SEO – 5 Ways to Improve Your Google Ranking

Getting to the top of Goggle is an important part of having a website, the development and design of a website will heavily influence your Google placement. Careful planing, well executed design and development will help get you 90% of the way.

Google is by far the king of search engines, the market share is over 70%, Bing has managed to indent this a little. A lot of people use search engines instead of typing in the address directly.

Getting to the top of Goggle or Bing? is no easy task and not something that happen over night, or ever. The aim should be to get to the front page of Goggle over a period of a few months.

Careful design, development, and strategies will help you get to the front page. The key is building a site which is meant for humans using strict XHTML using CSS and JavaScript to manipulate the layout.

The following five sections describe ways to improve your site ranking in the development stage of your site. This list is about setting the foundation for SEO in the development stage and is a major component of a complete SEO strategy. What is not included is the post production tasks such-as links, advertising, and other methods.

1. Strict XHTML

Build your site using strict XHTML. Goggle is a sucker for XHTML, mainly because it makes your site really easy for it to read. Avoid all in-line styling and tables (unless presenting tabular data). Keep all the CSS and JavaScript in separate files to the XHTML. XHTML is about formatting your content completely by the book. By following the strict rules of strict XHTML crawlers are about to easily read your site.

Remember:

  • Close all tags
  • Correct nesting i.e. a DIV cannot be nested in a span
  • Declare the DOCTYPE!
  • Provide alt descriptions of images
  • Only use images for content, not presentation (CSS backgrounds should be used for presentation)

Good practice is to validate all of your XHTML.

2. Logical Flow

Build your site using a logical page flow. This makes it easy for Goggle and Blind people to be able to read your site.

A typical structure of a site is:

  1. Header -> Page Title -> Navigation
  2. Main Content -> Sections with Level Headings
  3. Footer-> Copyright details

Your header should contain the Page Title using a H1 tag and the navigation in a div with the id “nav” and in an unsorted list.

There is a lot of debate about whether the Page Title should be the site title or the page title, I recommend? the site-title and using CSS to replace it with the logo. The Page Title should be a link to the home page.

The navigation should follow in an unsorted list.

The main content should be in a div with the id “maincontent”. Each section should have a heading, h2 for the title, than h3 to h6 for each section. This is about making the content well structured so it can be interrupted correctly despite the device.

3. Keyword URLs (aka Pretty URLs)

Keywords in the URL has exploded. Since Goggle places a lot of value on the URL as a lot of people search Goggle instead of typing addresses in directly into the address bar. The main way I get to NetTuts is a Goggle search.

This practice means making your URLs as descriptive as possible, not only does it help Goggle, it helps humans. For example http://createmy.com.au/news is a lot better than http://createmy.com.au/?p=234.

If you are a doctor in Hornsby you should try to get a domain like the following:

  • doctorhornsby.com.au
  • hornsbydoctor.com.au
  • hornsbydoc.com.au
  • dochornsby.com.au
  • hornsbyphysician.com.au
  • physicianhornsby.com.au
  • hornsbymd.com.au
  • mdhornsby.com.au
  • hornsbydr.com.au
  • drhornsby.com.au

They were all found using Toolnames.com.au in less than 1 minute.

4. Recent Articles on the Front Page

Google loves websites which are updated regularly. The best page for Goggle to know your site is updated is to place new links on the front page. This helps your users and Goggle to see what is new on your site. WordPress and other Blog/CMS tools make this task very easy.

5. Sitemap

It is old-school and works. A simple page with the information architecture of your site helps with indexing the complete structure of your site. This helps users find the content they are seeking and Goggle to all the pages of your site. You should also have a sitemap.xml file too.

Dangers

There is some practices to avoid:

  • Keyword stuffing – Filling up your site with keywords – the site’s content should be written for humans
  • Placing the left-hand-side-bar before the content, use CSS instead i.e. set a fixed width for the content and the side-bar and float the content to the right
  • Using a table for the layout – only tabular data should be in a table
  • Using FONT, CENTER, B, I etc presentation tags
  • Flash’s default HTML output, there is a XHTML version
  • Excess links

After Development

The above is a list while developing your site there is a lot more you can do afterward such-as :

  • Link placement on partner sites
  • Writing blog articles for other sites
  • Advertising
  • Google Webmaster Tools
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