How to rank high on search engines? Beginner's guide to SEO.

Karlis Blumentals

You have created a website. One problem - it is not showing up on Google's search results. The reality is that 90% of people search information on Google. If you want to be successful, it is absolutely necessary to become liked by Google (and other search engines for that matter).

So, what can you do about it? How do you get your website listed on Google? Fortunately there are steps you can take. As a matter of fact there is a full-fledged science called SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which is all about increasing website's ranking on search engines.

Get indexed and listed

For your website to show up on search engines, it must be found and listed (indexed) by search engines. It works like this - you must have your link placed on some other website (preferably multiple websites) which are already known by and listed on search engines. Whenever search engine re-visits known websites, it looks for links to new, undiscovered websites and once such links are found, new websites are added.

There is also a quicker way - you can fill-in a simple web form and let search engine find your website directly:

Once the search engine finds out about your website, it will usually be indexed and listed within a few minutes. Please note, that while being listed on search engines is easy, appearing among the top results is not. Initially your page will appear way down below top search results on most keywords. It could be page 3, page 9 or even much worse for some keywords.

Improve your position

Getting your website appear between the top results might involve some work and dedication. Why? Because there are millions of websites competing for the few top spots. So Google has to choose who gets the top spot. If Google decides that a website is more valuable and more relevant for a particular keyword, it will show up higher. The opposite is true as well. So your website must be good enough to compete with the top ranking websites.

How do you ensure that your website is ranked higher and gets better results? Here are a few tips.

1. Write valuable and original content that your visitors would appreciate

Your website must contain original content that is of interest and value to your visitors. Google scans your website, detects this type of content and will show your website higher up the search results if it considers you have something worthy to share.

If your website contains just product descriptions and info about your company it looks like just another online business and this is usually not enough to rank high for some keywords. If, on the other hand, your website holds plenty info on the subject containing your target keywords, it begins to look more like an authority on the subject and this makes your website look more valuable to search engines (and also to your visitors).

So, consider writing a blog about your industry, providing professional advice, interesting publications or research. The content must be original and not copied from other websites. Copied content is ignored and gives you no good.

Here are some ideas:

  • Write a blog or post publications related to your industry, products or services
  • Post extensive FAQ about your products or services
  • Publish instructions or professional advice

2. Place the right keywords in your content

Your website text must contain your target keywords. For best results, your target keywords must appear in your headings and close to the top of your page. It is essential that keywords are highly relevant and that they appear naturally within text. Never ever do any artificial keyword stuffing, because Google can easily detect this and this behavior may get your website punished and banned from search engines. The main focus should be on the content, not keywords, however make sure that your relevant keywords do appear a few times as well.

Before targeting any particular keywords, it is always a good idea to do research and find out what keywords your potential customers would actually use. Here are some tips:

  • Think about what keywords would you use
  • Ask a few friends or family members to search for competing product or service (if you ask them to search for yours, they will most likely use your brand name)
  • Use Google Keyword Planner

Note that keyword placement can and should be done for each and every page of your website. To get the best results and target larger number of keywords, each page of your website should focus on a slightly different topic and should target its own, relevant keywords.

Read more: How to choose the right keywords?

3. Make use of TITLE and META description tags

Now I will not be teaching you any coding right now. But if your website's content management system supports (and it should) TITLE and META description tags, you should make use of them. Both of them are simple textual fields. Sometimes they will be labeled just as Title and Description.

For Title (TITLE tag) enter brief, descriptive title for your page. It should be around 70 characters in length and should contain your most important keywords.

For Description (META description tag) enter an accurate summary of your page contents. This text is often used by search engines when showing preview text for your website in search results.

To get the most out of your website, this should be set separately for every page of your website.

4. Get links from other popular high-quality websites

To rank high on search results, it is absolutely essential to have your website linked from popular, high-quality websites. Why? Well, Google considers your website more popular and more valuable if other popular and high ranking websites contain links to your site. Each link to your website from another site works like a "vote". The more votes you have, the better your rank.

However be aware that links from low-quality and spammy websites will not work and may even get you banned, so never ever try to create artificial link collection by spamming comments or creating a network of fake websites linking to your site. Do not game Google, you will loose and get banned forever.

So how do you get natural links? Here are some tips:

  • Make sure your content is so good, unique and interesting that everybody else wants to share it and link to it
  • Get listed in online directories or industry-specific catalogues
  • Ask your partners and affiliates to link to your website
  • Create social network profiles and enter your website there
  • Create blog posts and publications and share them on social networks
  • Do guest posting on high quality third party blogs, make sure your articles include links to your site
  • Be active on your industry-specific forums and communities, add link to your signature whenever appropriate
  • Other creative ways

5. Post fresh content on a regular basis

Search engines tend to give an extra point for websites that post new content on a regular basis. Such websites are considered providing fresh and more up to date information.

If your website mostly consists of content that never changes, consider adding a blog or news section where you can post publications and news on a regular basis. Not only this may increase your search rankings, it will also make your website look more fresh and up to date to your visitors.

6. Be on social networks

First, social media profiles rank on search engines, so this is an extra point for spreading your website link around. Second, the more people talk about you and your website, the more it gets shared and spread around. This may do good to your search engine rankings. And while posting your links in your social media channel is not usually counted by search engines, the overall indirect effect is usually positive.

7. Learn more about SEO and use SEO techniques

SEO is one of the internet marketing cornerstones. To compete successfully with other websites, you must use as many SEO weapons as you can. Here is a list of resources that may help you maximize your SEO performance:

8. Consider hiring a professional SEO help

By doing SEO yourself you can surely save a lot of money, because professional internet marketing services are expensive, but it also requires a lot of time and effort. While SEO services usually are rather expensive, you may save a lot of time and get better results by using professional SEO specialist or agency.