult.
Six fundamental SEO tips
Do something cool: Make sure your site stands out from the competition -- in a good way!
Include relevant words in your copy: Try to put yourself in the shoes of searchers. What would they query to find you? Your name/business name, location, products, etc., are important. It's also helpful to use the same terms in your site that your users might type (e.g., you might be a trained “flower designer” but most searchers might type [florist]), and to answer the questions they might have (e.g., store hours, product specs, reviews). It helps to know your customers.
Be smart about your tags and site architecture: Create unique title tags and meta descriptions; include Rich Snippets markup from schema.org where appropriate. Have intuitive navigation and good internal links.
Sign up for email forwarding in Webmaster Tools: Help us communicate with you, especially when we notice something awry with your site.
Attract buzz: Natural links, +1s, likes, follows... In every business there's something compelling, interesting, entertaining, or surprising that you can offer or share with your users. Provide a helpful service, tell fun stories, paint a vivid picture and users will share and reshare your content.
Stay fresh and relevant: Keep content up-to-date and consider options such as building a social media presence (if that’s where a potential audience exists) or creating an ideal mobile experience if your users are often on-the-go.
Here's even more advice from Google in 2019:
Content and quality questions
- Does the content provide original information, reporting, research or analysis?
- Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
- If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
- Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
- Does the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerating or shocking in nature?
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
- Does the content present information in a way that makes you want to trust it, such as clear sourcing, evidence of the expertise involved, background about the author or the site that publishes it, such as through links to an author page or a site’s About page?
- If you researched the site producing the content, would you come away with an impression that it is well-trusted or widely-recognized as an authority on its topic?
- Is this content written by an expert or enthusiast who demonstrably knows the topic well?
- Is the content free from easily-verified factual errors?
- Would you feel comfortable trusting this content for issues relating to your money or your life?
Presentation and production questions
- Is the content free from spelling or stylistic issues?
- Was the content produced well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
- Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
- Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
- Does content display well for mobile devices when viewed on them?
- Does the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
- Does the content seem to be serving the genuine interests of visitors to the site or does it seem to exist solely by someone attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
The absolute best way to improve your position in Google is to have many other websites linking to your site. This is why text links in blogs are so popular — Google uses them primarily in place of meta tag keywords, as they're usually more accurate.
As described by tnorthcutt, having lots of relevant content is also helpful, as Google can read and associate your site with its content. Additionally, in an ideal world, having lots of relevant content will cause others to link to your site.
To answer the question directly, the only ways for a page to gain high rankings in Google are:
- Be relevant for the search term. This means having relevant text/keywords on the page (including the title, headings and URL).
- Have lots of links pointing to your page, preferably from quality sites that are well-ranked themselves.
That's not to say the other answers posted are wrong, but they are all indirect versions of those two key rules. Having the best and freshest content means you will naturally gather more links over time. (Although I'll concede, the new "speed factor" doesn't really fit either of these criteria.)
If you want your site to be ranked higher, you need to know what factors (called rankings factors by the SEO folks) are used by Google to rank sites.
A lot of research is continuously conducted to determine those factors, and to keep the info updated. For example, this table is updated all the time:
The Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors - http://searchengineland.com/seotable
SEO rankings factors are normally split up into:
- Off-page ranking factors (backlinks, social shares, etc.)
- On-page ranking factors http://www.searchenginejournal.com/on-page-seo-factors-which-ones-have-the-most-impact-on-rankings/40926/ (site structure, canonical URLs, navigation, keywords, meta data)
- Other signals
- Author rank http://www.seobythesea.com/2013/03/googles-agent-rank-author-rank-patent-filing/
- Compliance with mobile SEO standards http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2013/06/changes-in-rankings-of-smartphone_11.html), etc.
However, simply knowing what should be done on the site is not enough. You also need to know HOW to do it (as in, how to build backlinks, how to specify canonical URLs, etc.)
So, if you’re planning to be optimizing your site yourself (which is an ongoing task), it’s better to read a comprehensive SEO tutorial. There are many free ones available online:
- Google’s guide to SEO http://static.googleusercontent.com/external_content/untrusted_dlcp/www.google.com/en//webmasters/docs/search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf
- SEO Book - http://www.seobook.com/
- SEO in Practice http://www.seoinpractice.com/
AND, do not forget that search engine algorithms do not stay the same for too long.
