ICS Magazine

Getting Your Website to the Top

October 8, 2010

The hottest advertising right now is the Internet. You ideally want to rank at the top of searches without paying a small fortune. Often, this can be done for little to no cost if you do it right.

The hottest advertising right now is the Internet. You ideally want to rank at the top of searches without paying a small fortune. Often, this can be done for little to no cost if you do it right. So it’s important to know what the search engines are looking for.

Google takes a big part of the pie, accounting for about 63% of all online searches. Yahoo accounts for around 18%, and Bing 12%. But what can you do to get your cleaning site ranking at the top of them?

It’s the job of a search engine to rank the most relevant websites when surfers search for a keyword. This is why we use Google, Yahoo, and Bing. We depend on them to find the most relevant site for the keyword we’re searching.

There are some basic concepts used to decide how well your site is ranked. So let’s examine the criteria search engines use to determine where to rank a website.

Quality Content

The text on your site should be unique, and not found on any other website. If your site consists mostly of copied information, search engines see it as a copy. They use programs to tell them if a website is copied. Search engines won’t rank a copied site as well as a site with unique text content.

Can you get away with copying text from another website? Sure, sometimes. But in the long run, it’s not a smart business decision. It’s fine to look at other cleaning websites for ideas, but don’t copy their information. It’s not only unethical; it could be bad for your search engine rankings.

Relevant Content

Your site is evaluated to see if the text is relevant to the keywords in which you are trying to rank. For instance, in order for Google to rank your website for “Carpet Cleaning Anchorage,” it’s only natural the words “Carpet Cleaning Anchorage” appear throughout your site. But be careful not to over-do this. Sites with keywords placed excessively all over look awful and unreadable. And just as bad, the search engines will consider this keyword stuffing and penalize you for such behavior. Don’t over-do it. Be natural with the text on your site.

On-page Optimization

Here’s where it can get tricky if you’re not Internet savvy. At the top of your page, there’s a section called the title tag. It’s what the web designer enters to tell the search engines what the site is all about. Your keywords must be in the title tag. If they are not, your chances of ranking are greatly diminished.

Also, in the back end of the code there are other important tags called the description tag and keyword tag. These are fairly important too. For most sites, a web designer will need to change these to include your keywords. In addition, including a Google sitemap may help your on-page optimization. The site map lists all the maps in your site and shows the search engines how to navigate it.

If you use a website platform like Wordpress or Joomla, you can enter the title tag, keywords, and sitemap yourself. In fact, out of all the website builders, Wordpress is the favorite among Internet marketers. Google loves Wordpress. It’s designed to automatically feed up-to-the-minute content to the search engines. As soon as you make a post on your Wordpress site, the search engines are alerted. Many new cleaning sites are being created in Wordpress for this very reason. Besides the fact the search engines love it, it’s easy for you to update and edit your own website.

Your Domain Name

The domain name is www.YourWebsite.com. Search engines do look at your domain name for keyword relevancy. If it includes your keywords, it helps your ranking. For instance, the site www.CarpetCleaningAnchorage.com is more than likely all about “Carpet Cleaning Anchorage.”

It’s not imperative to have all your keywords in the domain name; this won’t make or break whether or not your site ranks well. But it helps. When you choose a domain name, consider including at least one or two of your keywords.

Backlinks or Incoming Links

Simply put, these are links coming to your site. The more links you have, the more points you have in the eyes of the search engines. Incoming links mean other sites value your site enough to link to you. But not all links are rated equal in the eyes of search engines. Generally, sites that are older and sites with quality incoming links themselves are considered better links.

What about link exchanges? If your site links to www.MyCarpet.com and www.MyCarpet.com links back to you, this is a link exchange. While this may help you some, it’s not nearly as good as www.MyCarpet.com linking to you and you not returning the link. This is called a one-way link. It’s more valuable because it means a site linked to you without the promise of getting a link back.

Relevant Incoming Links

When the sites that link to you have some of the same keywords in common, it’s always better. For instance, for my carpet cleaning site, I’d much rather get a link from a carpet store than a flower shop. As well, I’d much rather get a link from a site associated with my city than a site from a city in another state. When you get a relevant link, it makes the case that your site really is all about “Carpet Cleaning Anchorage” (or whatever your keywords happen to be).

Anchor Text in the Links

Links are clickable, normally highlighted in blue, and underlined like www.MyCarpet.com. However, most of the links you see on a website have text that doesn’t say the website domain name. Instead it has clickable anchor text. For instance, Click Here is a common link that takes you to a particular site. The blue clickable words “Click Here” are anchor text.

If you saw a line on a website that said “Here’s how to get a great Carpet Cleaning in Anchorage” you’d understand that clicking this link would lead you to a carpet cleaning website in Anchorage. The search engines understand this too. They know this link is giving a positive vote to the fact your company is about “Carpet Cleaning in Anchorage.” Use anchor text associate with your keywords any time you can. This is one of the best ways to show the search engines what your site is about because another site is giving you a vote through the anchor text.

Search engines use this criteria to determine which site to rank for any given keyword phrase. Your job is to do everything you can to show the search engines your site is all about your keyword terms. Alternatively, consider contacting a reputable search engine optimization (SEO) professional to help you.

Free traffic from the search engines is a great thing. It doesn’t usually happen on accident, but now you know the basics of what it takes to get top ranking.