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Google Ranking

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The biggest question that I get asked is about Google Ranking. You buy a website and you already know what you want from it, so what happens when you don't get what you want from Google and why isn't it doing what you want it to do? Well here's the answers.

The biggest thing most people want is to be on the first page, have the menu sections underneath the website description and have Google Maps placed to the right hand side of their website. So why isn't this the case for a lot of people?

The menu sections underneath your description is done by Google's bot. It takes the ones that it thinks are useful to those visiting your site and will display them as it sees fit.

To have Google Maps displayed, you first need to have a Google+ Business Account and have your website verified by linking it to your website; Google will tell you how to do so when you create your account.

If you've had a website previously with the same domain name or alias and it wasn't up to scratch, if you were using a "do it yourself" website design with the most basic of tools to hand, this has probably down ranked your site previously and it will take time to climb back up there.

There isn't someone sitting at Google headquarters checking out every single new website; it's all done by Google's bot. It's programmed to search for the good (increasing Google ranking) and bad (decreasing Google ranking).

So below is a list of things you should avoid doing to get your website up in Google Rankings.

 

Spelling Mistakes and Poor Grammar

Google will penalize your website for spelling mistakes and using poor grammar so make sure that you have all of your information proof read before you post it. While small amounts of mistakes won't affect your Google ranking, if you have enough, it will effect it eventually.

 

Responsive Web Design (Mobile Friendly)

As of 21st of April 2015 Google has included a change in its ranking system which involves having your website mobile friendly.

A Google spokesperson explains:
"Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices."

If your site isn't fully optimized for mobile devices, you will likely see a hit to your ranking on mobile searches.

But having a responsive website isn't good enough; it needs to be well designed and easily accessible. You will be penalized if your mobile site doesn't look good, have valid information and you will definitely be penalized if Google can't get to required information.

 

Excessive Back-linking

First off, what is back-linking? It's when you exchange website links with another in order for you both to get recognised by viewers to each others sites.

This used to be a common practice up until people started abusing this idea to get an excessive amount of views simply so they could gain a higher Google ranking. So if you do this excessively, it could be regarded as a manipulation attempt by Google's bot.

Also, while back-linking make sure who you're associating yourself with. If you associate yourself with a site that has been previously penalized by Google, this could also penalize your site. Don't associate yourself with "corrupt" sites such as porn, mal-ware ridden or hacking sites as you can be penalized for this too.

 

Information Duplication

This one really goes without saying; duplicating your information from one page to another is seen in Google's view as useless information and will down rank your site as it sees fit.

Why? Because the Google bot looks for websites that are useful to the public. If you have multiple pieces of information that are all the same, your visitors won't be interested in seeing the same piece of information continuously.

 

Overuse of the Header 1 tag

The H1 tag helps Google to understand what the page is about. Excessive H1 tags could be seen as an attempt to spam Google’s listing with keywords.

 

Website Errors

Errors such as "404" means that the person visiting your website won't be able to access that page. This means that your viewers aren't getting to the information that they may need and that in Google's eyes is a bad thing as websites to them, are all about information. Check your website thoroughly and make sure every page and every link works.

Other errors such as the "302" error means that your site has been temporarily moved. If you really do have to redirect something on your site or your site as whole, use a "301" instead.

If you see any "500" errors, deal with the problem as soon as you find them! This is an internal server error. It won't tell you what the problem is but there should be a server log which will be able to give you more information as to what went wrong.  Unless you run your own web server, you will probably need help from the person/company who runs the server.

 

Keyword Spamming

This one should be pretty obvious; don't spam keywords on your site. If you go to a site for information and all you see is a bunch of words with no meaning behind them and they're obviously not in a structured sentence, this would annoy you, right?

If someone is coming to your site, they want good, solid and relevant information. Google will dock your site for over use of the same word and using multiple words which aren't in a structured sentence.

 

Invisible Links

Don't put links on your website that are the same colour as the background or are unnoticeable. Google will dock this as it seems like suspicious behaviour.

 
Copying Information From Other Sites

Putting aside the fact that it breaks the copyright infringement on the persons site that you've copied this information from, it's also considered a pointless duplication in Google's eyes; whether or not you do it with good intentions.