Particularly, I’d look into the changes that occurred after "Penguin":
and "Panda":http://searchengineland.com/google-panda-to-be-integrated-into-the-search-algorithm-panda-everflux-151528 updates.
These have changed the way many SEO “best practices” work and made a lot of SEO advice on the Web outdated.
These are both just from personal experience, so take them for what they're worth:
Ensure that your site is reliable. If Google picks up a lot of error codes when indexing your site, you may see a decrease in your placement in the results.
Don't change too much at once. If you're constantly churning your site structure, titles, in-text keywords and other factors, Google doesn't ever get a chance to "settle in".
Work with all On page and Off Page optimization for your targeted websites.
Content must be unique with competent terms. Get top quality back links from only relevant websites with do follow and also get some no follow links.
Whenever you get links from other websites please check the following criteria:
Page Rank; IP Location; MozRank; Domain Age; LRD; PA & DA; Check Irrelevant links is found ignore it and etc...,
Be relevant for the search keywords. This means having relevant text/keywords on the page (including the title, headings and URL).
Have lots of links pointing to your page, preferably from quality sites that are well-ranked themselves.That's not to say the other answers posted are wrong, but they are all indirect versions of those two key rules. Having the best and freshest content means you will naturally gather more links over time.
According to a study conducted by MOZ last year cite, Google's algorithm breaks down in order of importance:
- Domain-Level and Link Authority
- Page-Level Link Metrics
- Page-Level Keywords & Content
- Page-Level, Keyword Agnostic Features
- Domain Level Brand Metrics
- User Usage & Traffic
- Social Metrics
- Domain-Level Keywords
- Domain-Level, Keyword Agnostic Features
Each of these are described below:
Domain Level Anchor Text = These features describe anchor text metrics—both partial and exact match—about the root domain hosting the page. For example, for the page www.test.com/A, these features are for anchor text links pointing to *.test.com, not just page A.
Domain Level Brand Metrics = These features describe elements of the root domain that indicate qualities of branding and brand metrics.
Domain Level Keyword Agnostic = These features relate to the entire root domain, but don't directly describe link or keyword- based elements. Instead, they relate to things like the length of the domain name in characters.
Domain Level Keyword Usage = These features cover how keywords are used in the root or subdomain name and how much impact this might have on search engine rankings.
Domain Link Authority Features = These features describe link metrics about the root domain hosting the page (e.g., for the page www.test.com/A, these features are for links pointing to *.test.com, not just page A).
Page Level Anchor Text = These features describe anchor text metrics—both partial- and exact- match—to the individual page (e.g., number of partial- match anchor text links, exact- match links).
Page Level Keyword Agnostic = These elements describe non-keyword usage and non-link metrics features of individual pages such as length of the page, and load speed.
Page Level Keyword Usage = These features describe use of the keyword term/phrase in particular parts of the HTML code on the page such as the title element, H1s, alt attributes, and more.
Page Level Social Metrics = These features relate to third- party metrics from social media sources such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the ranking page.
Page Link Authority Features = These features describe link metrics to the individual ranking page such as number of links and MozRank.
See the chart there for a breakdown of each by percent.
There are some basic rules to increase your Google rankings
Offer the absolute best content on specific keywords that you are targeting.
Get links from highly trusted sources, especially if they are related to your niche.
Have text and image rich pages. Google wants to read words that it has never read before, and it wants to see amazing images related to a specific topic.
Dominate your niche. If your page or site is about "cupcakes", google wants to send traffic to the absolute, most trusted "cupcake" websites. Dominating your niche is not an easy task to achieve. But if you can do that then you are sure to rank for keywords in your niche.
Have strong user engagement on your page. When google sends users to your page, if Google finds that the user's metrics of time on page, clicks, shares are high, and bounce rate is low, Google is going to realize that users really love your page. And it is going to send you more traffic. Figure out how to make pages that organic search traffic visitors will absolutely love.
