Getting to the Top of Google: SIX

Getting to the "Top of Google" with your Semi Permanent Makeup Website

Getting to the top of Google is the holy grail of most web developers and their clients. Staying there is an even harder task than getting there in the first place. Anyone can appear in the paid advert section at the top of the results, but today we're going to focus on the organic listings.  

Whats the difference between paid and organic? Well, that used to be easier to explain than it is these days. When you went to Google to make a search, the results would display in two distinct sections. The results at the top and down the right hand side always had a blue background which served as a visual cue that those results were from PPC (pay per click). The organic results are those which Google had found by trawling millions of sites to find the most relevant mention of your search terms. They were (and still are) regarded as a more genuine result. 

We'll cover PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising in another post, as it can be very useful indeed, but for now, let's stick with Organic.  

Over the years, the blue background I mentioned above has faded to nothing. It's now gone completely and has been replaced with small "Ad" tags next to the post - blink and you'll miss it! Google has done this to blur the line between paid advertising and organically returned results. It's a bit shady in my opinion, but it's what we have to work with, so let's make the best of it! 

Ten years ago, there were tricks you could use to game the system a little. Some were cheeky, others were just unprofessional- but Google quickly got wise to them all. Some designers used to fill up all the background with a solid colour and then add the keywords in the same colour. The user couldn't see the keywords, but the Google webcrawlers could.
Then Google started looking at how many sites linked to and from yours (to determine how credible your site was), but people resorted to "link farms" to boost their rankings. Link Farms were basically pages set up to link back to other pages. They had none of their own content, they were just lists of sites and links.  As you can imagine, Google squashed this practice pretty quickly. There are still examples of link farming today, but they're hidden behind more credible businesses. I bet you've all had a call from Yell.com to say they can get you to the top of Google. They can - so long as you keep paying them handsomely! And as soon as you stop, they keep the position and sell it to someone else - and you're left with nothing to show for your money. 

So, the upshot is that Google has got wise to pretty much every trick and workaround going. I, for one, am very glad about that too, because it means that when your site ranks high, it deserved to be there.  

The tips that work these days are far simpler. You must write relevant, engaging, accurate text (aka "copy") that describes your business. No filling your text with keywords. It doesn't read well at all when your customers DO find you. Have you ever started reading the landing page of a website and just found it weird to get through? Like its repeating the same words over and over again? It's a very old fashioned technique that doesn't actually work these days - it just makes your site hard work to read. So my checklist are as follows:

1:  Keep your content interesting and focused on the customer. Don't harp on about yourself - you can get to that after you've told the reader what you you can do for THEM. We'll talk about website journeys on another post). 

2:  Start a blog! Google likes sites that get updated regularly and it offers you a great chance to speak to your audience.

3:  Make sure all your images are you own. Very important. Don't use other people's images and photos to promote your own business.   

4:  Take advantage of all the Google services available to you (we'll cover this soon!) 

5:  Make sure you use your H1 and H2 tags. Your web designer will know more, but if you decide to build and manage your own site (good for you), the H1 and H2 tags are basically the headings you'll use on your site. Always good to use your keywords in these.  

6:  Choose a great name for your site, and a great domain name to go with it.  

7:  Create an effective way for people to get in touch with you. A great contact page is easy to produce.  

8:  Be honest, genuine and informative.  

I'm going to cover some of those points in much more depth over the coming weeks. If you need any help with your site, or advice on where to start, please be sure to get in touch. 

- Rich :-)