Get your website to the top of Google

(If the Internet were a democracy, this approach would be akin to buying votes in an election)

You may have stumbled on this page searching on how to get your website to the top of Google.  I’ve been involved in SEO for about 7 years and have become increasingly frustrated at how it’s easy to “cheat” your way up the Google rankings. This happens to such an extent that I do wonder if a lot of the claims that Google make about improving search engine results are true or not.

There are many techniques involved, but at the moment, the over-riding and single most important factor is the number of Inbound links.

An inbound link is simply a link from another website to yours – in essence, a vote of confidence for the quality of your website. To get your website to the top of Google the best advice offered by SEO professionals is to create back-links.

Whitehat vs Blackhat Link building

The methods of creating these links fall broadly into 2 categories:

1. Whitehat – where you use legitimate, manual methods of link creation, and write and distribute quality content.

2. Blackhat – where you employ automated tools to create “unique” articles, and spam links.

Such is the importance that creating backlinks is to your website, that they are now openly traded as commodities on the Internet, with thousands of links of various qualities being purchased to raise the position of the “money making” website on Google.

If the Internet were a democracy, this approach would be akin to buying votes in an election.

Create your own “voters”

So, where do these thousands of links come from? This is where the problems really start – some can be poorly managed “official” websites from Government and Educational institutes which by their very nature are highly prized (Google associates Government and Educational sites as very trustworthy).

Others some from Article Directories which although are marketed as being sources of information similar to wikipedia, are quite often full of half-nonsense pages of text with inbuilt links back to the websites that have submitted them. Making things worse are “article spinners” – software that takes an article and creates many versions of it, each slightly different to create what appears to be unique articles. So from one article you can produce potentially hundreds, each with 2-3 backlinks that get submitted to article directories to be distributed out.

Creating simple websites with automatically generated content (e.g. from RSS feeds, article directories and press releases) allow you to set up networks of tens, hundreds and even thousands of websites. Each of these is interlinked based on topic and relevancy to which links can be inserted – this is in effect creating votes (or someone paying to create votes) for the target website.

Google states that these sort of techniques don’t work, and if they do are becoming less widespread but there’s many examples where strong brands within a particular market sector are at number 3 and 4 in Google, below clearly inferior websites. This is despite the major brands having links from other high profile and trust worthy websites. How do the inferior websites stay on top? They simply create many more links to push them higher in the search results.

How to play fair and win

The 3 bits of advice by SEO Professionals when asked how to beat the Blackhat and underhand tactics always seem to be:

  • Carry on creating back links (which the SEO professionals will happily charge you to do)
  • Carry on creating great content
  •  Google will stop them eventually

The frustrations of web site owners with good content being outranked by poor websites using Blackhat techniques is that none of the above seem to work for remotely competitive keywords.

The work-around often appears to be targeting “long tail” search phrases – those that are made of 3-4 words and that have less competition. But what are the majority of searches for:  ”Vacuum Cleaners” or “Red Vacuum cleaners that pick up cat hair”  (that’s a Miele by the way and is excellent).

So, other than targeting obscure search terms, what other legitimate ways of link building can be done?

  1. Good press releases – those that get distributed to the real press, that give value when read, and that have significance for your website
  2. Sponsor a charity  - donate money to a charity in exchange for acknowledgement on their website of the donation.
  3. Offer advice in forums related to your website topic, and have a signature back to your website.
  4. Offer to guest-write on specialist blogs or magazines in your industry, raising awareness of your website and services.
  5. Create great content – (yes, I know I said that this doesn’t normally work but sometimes it does)

 

Eighty:Twenty offer Search Engine Optimisation services to businesses in the Northwest of England. We are based near Chorley, but offer our SEO services in surrounding areas including Preston, Blackburn and Bolton.

–Michael