Links Are a Ranking Factor for Your Website

inbound links to your website are an important ranking factorThe original purpose of the Internet was to connect people to information and so website links were born.

Those once blue, once underlined, collections of letters, characters and numbers were there from the start and they have never gone away. They might have changed colour, they may not be underlined anymore, but they are still just as important as they ever were … and Google loves them.

For Google, every link is a vote in favour of the site that the link points to and, at one stage, Google placed a huge amount of importance on those links.

The level of that importance has decreased over the years as people found more and more ways of using links to trick Google and make Google think that a website was more important than it really is.

Links are still important

Today, even though Google does not place a huge amount of importance on links, they are still an important ranking factor for your website.

However, not every link carries the same weight. In the past any old link was worth something but today your website needs inbound links from trusted and relevant websites.

And those three words are the most important thing to remember when you’re thinking about links for your website. They must come from trusted and relevant websites.

Links must come from TRUSTED AND RELEVANT websites

If you’re running a plumbing business in Hervey Bay, and you have links coming to your website from the Karachi Times or the Rawalpindi Gazette then you have links but they may not be trusted and certainly aren’t relevant … how many people in Karachi or Rawalpindi need a plumber in Hervey Bay?

Links like that have no positive impact on your website and may have quite the opposite result for Google does see links that aren’t relevant … or trusted … as a negative when it comes to ranking your website.

A link that would have a positive effect on your plumbing website would be a link from an Australian trade organisation or a supplier. A link from Yellow Pages or Local Directories would also be seen as a link from a trusted and relevant website.

Unfortunately obtaining links from trusted and relevant websites is not an easy job. You can pick some up quite easily but others take time and patience and so there are people out there who will offer to obtain those links for you.

Be careful who you employ to build your links

Be very careful if you do decide to hire someone to obtain links for you. Anyone can gather huge numbers of links that have no positive value at all and that’s what many people do. They charge you very attractive rates but deliver nothing but a load of negative-value links.

Genuine link builders take time and charge a lot of money for their services and their results can seem meagre in comparison to those who offer you lots of links for little money. But don’t be fooled because large amounts of irrelevant inbound links can do serious damage to your search engine rankings and getting rid of those crappy links is another costly job that needs an expert.

Avoid outbound links if you run a business

Before I finish this I should talk about outbound links. Google definitely does like to see your website linking out to trusted and relevant websites but every time you link out to some other website you’re encouraging people to leave your website before they have done business with you.

If you’re selling a service or a product then we would encourage you to get as many relevant and trusted inbound links as you can find but don’t link out to anyone. Of course, there are exceptions to that “rule” but, in most cases, outbound links will do nothing positive for your business.

By |August 14th, 2017|Google|Comments Off on Links Are a Ranking Factor for Your Website

The Age of Your Website Is a Ranking Factor

the age of your website is an important ranking factorWe recently published a post here on the website that took a very quick look at some of the ranking factors that we know that Google uses to assess your website. One of those factors that we mentioned was the age of your website.

So why is the age of your website a ranking factor? Well, before I jump into that, I need to remind you of something else I said in that post.

We know that the age of your website is a ranking factor but we really don’t know how much importance Google places on that factor. All we can really tell you is it is a ranking factor that Google uses … but why?

Why does Google think that an older website is of any greater value than a website that has just appeared?

Google wants to trust your website

Well, perhaps it’s got a lot to do with trust because there was a time when it was quite possible to get a brand-new website to rank well on the first page of the search results for almost any important search term.

Of course, those new sites were fairly thin on content and what content there was on those sites was often scraped … copied … or re-purposed from other sites. That was not such a problem for Google until ensuring that they were giving their users the best possible results became an issue.

If you want to keep people coming back for more then you want to give them a very good reason for coming back and, for Google, that meant giving their users the sites that delivered the best possible information.

In most instances that meant that Google needed to send searchers to the original source of that information and wouldn’t have taken Google long to work out that the original source was probably the website that had been online the longest.

You need to be patient

So, the age of a website became a ranking factor and the newer the site the less chance it had of ranking for any search term until it had been around long enough for Google to begin to trust it.

In fact, we have now reached the point now where Google suggests that it takes them around 12 months to list a new website.

