How to Improve Your Website's Google Ranking

Google's search engine, www.google.com, uses a variety of methods to determine which pages are displayed first in the results. Their exact formula is a secret, but there are a few things you can do to improve your positioning. The term for this is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

These tips may not make your website the first one to appear in the list, but they just may help you move up a little. No matter what you do, make sure you make a site that you want to visit. If you're gaming the system, sooner or later Google will figure it out and change their formula. You'll end up plummeting in the search results and wonder why.

Ignore spam and websites that offer to submit your website to hundreds of search engines. At best these are wastes of time or money and at worst they can actually hurt your ranking.

Keyword Phrases

Rather than focusing on a single word, try adding a few words to make a keyword phrase. You may want to read about effective Google searches to see how keyword phrases help with searches. Don't overdo it. If it looks spammy, it probably is.

If you were searching for your own website, what keyword phrase would you type into Google for each page? Would you look for super fast widgets? Would you look for cooking with widgets? It may be helpful to get a different perspective. Ask someone else to read your page and suggest what they think your keyword phrase might be. You can also check Google Trends to see if one phrase is starting to gain popularity.

Try to stick to one subject per page, and stick to one keyword phrase per page. That doesn't mean you should write stilted text or use odd phrases. Clear writing is both easier to search and easier to read.

Density

One of the things Google looks for when it catalogs pages is the density of the keyword usage. In other words, how often the keyword occurs. Use natural phrasing. Don't try to trick the search engine by repeating the same word over and over or making text "invisible." It doesn't work. In fact, some of that behavior even get your website banned. Read more:Google Dont's - Bad Tips and Dirty Tricks That Will Get You Banned.

Give a strong opening paragraph that says what your page is actually about. This is just good practice, but it may help search engines find your page, too.