Have an incredibly high click through rate in the SERPs. When a user searches for "Vanilla Cupcakes" and clicks on your page about vanilla ice cream cupcakes but does not click on someone else's page of vanilla frosting cupcakes, Google realizes that users want "Vanilla Icecream Cupcakes" more often when they are searching for "Vanilla Cupcakes" and Google will start ranking your page higher than the page about "Vanilla Frosting Cupcakes" in the search results. In other words, make sure users are clicking on YOUR page when they see it on Google search. This can be done with having a great url such as example.com/vanilla-icecream-cupcakes, as well as having a great title and description. If you are in position #4 for a specific keyword, and users are clicking on your result much more often than usual, Google is going to start ranking you #3, #2 and so forth.
There is no definitive answer and all answers will be completely opinion based.
Keyword meta tags are NOT used in search engine ranking. If you would like a more definitive answer see the following post here.
The best thing you can do is:
1.) Keep adding fresh content, comments and blog posts and create RSS feeds for Google and submit these as sitemaps to Google.
2.) Keep all content unique and don't duplicate content. Google is currently fighting to keep all content on there search engine unique and non-duplicated. So make sure you add canonical links to your page. See here to learn how to do so.
3.) Make sure your website is responsive. Google also wants sites to display fast and correctly on all devices and you may be penalised if your website is too slow on mobile device.
4.) H1 tags, Meta descriptions, titles, and Meta Tags. This said, with meta tags not being relevant, it won't hurt to make them relevant to your content. However have one and only one H1 tag, and make sure it is relevant to your content. Same goes for your meta description and title tags.
5.) Website speed is an important factor. Google recommends that all websites should load in less then 2 seconds. In this case make sure all images are optimised, don't load unnecessary resources, set a cache in your .htaccess, enable persistent TCP connections, add gzip to your resources, and combine all off your
CSS files into one and minify them, same with you
All my suggestions are of my own opinion and they are all onsite optimisation. You will be required to gather relevant backlinks but make sure you don't participate in a linking scheme. Please also note that bad links and spam content can potentially harm your website causing much bigger issues.
Social Media can also be a good source of traffic and can be used as a very powerful SEO tool if used properly.
The main point would be: Don't expect results overnight, this process will take a very long time and it may take a lot of work and time before you start seeing results. Make sure you target the right keywords for your site doing research on your target keywords, analyse your competition, what are they doing that you aren't doing, how many backlinks do they have. None of this however will guarantee you a top spot. If it was that easy then everyone would be doing it.
The best place to start is by looking here, as this is written by Google and will advise you on the best practices.
Google and algorithms are all from humans concern.
you should abstract from the idea of following rules and indications but instead, think on your own and what would be the best for your users (readability, accessibility, ...).
For the technical part (charset, metadatas, content elements ...) this would overcome with the time while you feed your experience, again if you code in good manners and use a well-written syntax then Google won't mess with your website...
IMHO, SEO is a MARKETING word...
For those who want to improve their search rankings results in their local area. i,e LOCAL SEO
- For local ranking try to host your website in same region or country.
- Generate some back-link from locally hosted website
- Participate in local communities / forum Get your local bloggers to
- write about your business / product
- Relevant keywords in the text of the article
- sites linking to your sites with the same keywords
- h1/h2 tags
- Relevant title
- Relevant URL
- meta tags
- link text — http://www.google.com/?q=click+here
This is also personal experience: I recently made a tutorial on the topic of iPhone UINavigationControllers on my own own site and found it was the number one Google result for "uinavigationcontroller" after about two months.
In my experience Google bases a lot of its rankings on uptime, load time, HTML of the actual site, having a Google sitemap and signing up for the Google Webmaster Tools.
<P> HTML tags, ensure 99% uptime and heavily cache the site so it loads in less than a second or two. Then watch where you're going wrong with the webmaster tools.
And try using the Stackoverflow trick — put the keywords first in the title, then the name of the page.
To get listed and rank well in Google, you need to follow certain easy guidelines.
Identify keywords ( long tail - less competition) and content should be able to resolve user queries or services good enough to keep users engaged.
