Getting in good with Google

Advice: Our technology columnist offers four tips for getting a top ranking on the world’s most popular search engine.

One of the most important crawler-based search engines is Google. Not only do most people use it for search, but it also provides results for AOL and other major sites.

Submission to Google is easy – you need only submit your home page. Other pages, linked to from the home page, will then get added to Google’s database over time.

In fact, you don’t actually have to submit your site to Google (Google prefers that you don’t). It may well find your site anyway; especially if another site (already on Google) has links to your site.

To get a top ranking in Google, here are my four keys to success:

1. Link Popularity
Link Popularity is more than just about how many sites link to you. It’s how and whom you link with that also plays a factor. The more links you can get to your site, the better.

But I would rather have less links on more popular and relevant sites than tons of links on unknown pages.

Try and link with related sites. When the Google spider visits your site from a site you have exchanged links with, it analyzes this process.

For example, let’s say you have a radio show site like I do and you have links on a bunch of game sites. When Google follows these links from game sites they are looking for some kind of a theme.

What in the world does a game site have to do with a radio Website? Not much. Therefore, while you might get a small boost, it does not help as much as if you do the following: When you link to related sites, Google can see some kind of theme. If you have a radio site and Google finds that a bunch of other radio sites have linked to you, then guess what!? They are thinking you must have a relevant site about radio stuff! Make sense?

I prefer text links. When other Websites use words in the link that points to your site, the Google spider reads them. So, if sites linking to you use keywords in their link text, Google may increase your ranking for those words.

As an example, I have a Website about the actor James Spader (JamesSpader.org) which is about his movies and TV work. When sites exchange links with mine, I would prefer them to use “Movies and Videos of James Spader” in the links text pointing to the URL JamesSpader.org. The other less desirable way would be both JamesSpader.org in the link text and URL. This is just a small way to boost your relevance and theme, but every little bit can help.

Lastly, a listing in the Yahoo directory and DMOZ.com (the Open Directory) will give you a big boost. I have personally seen greatly increased rankings after a listing in DMOZ for some of my sites.

2. Site Title
Use keywords in your title and keywords that people are searching for. From the example above, If your site is called JamesSpader.org, don’t just put that in your title. What is your site all about and what would people search for to find it? On this site I use “James Spader Audio, Video, Pictures, Music Videos and Fan Fiction” for the title on the home page. I recommend keeping it to eight words or under.

On subsequent pages, I tailor the title to reflect the content. “James Spader images from the movie ‘Secretary’ ” is a title that reflects words that a searcher might type in Google. To find out what keywords people are searching for, try the Overture.com keyword suggestion wizard found here:
inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/

3. Domain Name
While some people dispute this claim, I find your domain name to be important in Google and a number of other search engines and directories. While doing a search in Google for “James Spader,” my site comes right up. Even though this site has almost no link popularity, it is ranked No. 9 of 80,000 results. My domain is my keyword. Not bad, huh?

4. Keyword Placement
Use your top keywords (particularly the ones used in your title) towards the top of the page. Continue to use these keywords throughout the page, in your link text, and URLs, but don’t overdo it.

Other Tips:

– Use your top keywords throughout your site to help build that “theme” which I was talking about above.

– Google does not use keyword “tags,” although a couple search engines still use them, so I use them anyway on some pages.

– Links farms do not work, and may get you banned.

– Have content: Following the tips above, but only having a sentence or two on your site will not get you good listings.

If you follow the steps above, I am confident your rankings in Google will improve. Remember, good rankings don’t happen over night and may require some work and time, but the payoff can be great! So, it’s time to get Googled!

Dana Greenlee is co-host/producer of the WebTalkGuys Radio Show, a Tacoma-based radio and Webcast show featuring technology news and interviews.

Google rises in market debut after bumpy IPO
Google Inc. shares made their long-awaited stock market debut Thursday, rising sharply to $100 after an initial public offering marked by missteps and lackluster market conditions.

Google co-founder Larry Page and Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, guarded by tight security, were at the Nasdaq stock market’s broadcasting facility in Manhattan, as the Web’s most popular search engine began trading as a public company.

After ending its unconventional auction to price and sell shares Wednesday, Google sold 19.6 million shares at $85 each, raising $1.67 billion, the biggest initial public offering so far by an Internet company.

The shares ended at $100.34, up $15.24, or 18 percent.

A few minutes before the shares officially opened for trading, the market saw a false start in which shares appeared to debut at $136.
A Nasdaq official said this was the result of two trades that “should not have gone through.”

WebTalkGuys Radio
This Saturday, August 21, WebTalk Radio show guests include Mitchell Baker, president of Mozilla Foundation, who will discuss the new Mozilla browser FireFox and the e-mail client Thunderbird.

Also, Morton resident Peter Yorke will talk about his new project DownloadRadio.org and Seattle Wireless TV.

WebTalk Radio is heard at 11 a.m. Saturday on KLAY-AM (1180) and 10 p.m. Tuesday on KVTI-FM (90.9) as well as on the Web at webtalkradio.com

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Related Stories