No offence but it's quite safe to assume you are among the millions of web sites that practically are invisible. Frustrating, isn't it?
Only 38% of the surfers click beyond the 10 first results and 9% click beyond the first 30 results according to a study in April 2006 by iProspect. In addition, 36% of the surfers connected top ranking companies in Google with leadership in their field.
The good news is - it's not rocket science to improve your ranking.
1. Assess the quality of your site
Driving traffic to a site with lousy conversion rate doesn't make sense so make sure your site is performing before you do anything else. Making sure the site navigation and content is good is essential for your conversion rate. Dead links affects your ranking, annoys your visitors and ultimately also damage your conversion rate.
2. Keyword research is essential for good ranking
You won't be able to rank well on everything so you need to focus on a niche. Select keywords that fulfill the following criteria's:
- Sufficient amount of daily searches (demand)
- A small enough competition
- Relevancy with your content
Select keyword phrases per page. Using the same keyword phrases for the whole site is a sure way to fail.
Optimize your web page for 1 - 3 keyword phrases, using more makes you lose focus. Take note on the ranking you have for the selected keyword phrases and use it as baseline for your improvements.
3. On-page optimization
The TITLE tag is the most important of the tags and should contain 3 to 10 words. Make sure it contains the most important keywords. The TITLE tag shows up in the result page so make sure it sounds compelling and relevant to increase you click through rate.
The Keyword and description tags are not as useful as they used to be but still require attention. Make sure the description tag looks compelling as it sometimes shows up in the search engines result page.
Read more about META tags.
Sprinkle your keyword phrases throughout your body text as much as possible and make sure they are prominent in the beginning of the web page. Make sure the body text sounds natural, keyword stuffing only puts off the visitors and your ranking can be hurt by the search engines if it's too obvious.
Good content on your web site increases your chances to rank high. Good content also attracts links like a magnet to your web site.
Especially Google loves good quality inbound links and will therefore rank you even higher so good content serves several purposes.
Create good content !
Write short paragraphs with no more than 1-4 sentences per paragraph. Keep each sentence short and write in active voice.
Search engines prefer text based web pages because they can't make much sense of flash and graphics. You have a greater chance to rank high if your web pages primarily are text based.
4. Link popularity
Think about inbound links as votes by other sites and a high quality link gives many votes. Its simple logic, the more votes you get the more popular you are and therefore get a better ranking.
A high quality link comes from a site that is well trusted by the search engines and relevant to your content.
Both the Yahoo! and DMOZ directories are important as they are well trusted by the search engines. Submit you homepage to both directories and make sure you read and follow the instructions to increase your chances to be accepted.
Also check if there are directories related to your industry you can submit your web site to.
Creating good content makes other web masters link to you automatically.
Publish articles and give them away free of charge using a resource box linking to your site.
Find out which sites are linking to your competitors. Chances are they also are willing to link to your site if you ask. Reciprocate the link if the other site is highly trusted and relevant to your site. Make sure the link text from the linking site use text that is relevant to your content and your keyword phrases.
5. Track ranking over time
The main purpose with your optimization work is to rank better, right?
You need to follow your progress over time and take actions if needed. Nothing lasts for ever so to maintain your position you need to constantly build links and improve your content.
Compare the result with the ranking you got in step 2 and monitor how your ranking changes over time.
6. Repeat the optimization process
Patience is virtue; it takes time before the search engines fully absorbs and adjusts to the changes. Give the search engines 2 to 3 months to fully stabilize before you make next big change.
A top 10 ranking can't be guaranteed but you can improve your chances by following the advice.