If you need to copy information such as if you want to have a terms and conditions page like someone else's, by all means copy the information but make sure that you change it a fair bit to make it your own. Remove the information that isn't valid to your site and replace words or sentences with your own.

 

Website Currently Down For Maintenance

When a website goes down, everyone gets agitated: the visitors, the webmaster and the search engine. If Google can’t find your site, it would rather de-index it than keep sending visitors to a website that can't be accessed.

If you need to make small changes such as updating your information, then don't put the site down. Not many people will notice the changes being made and it will only take a second for your site to update the information as soon as you update it.

There really isn't a point when you should use this feature as you can simply make the thing your working on only available to the super users while working on it and if you don't already have one, create a front-end login and see what it looks like when you're logged in as a super user, which would allow you to see what the public would see.

 

Domain Names With Excessive Keywords

Google might see this as an anchor manipulation, meaning that you're simply making your domain name with keywords just to get higher up in the ranking and manipulate Google's overall search results.

 

Slow Loading Website

It's important to remember that not everyone has a fast internet connection or fast computer. If your website loads slowly for someone, this can be a frustrating experience.

You can increase your sites speed by making images that are massive in size, resized to the size that you need, rather than cropping the image; this will still be seen by your site as the original size when you check the images information from the front-end of your site. So while the image will appear the size you made it, it will load as the size it really is.

 

Spun Content

This is information that you have on your website that is copyright from another. The person who has written the article has taken the information from someone else; whether it be a blog, another website or a newspaper article and haven't made any changes to it to make it their own.

If you purchase information from someone who has written an article for you, make sure that it isn't "spun" as you could be in a dire situation.

 

Commenting

If you have a comment feature on your website, you better make sure you have time to moderate them. If someone comes onto your site and spams in the comments and you don't have a spam detection feature, Google will penalize you for the spams made within your comments. If you don't have time to moderate the comments yourself you'll either need to employ someone to do so or have the comments turned off entirely.

 

Excessive and Duplicating Meta Data

While the configuration settings of Joomla will give you an option to input up to 10 meta tags, you really should use no more than 5 as Google will penalize you for this as it appears to be spamming.

If you duplicate meta data all over your site, it can be a cause for penalty as it's undesirable and again, seems like spamming.

 

Hidden Script Links

Google's bot will instantly notice any attempts at hiding links in your script files and you will be penalized for this.

 

Dominating Adverts

Ads in general are OK but if they dominate your website, you will be penalized for this as it seems like spamming; simply a financial tactic and isn't user friendly.

 

No Quick Fixes

Never employ someone who claims that your website will be in the first page of Google rankings! The only way to get there is hard work, time and effort. The Google bot is the one who decides who goes where based on your site. There is no way that someone can guarantee you a place on the first page of Google!

 

If you have chosen an industry that has a lot of businesses already, you could be finding it more difficult to get your site noticed.

Here's some further information:

  • Low to Moderate Industry Difficulty: with a consistent strategy and no major site issues, it is reasonable to expect a 3-6 month window to move into the top 10 results. This varies based on the competition but this is the general rule of thumb.

  • Difficult Industries: due to the high amount of competition, you can expect it to take a minimum of 12 months and possibly years to achieve your desired results. This time-frame may be shortened with additional resources such as a paid ad on Google.

  • Extremely Difficult Industries: it is possible you never reach the first page on Google; it could be that the cost associated with reaching the first page is not economically viable for a small business. For larger companies, it will likely require a multi-year, multi-faceted approach depending on where the current rankings are.

 
So after reading all of this, it's reasonable to assume that it's pretty difficult to get to the top even when using manipulation techniques.

But there are things that you can do to get your website noticed; to not only be avoiding the latter but also by doing things such as innocently getting your site recognised in your local area by handing out leaflets through letterboxes, going to events relevant to your business, asking venues, shops and hotels if they would be so kind as to allow you to leave some flyers for their visitors.

Remember, one of the things that gets you higher in Google rankings is how many people view your site.

You can also add in some social media pages but it's important not to force people to go to these places and use annoying pop-ups.
Feel free to check out the sites I've made to get some inspiration.

You should also edit your site often; once a month should be enough. If you haven't edited your site in a few years, you will find it extremely difficult to climb back up Google's rankings. Even if it's a small update, as long as Google sees you doing something fairly often, it will help towards increasing your Google ranking.

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