I especially like the remark made in this article in the tip: "Google doesn’t recognize the difference between outbound or inbound backlinks." I can never stress this enough to my readers and search engine? optimization clients who are caught up in the "over-ranked" and over-rated game of backlinks!
Google is your friend
At the moment, Google is by far the most popular internet search engine in the world. At the time of writing, Yahoo is the second largest, having taken over a majority of remaining smaller engines (Inktomi.com, Altavista.com, fastsearch.com, alltheweb.com, etc.) through its acquisition of Overture. Bing is the 3rd player, and reported to be developing their own search engine that will produce independent results.
The Google engine and indexes are used by numerous big players like Yahoo, Hotbot, AOL, and Netscape.
Google has a unique way of determining where to place sites in result listings, from top to bottom. They use a technology called PageRank:
PageRank is a system for ranking web pages
"PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B."
Links from any page (internal or external) to your site (primarily your homepage) are called backlinks.
Additionally, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or backlinks, a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves ‘important’ weigh more heavily and help to make other pages ‘important’.
Thus, "important, high-quality sites have a higher PageRank, which Google remembers each time it conducts a search. Of course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don't match your query. So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important, and relevant to your search."
"Google goes far beyond the number of times a search term appears on a page and examines numerous aspects of the page's content (and the content of the pages linking to it), to determine if it's a good match for your query. "
To find out what your site’s PageRank is, you have to download the Google toolbar. The toolbar gives you an easy way to check your backlinks. This can also be done manually on Google, by typing 'link:www.yoursite.com' (without the ' marks) in the search box.
The above excerpts are taken from an article posted by Google, which provides additional background information on PageRank:
How to improve your site listings in Google
Check if your site is in the Google database.
If your site is new or you are still building the site, add your site as soon as possible. It can take up to a month to see your site turn up in Google. This is a rough estimate, as the time period is steadily diminishing. You will turn up much quicker if you are linked to a site which is frequently ‘spidered’ by Googlebots; little robot-scripts that index the internet page-by-page. These robots, which search engines send out, are variously called ‘spiders’, ‘bots’, ‘crawlers’, etc.
Google spiders in particular are called Googlebots. There are different types of bots. A freshbot, for example, visits you on a regular basis if you make frequent updates. The advantage of being visited by freshbots is that your updates can appear in Google on a daily basis: something of a positive version of catch-22. The more content you add, the more often you are visited. This leads to the importance of adding content. This is discussed in detail below.
If you have a link from a site that is often visited by a googlebot, then you can appear in Google within 24 hours.
To determine if your site has recently been visited by a freshbot, do a search on Google for your site URL. Freshtags, which indicate the recent passage of a freshbot, will appear in the search results as a recent date (shown just below the single line of site description). They are not rare, however, like clouds, on some days there are none in the sky.
Find link-exchange partners and check their PageRank, a link from a site with a high PageRank is better than one with an low PageRank. The case has been made that linking to a site that has no PageRank will keep your rank down. This is called linking to a ‘bad neighborhood’.
Optimizing your pages for Google
If you have established one or more links from other indexed sites to yours, your site will be visited by Googlebots.
Googlebots scan the content of your pages mainly by looking at the following items:
- Page title
- Meta description
- All text on your page(s)
- Links to other pages
All these items are of great importance because they should contain your important search keywords.
This is an important conceptual hurdle. The entire internet revolves around the choice of individual words. This process is constantly being refined. It is essential that you are Spartan and accurate whenever choosing your descriptive terminology: words. Try and put yourself in the minds of the people who will be looking for your site. What are the one or two words that they will focus on?
Make sure your title contains your most important search keywords. Do not make your titles longer than 80 characters (more can be considered as spamming).
Google does not index your meta ‘keywords' tag but it does index your meta 'description' tag. Make sure your description contains your most important search keywords.
All text on your page(s)
Make sure your text contains your most important search keywords. More importantly, the pages should focus on your subject, service, product, or area of interest. Put your most important keywords once in your headers, a couple of times in your paragraphs, once in bold once in italic, in your image alt tags, your image names, your url's, etc.
Links to your other pages
Make sure the Googlebot can find its way through your site. One thing Googlebots find hard to follow is framesets. So if you use frames, make sure you have a <noframes> or hidden section where your text and links are located. Adding a sitemap can do wonders for letting Google index your entire site.
Tip: if you have a button on your website that takes you back to the homepage, link it to your domain name (www.yoursite.com) instead of a page called home.html or index.html. Google doesn’t recognize the difference between outbound or inbound backlinks.
Content: update your content as frequently as possible.
The more often you update your content, the more often you will be visited by freshbots. Try to add a page a day if possible. The content you generate should be of high quality. Try to find every angle from which you can discuss or describe the subject your site is about. The point is not to generate poor quality or duplicate material. Duplicate pages will lead to penalization. The point is that Google, for example, loves content. It is a question of scale. Think of the old adage ‘an apple a day will keep the doctor away’. In this case it can be revised: ‘a page a day will send Google your way’. More content, more spider visits, more human visitors, more readers, more pages, etc.
All this will contribute towards strengthening your PageRank and realising a higher position in Google search results. This will lead to more traffic.
Please keep in mind that the above tips, suggestions, and ideas are based on our experiences managing Opentracker. This information is subject to change on a daily basis. Please feel free to write to us about any of the ideas expressed here. We would also like to invite you to visit our forum.