Achieving Better Google Page Rank

I’ve discussed SEO techniques in other articles here but like anything in IT related enterprises, things are constantly changing and it’s worth keeping up to date with the criteria Google and other web search engines use to rank websites. Years ago web designers used all kinds of techniques to get better search engine results for their clients and many still profess ‘secret’ knowledge on how to achieve remarkable (but unverifiable usually) results. We used to stuff site pages with keywords and use methods to ‘fool’ what are essentially dumb computers into getting better rankings.

Of course, times change (and Google’s talented programmers have made major improvements to their page ranking ‘algorithms’) and we can no longer rely on methods of the past. As an interesting aside, I only recently discovered that the term page rank actually is named after the developer of the method, Larry Page, one of Google’s founders not ‘page’ as in web page. Thanks Wikipedia!

It has been said many times that its easy to achieve number 1 spot in Google, want to know how? Create a web site or blog referring many times to some obscure topic like rabid alien hamsters. Wait a few weeks and you can almost be guaranteed to get the Google Number 1 spot! The problem is of course, that it isn’t exactly a commonly searched for term. This is where page rank comes in to play. A higher page rank helps you compete in search engines for more common searches.

So how can we improve results for more commonly searched for terms or phrases?

This website is a good examples. There are literally thousands of web design websites in Australia, let alone the rest of the world so how could we possibly hope to achieve good page ranking and more importantly, get the sites on the first or at least the first 2-3 pages of Google search results for common search terms like ‘small business websites australia’?

Firstly, it takes time. Search engines tend to like older, established sites. This filters out the fly-by-nighters who put up a website then vanish. To achieve first or second page status – which is where this site is currently for the search term mentioned above – has taken nearly 24 months. To be honest, I expected it would take much longer but other techniques were used to help the process which I’ll go into in more depth in another article.

Secondly, back links are very, very important. I can’t stress this one enough. The more links there are to your website or blog, the higher your site will rank. It helps even more if your back links come from high-ranking sites or blogs. Getting backlinks usually involves a lot of work – in our case, the links from client’s websites helped a great deal – but again, other methods were used to gain more (genuine) links. Beware though, of SEO companies who try to make you believe that they can get you 1000’s of  (really bogus) links to your website to achieve rapid page rank improvements. It won’t and worse, Google will very likely lower your page rank or even remove it from search result pages altogether.

Of course, this isn’t the whole story – careful page title wording and ensuring that the key search phrases that apply to your business are in the first paragraph of the landing or home page and other, similar techniques are very important too.

Finally, choosing a very SEO-friendly website creation tool like WordPress plays a large part in the equation too.

Web designers need to constantly keep up with changes in this industry. Assuming that the way we’ve always done it will work tomorrow is a potential recipe for disaster.