Your website is all set up, you are selling a great product or service, and creating great content on your site, it looks super cool, but for some reason, your site just isn’t appearing in the search engine results! What are you going to do?
How Does Google Rank Your Website?
In terms of ranking, where you appear on Google for search engine page results (SERPs) can make or break the number of people who will even know that your site exists. Pretty terrifying right?
So, how can you ensure that you are ranking highly for the searches that are relevant to your industry or niche?
What you have to understand is that you are basically dealing with robots! No human being at Google goes near the algorothims that determine your page ranking in the SERPS – it’s all done by bots, which ‘crawl’ the web (yes think spiders), and use machine learning to become experts in topics.
There are many improvements that you can make to your website to assist you to start appearing at the top of those SERPs when a potential buyer or client searches for keywords relevant to your industry.
Using Off Page SEO to increase the ranking of your site in Google
But right now, I wanted to talk to you about what you can be doing away from your own website, (known as off page SEO), to maximise peoples trust both in you, and your site.
With trust now the number one factor that clients consider when using a product or service, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your business is leading the way in promoting itself as an authority within your industry on niche.
And trust is diminishing. With trust in editorial almost in crisis, it is more important than ever to be creating content that is valuable to your audience.
As this research from Edelman shows, consumers are turning to both who they consider experts, and people just like them to offer credible information and advice.
Having a great looking website, or perfectly formed offer is not enough. People (and Google) have to know and understand that you are a trustworthy provider of content relating to your topic.
Building Links to Improve Google Ranking
Google bots crawl the web using links to determine how pages relate to one other. Using sophisticated algorithms, Google uses links to understand not only the popularity of your page, but also the popularity, and trust of any sites linking to it.
Think of links as ‘the company you keep’ If you are associated with a popular, likeable person with integrity, other people will assume that you have the same values, whereas, if you run with the bad crowd, even if you yourself are an upstanding citizen, you will still get a reputation as a baddy.
For example, if you have a backlink from Wikipedia - a site which is well used, trustworthy and popular, Google will apportion trust in your domain when seeing that link. Conversely if you have links coming from a low content, irrelevant site, Google may penalise you for this, in fact, if you have a high number of links coming from questionable websites, you can incur a penalty that will stop your website from showing up in the SERPs at all!
Links from other websites to your site (backlinks) are one of the strongest signals that Google uses to determine how to rank you in the SERPs. Your site will be judged not only by the number of backlinks you have, but by the quality of those links – are they coming from sites that are relevant and trustworthy?
Going back to the real world for a moment, who would you most trust to explain how the universe works – Stephen Hawkins or your next door neighbour?
As humans, we tend to rely on authorities to guide us in certain subjects, and Google understands this, and therefore will lend more weight to an authority site or person linking to your website – so Google also trust Stephen Hawkins more than your next door neighbour!