For example: users visits those sites frequently where they get desired object ( information and or entertainment)
Encourage others to share your content if they like it.
- Properly formatted page and it should be responsive.
- Optimized meta tags like Title ,Description, Language, Encoding etc
- Images with
- Links and Anchor with titles and Anchor text.
- Use of Suitable Schema.
- Engage users with relevant content, newsletters, freebies, forum and personalized offering.
- Keep updated with latest trend in your industry as well as in Digital Marketing.
- Submit sitemap(content,image,videos), remove old page, remove bad/Spam links to you.
Present yourself in structured and authoritative manner, delight audience
It will definitely help you to get ranked well in users.
Search Engines aimed to deliver good results to users for their own benefits(reliability,loyalty) therefore you will also get benefit for nice presentation and content.
ok, after trying a lot of search what i understood is the following:
1) all the sites promising SEO enhancement, SEO evaluation(like checking your page for problems ect) are BS.
2) just mantain a good website, without too many errors, with H1 tags, and other meta(basically what GOOGLE SAYS, nothing else)
3) be famous. that's it. i think they have some magic to understand which sites are important, no matter what's the content on the site. so there is age, it's not actually the age of the site, but how famous it is. i think google considers a lot how many users SEARCH for that site(like inputing the exact name of the site), its alexa rank, and other things like that. i think they are trying to lower link building possibilities, and actually looking through the web i saw much worse sites, with really bad coding, bad implementation, bad everything(like really bad things, even ecommerce sites without carts! you had to email them for orders!) in first page, even in first position for some keywords, and the only thing they had was a much higher alexa rank(and much older, like from 2004 or something like that).(really not even mobile site!)
Most of the major points have been covered by some great answers by community members. I would like to add few more :
Frequent/Massive Use of Webmaster tool:
Webmaster tool gives a great indication of how your site is behaving w.r.t search engine and gives you all the indications which are must fix. Also this gives you lot of things like crawler's crawl rate, crawl errors, sitemap indexing etc that should be regularly monitored and fix for best seo health.
Try to increase user time span / dwell time on your page:
Try to add more interactive elements on your page that engages user and increase his dwell time on your page, which makes your page more relevant and increases chances of ranking well.
Proper use of canonicals:
Canonical should always be added on a page as if not added cralwer takes current url as the canonical / parent of the content. This will hurt if this url is allowed to open in both http/https + with different parameters like in advertising campaigns.
Adding canonical ensures passing proper attribution to main url.
Also add them in case of pages with similar content.
Try to avoid unnecessary/redundant pages:
All the pages you create should have content that matches the prospect / purpose of the page.
If you have a page that talks about topic A, then the content should focus around A. I have seen a lot of websites where just to increase content unnecessary pages are created.
Keep less pages with strong content.
Wherever possible keep some content on page that changes regularly
Some dynamic content like user generated content like reviews / any other dynamic content increases crawling frequency and also increase interaction on your page
Content is King.
- Make a website with a lot of relevant information to the subject of the site.
- Spend a lot of energy posting new material, articles and updates and videos etc. In the end, Google will evaluate your website content and how much people are interested in your content.
- Make sure your website follows the proper standards for SEO and has all tags, keywords etc.
- Make sure you name all files with relevant filenames, images etc as well and that the filenames have relevant keywords.
- Make sure you have 'title' and 'alt' for every link and image and file etc.
- Verify your domain ownership and everything around it with Google, Bing, Yahoo etc.
- Add your site to all webmaster accounts.
- Add google analytics on your site.
- Have one or several sections of your website that are updated on a regular basis. The more often, the better.
- Make sure the updates and articles etc are relevant and have a fair amount of new information and images etc.
- Create Social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc) and update them often with links to your site.
- Create a Youtube channel with videos and have links from those, to your site. Make sure the videos are relevant to your subject and contain information.
- Go around the web and be active in other communities and forums and groups, especially related to your site subject. And once you gain credibility and people trust you, post backlinks to your site in a helpful way. Do this often but without being abusive or obvious. Earn your right to post the link to your site.
- Be dedicated and don't stop changing and upgrading your site. Work on it and add new stuff often.