That doesn’t mean that every new website is going to have to live in some other dimension until it matures. Some websites will pop up in the search results much sooner but if you new website deals with an industry or a niche where you already have lots of competition then the chances of you outranking those older websites is a lot less.

It seems that Google thinks that a good website is like a fine wine … it needs to mature a little.

By |August 14th, 2017|Google|Comments Off on The Age of Your Website Is a Ranking Factor

Four Things You Need to Know About Google

There is a lot of confusion about Google among new website owners.

Many believe that Google offers them a guarantee of success for their business and that their website will instantly hit the top of the rankings and that all they must do is sit back and let the money roll in.

Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth and, to help you better understand how Google works, here are four things that you need to know about Google.

They may not fit with your view of Google but after 20 years of working with search engines this is the truth.

Why can’t I find my website in Google?
This is a question that we are asked by almost every new client within a day or two of their website being completed. People seem to have an expectation that they will instantly be able to find their website in Google and nothing could be further from reality.

Google offers no promises and it makes no guarantees that it will ever list your website.

In fact, Google says quite clearly that it can take up to 12 months before it will list a new website … and even then, there is no guarantee that it will list a website for the keywords and keyword phrases that are important for your business.

While experienced web designers will do everything they possibly can to get the fundamentals of search engine optimisation right for your website there are simply no guarantees.

Google is not your friend

Why isn’t my website on the first page of Google?
This is another question that we are constantly asked by clients who do not understand how Google works.

Google compares every website to a very complex list of over 250 different factors that it considers to be important in ranking those sites. The sites that Google ranks above your website in the search results for terms that are important to you are the sites that do better than your website in those comparisons.

Google does not tell us what those ranking factors are or how important each of those factors are. However, we do know that Google can, and does, change the importance of some of those ranking factors from time to time.

We also have a fairly good idea of what some of those ranking factors are and some are listed here … in no particular order:

The age of your website. (You can read more about age as a ranking factor here)

How many links from other, relevant and trusted websites point to your website? (You can read more about links here)

Is the focus of your website relevant to the search term someone is looking for?

Is it easy to find important information on your website?

Is your site useful or is it just trying to sell something?

Does your website load quickly? (Currently Google wants it to load in under 3 seconds.)

Is your website user-friendly for people who are looking at it on a mobile phone or tablet?

When was the last time anything new was added to your website?

Those are just some of the things that Google looks at when it visits your website.

You also need to remember that the search results display many other websites and every one of them wants to achieve good results too so you are competing with a lot of people for the few listings that appear on the first page of any search results that Google displays.

It’s Google’s game and Google sets the rules

If my website gets to the front page of Google will it stay there?
No, there is never any guarantee that your website will stay at the top of the search results.

Google is continually tweaking those ranking factors and in the last 12 months it has made over a thousand changes. Some of those changes are minor while others have had a major impact on the way sites are ranked.

Google rarely tells us when changes are coming and doesn’t always tell us about the changes after they have been made. That means that you can be on top of the rankings one day and not on the first four pages by the next morning.

Can I pay someone to get me better rankings for my website?
Yes, you can. There are plenty of reputable search engine optimisation specialists out there who can work to improve your rankings but this type of work is slow and expensive.

There are also a lot of less reputable people out there who will offer you the same services but for a lot less and much reduced time frame. Unfortunately, they will deliver a quite different result.

In general people who offer you cheap and fast results cut corners and try to cheat their way to the top. When Google sees the work that these guys are doing on your website your site will disappear from Google’s listing in a heartbeat.

Google accepts that website owners want to achieve the best rankings and are prepared to pay for specialists to achieve those rankings for them. What Google doesn’t want to see is work done that has obviously been done to fool Google into giving you a good ranking.

When Google thinks that you have been trying to cheat your way to the top it will penalise or ban your website and recovering from either of those can be a long and expensive process.

Always remember that:

Google offers no guarantees

Google sets the rules

There are no shortcuts

Google will penalise or ban your website if it thinks you have been trying to game the system to achieve a good ranking.

So, if you are building your business on the business that you think that Google will send your way then perhaps you need to have patience or a Plan B

By |August 14th, 2017|Google|Comments Off on Four Things You Need to Know About Google