Name Your Pages

Give your pages a descriptive name with the attribute. This is vital. Google displays search results as a link using the Web page's title. A link called 'untitled' isn't enticing, and nobody is going to click on it. When appropriate, use the page's keyword phrase in the title.</p><p style="margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px !important;">Learn more about <a href="http://google.about.com/od/searchengineoptimization/qt/titleseoqt.htm" style="color:#3366cc;text-decoration:none;outline:0px;border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px !important;font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin:0px;padding:0px;cursor:pointer;">why titles matter</a>.</p><p style="margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px !important;"><br _moz_dirty="" /></p><h3 style="margin:1.5em 0px;font-family:inherit;font-weight:300;line-height:40px;color:inherit;text-rendering:optimizelegibility;font-size:12px;font-style:inherit;padding:0px;text-decoration:inherit;">Link Early, Link Often</h3><p style="margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px !important;">One of the biggest factors Google looks at is the hyperlink. Google looks at both links to and from your website.</p><p style="margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px !important;">Google looks at the words you use in links to help determine the content of your page. Use links within web pages as a way to emphasize keywords. Rather than saying, "click <a href="http://google.about.com/od/searchengineoptimization/" style="color:#3366cc;text-decoration:none;outline:0px;border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px !important;font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin:0px;padding:0px;cursor:pointer;">here</a> to learn more about SEO" you should say: Read more about <a href="http://google.about.com/od/searchengineoptimization/" style="color:#3366cc;text-decoration:none;outline:0px;border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px !important;font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin:0px;padding:0px;cursor:pointer;">SEO (Search Engine Optimization)</a>.</p><p style="margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px !important;">Learn more about <a href="http://google.about.com/od/searchengineoptimization/qt/hyperlinkqt.htm" style="color:#3366cc;text-decoration:none;outline:0px;border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px !important;font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin:0px;padding:0px;cursor:pointer;">why hyperlink names matter to Google</a>.</p><p style="margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px !important;">Links from other websites to your website are used to determine <a href="http://google.about.com/od/searchengineoptimization/a/pagerankexplain.htm" style="color:#3366cc;text-decoration:none;outline:0px;border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px !important;font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin:0px;padding:0px;cursor:pointer;">PageRank</a>.</p><p style="margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px !important;">You can improve your PageRank by exchanging text links with other relevant websites. Banner exchanges are not as effective, and pages that want to charge you for this service, are probably already known spammers.</p><p style="margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px !important;"><br _moz_dirty="" /></p><h3 style="margin:1.5em 0px;font-family:inherit;font-weight:300;line-height:40px;color:inherit;text-rendering:optimizelegibility;font-size:12px;font-style:inherit;padding:0px;text-decoration:inherit;">Social Networking</h3>Social networking sites can be a good way to promote a site, but most will not affect your rank directly. Google+ promotion may be an exception.<h3 style="margin:1.5em 0px;font-family:inherit;font-weight:300;line-height:40px;color:inherit;text-rendering:optimizelegibility;font-size:12px;font-style:inherit;padding:0px;text-decoration:inherit;">Make Your Graphics Search Friendly</h3><p style="margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px !important;">Keep the Flash to a minimum. People may enjoy reading Flash, but search engines tend to skip right over it. It's also bad for phone traffic.</p><p style="margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px !important;">Give your images <alt> attributes. Not only does it make your website more accessible to the visually impaired, it also gives you another chance to place your keywords where Google can see them.</p><p style="margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px !important;"><br _moz_dirty="" /></p><h3 style="margin:1.5em 0px;font-family:inherit;font-weight:300;line-height:40px;color:inherit;text-rendering:optimizelegibility;font-size:12px;font-style:inherit;padding:0px;text-decoration:inherit;">Good Design Is Popular Design</h3><p style="margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px !important;">In the end, strong, well organized pages are pages that Google tends to rank higher. They're also pages that tend to become more popular, which means Google will rank them even higher. Keep good design in mind as you go, and much of the SEO will design itself.</p><p style="margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px !important;"><br _moz_dirty="" /></p></div><div id="coda" style="font-size:13px;font-family:Verdana;margin:0px 357px 1.5em 0px;padding:0px;text-decoration:inherit;zoom:1;clear:both;min-height:9em;position:relative;color:#333333;line-height:18px;border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px !important;"><div id="resources" style="border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px 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!important;font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin:0px 0px 0px 18px;padding:0px;text-decoration:inherit;list-style-type:disc;"><a href="http://antivirus.about.com/od/virusdescriptions/tp/Black-Hat-Seo-Poisoning.htm" style="color:#3366cc;text-decoration:none;outline:0px;border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px !important;font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin:0px;padding:0px;cursor:pointer;" zt="18/1YL/Zn">Black Hat SEO Poisoning</a></li><li style="line-height:20px;border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px !important;font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin:0px 0px 0px 18px;padding:0px;text-decoration:inherit;list-style-type:disc;"><a href="http://webdesign.about.com/od/seo/qt/how_to_choose_keyword_phrases.htm" style="color:#3366cc;text-decoration:none;outline:0px;border-top-left-radius:0px !important;border-top-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-right-radius:0px !important;border-bottom-left-radius:0px !important;font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin:0px;padding:0px;cursor:pointer;" zt="18/1YL/Zn">How to Choose Your Keyword Phrase - Target One Phrase Per Page</a></li></ul></div></div></div><div id="articlebody" style="font-family:Verdana;"><p style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;"><title>attribute. This is vital. Google displays search results as a link using the Web page's title. A link called 'untitled' isn't enticing, and nobody is going to click on it. When appropriate, use the page's keyword phrase in the title.