Blog - Google ranking - mountain picture

How to rank higher on Google

In 1998 Google was invented and with it Google ranking. Google arrived much like the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Compared to the busy interface of Yahoo! or Ask Jeeves with their ‘And’s and ‘Or’ choices, its simplicity was breathtaking. Now it’s become a verb. And for any business with a website, the first page of Google is hallowed ground. But how can you rank higher on Google?

Here’s a quick tour through some key points about Search Engine Optimisation to make your website more attractive to Google:

“It’s my allure”

To quote Stevie from the TV show Miranda, you need to have more ‘allure’ to the Google spider (ro)bots than your competitor. You have to wow these clever bits of software that scurry around the internet, indexing pages.

The more times they see a search word in a relevant place, the higher they rank you for that search word. But it has to be relevant – more in ‘Stop cramming’ below.

What’s in a name?

Have you named each web page intelligently? For example, this post isn’t called ‘blog123’ but ‘google-ranking-tips’. To quote a well-known superstore, every little helps.

Do you have an e-commerce website? Make sure each product page is individually labelled.

The vital title

Is the key search term in the title? I first called this post ‘Why your rival is higher in Google – and what you can do about it’. But I changed it to include my key search term ‘how to rank higher in Google’.

‘Tiffanys! Cartier!’

Google ranking robot

One of my favourite films is Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. In it Marilyn Monroe plays a materialistic showgirl who loves fashion labels. Google search robots are of the same ilk as they too are obsessed with labels.

For example if your rival has an image called ‘bbq_tongs.jpg’ and you have ‘123.jpg’, guess which is more attractive to the bots? Yes, it’s a pain renaming them. But it’s worth that extra minute renaming it to give you the edge.

‘Alt-tuning’ for Google ranking

In the early days of the internet, images took an age to download. So designers added an ALTernative tag. These words filled the space where the image would eventually unveil itself. That way you could decide if it was worth waiting for an image called ‘cute kittens licking a snowdrift’ to load or scroll past.

Any canny competitor will make sure their alt tags include the keyword.

Tip: Remember to keep alt tags under 20 characters and relevant. Read-out-loud software for the blind still uses the tags to help their users.

Stop cramming!

It’s all about keyword density and the Goldilocks balance of ‘just right’. This means mentioning the search term maybe three or four times in the text of a web page.

If you have written ‘BBQ tongs’ 40 times in white font in a white background to cram in keywords, stop! Google has wised up to such dark arts and penalises you if you try this.

Shaping up on mobile

Is your website responsive? Responsive means that the website resizes when you look at it on a mobile phone or a tablet. Google ranks all websites on how they look on mobiles.

Don’t allow a web developer to fob you off with a separate mobile website and one to be seen on PCs. The technology has existed for years to display the same ‘mother ship’ of content on different devices. This ultimately saves you time as it means you don’t have to update two websites.

For example, here’s how the same page on my Durham Cathedral project looked on a PC, tablet and mobile:

Durham Cathedral responsive website screen devicesNeed some help?

This blog is just a starter about Search Engine Optimisation. The Google-friendly web content I write for my clients is all about how to rank higher on Google. Please get in touch for a no-obligation chat to see how I can help spread your ‘allure’.