Occasionally, I do website analysis for clients so they can figure out how to improve SEO (search engine optimization).
They want to know how to show up on the first page of Google’s search results when someone enters the term “lawn darts” or “pink ballet slippers.”
The short tutorial on SEO:
get inbound links.
You can do other things to improve SEO, like:
- put Title Tags with keywords on every page
- create a unique url for each page of your website
- assign alt text to every image (search engines can’t read images without alt text)
But the single greatest predictor of whether your website appears at the top of Google’s search results are inbound links. And not just any links, high quality links.
To get a definition of what ‘high quality’ means to Google, I went to the source:
“PageRank evaluates two things: how many links there are to a web page from other pages, and the quality of the linking sites. With PageRank, five or six high-quality links from websites such as www.cnn.com and www.nytimes.com would be valued much more highly than twice as many links from less reputable or established sites.” [Google Librarian Central]
Recently, a client wanted to see how their website stacked up against a direct competitor. Both clients build houses. My client has waterfront lots with bikepaths, a pool and a community pier. The competitor has lots on a busy highway. Yet the competitor has been outselling the idyllic setting. How?
Methinks it’s the links. (sorry about that, couldn’t resist)
In the analysis I did, my client had 26 inbound links while the competitor had 1,384. That’s alotta links.
It made me curious about what was getting so much attention.
They had it all:
- Articles about mortgages, homebuilding, home maintenance
- Two Youtube channels with common repairs explained and demonstrated
- Social media presence on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Active Rain
The articles were sometimes pulled from other sources (with proper attribution) and the video wasn’t of the highest quality. But what they were creating was helping them get found by people who want to buy a new house.
People link to things that are remarkable, or helpful or entertaining. A link is a vote of approval, a thumbs up. When was the last time you saw a link to a static website, one whose information hadn’t changed in 3 years?
People link to ideas that resonate or creativity that inspires.
So if you want to be found:
Create stuff (on a blog perhaps) that people want to link to. And your SEO just might improve.