</p><p style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;">Learn more about <a href="http://google.about.com/od/searchengineoptimization/qt/titleseoqt.htm" style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin:0px;padding:0px;color:#3366cc;cursor:pointer;">why titles matter</a>.</p><p style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;"><br _moz_dirty="" /></p><h3 style="font-family:inherit;font-size:12px;font-style:inherit;margin:1.5em 0px;padding:0px;text-decoration:inherit;color:inherit;">Link Early, Link Often</h3><p style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;">One of the biggest factors Google looks at is the hyperlink. Google looks at both links to and from your website.</p><p style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;">Google looks at the words you use in links to help determine the content of your page. Use links within web pages as a way to emphasize keywords. Rather than saying, "click <a href="http://google.about.com/od/searchengineoptimization/" style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin:0px;padding:0px;color:#3366cc;cursor:pointer;">here</a> to learn more about SEO" you should say: Read more about <a href="http://google.about.com/od/searchengineoptimization/" style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin:0px;padding:0px;color:#3366cc;cursor:pointer;">SEO (Search Engine Optimization)</a>.</p><p style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;">Learn more about <a href="http://google.about.com/od/searchengineoptimization/qt/hyperlinkqt.htm" style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin:0px;padding:0px;color:#3366cc;cursor:pointer;">why hyperlink names matter to Google</a>.</p><p style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;">Links from other websites to your website are used to determine <a href="http://google.about.com/od/searchengineoptimization/a/pagerankexplain.htm" style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin:0px;padding:0px;color:#3366cc;cursor:pointer;">PageRank</a>.</p><p style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;">You can improve your PageRank by exchanging text links with other relevant websites. Banner exchanges are not as effective, and pages that want to charge you for this service, are probably already known spammers.</p><p style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;"><br _moz_dirty="" /></p><h3 style="font-family:inherit;font-size:12px;font-style:inherit;margin:1.5em 0px;padding:0px;text-decoration:inherit;color:inherit;">Social Networking</h3>Social networking sites can be a good way to promote a site, but most will not affect your rank directly. Google+ promotion may be an exception.<h3 style="font-family:inherit;font-size:12px;font-style:inherit;margin:1.5em 0px;padding:0px;text-decoration:inherit;color:inherit;">Make Your Graphics Search Friendly</h3><p style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;">Keep the Flash to a minimum. People may enjoy reading Flash, but search engines tend to skip right over it. It's also bad for phone traffic.</p><p style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;">Give your images <alt> attributes. Not only does it make your website more accessible to the visually impaired, it also gives you another chance to place your keywords where Google can see them.</p><p style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;"><br _moz_dirty="" /></p><h3 style="font-family:inherit;font-size:12px;font-style:inherit;margin:1.5em 0px;padding:0px;text-decoration:inherit;color:inherit;">Good Design Is Popular Design</h3><p style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;">In the end, strong, well organized pages are pages that Google tends to rank higher. They're also pages that tend to become more popular, which means Google will rank them even higher. Keep good design in mind as you go, and much of the SEO will design itself.</p><p style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:1.5em;padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px;text-decoration:inherit;"><br _moz_dirty="" /></p></div><div id="coda" style="font-family:Verdana;margin:0px 357px 1.5em 0px;padding:0px;text-decoration:inherit;zoom:1;clear:both;min-height:9em;position:relative;color:#333333;line-height:18px;"><div id="resources" style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin:0px;padding:0px;text-decoration:inherit;"><div class="lkbx" style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin:0px 0px 1.5em;padding:0px;text-decoration:inherit;clear:left;position:relative;z-index:5;width:298.5px;"><h5 style="font-family:inherit;font-size:12px;font-style:inherit;margin:0px;padding:0px;text-decoration:inherit;">More Search Engine Optimization Tips</h5><ul style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin:0px;padding:0px;text-decoration:inherit;position:relative;z-index:0;"><li style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin:0px 0px 0px 18px;padding:0px;text-decoration:inherit;list-style-type:disc;"><a href="http://google.about.com/od/searchengineoptimization/ss/toolbarranksbs.htm" style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin:0px;padding:0px;color:#3366cc;cursor:pointer;" zt="18/1Pp">Using Google Toolbar for SEO</a></li><li style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin:0px 0px 0px 18px;padding:0px;text-decoration:inherit;list-style-type:disc;"><a href="http://google.about.com/od/searchengineoptimization/tp/badseo.htm" style="font-family:inherit;font-style:inherit;font-weight:inherit;margin:0px;padding:0px;color:#3366cc;cursor:pointer;" zt="18/1Pp">Google Don'ts - 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