Ranking in Google

I pulled an article from my feeds the other day from SEOmoz that was very interesting.  Basically, it’s a discussion and compilation of what is important SEO-wise for sites from 37 of the top people in the field.  For those of us who can’t afford our own search engine marketers and/or don’t have a lot of experience separating the myths from the facts it was very eye opening.  It confirmed a lot of what I had believed and implemented, as well as adding some new ideas to my head.

It is a rather long article, so I’ve compiled a sort of top 10 list of things that they found to be extremely important.  These are not in order of importance.  All factors are taken from the article and are attributed to SEOmoz.  Summaries are provided for convenience by BogeyWebDesign.

  1. Page title tag – using keywords in your title tag not only shows up in results but is likely one of, if not the, highest ranking SEO element.  Christine Churchill said it best: “If you have time to do only one SEO action on your site, take the time to create good titles.” One interesting negative factor is repetition of title on many pages – keep your titles as page specific as possible.
  2. Link popularity of site – incoming links, both in quality and quantity.  It also talks about sub-categorizing this further as links inbound from high ranking sites in your niche also help.
  3. Age of site – not when registered but from the date of first index by search engines.  Google especially factors this in with regards to trust.
  4. Anchor text of inbound links – the text around the links coming to your site.  Has started to depreciate though according to their experts.
  5. Keyword use in body text – how much the search term appears in your actual content.
  6. Relationship of content to keyword – how much your content actually matches those keywords.  This could also hurt you if you pull in for a keyword but don’t support it – in the case of spammers putting high use keywords to pull in for say selling ED medicine.
  7. Keyword Use in H1 Tag – the trick is to avoid too much repetition of keywords.  Perhaps a broader one in your title, with more meaty relevant content around the keyword in the H1 tag.
  8. Topical Relevance of Inbound Links – do inbound links to your site focus on a similar topic.  Again, building link popularity in your niche.
  9. Link Popularity of Site in Topical Community – another factor they rated high that relates to being popular and relevant in your niche.
  10. Rate of New Inbound Links to Site – how often do people link to your site.  The more popular you are, the more relevant you likely are to the subject.

So it seems that not only should you build a key site, but by becoming a player in your niche/topic – through white hat tactics – you will gain more credibility.  It makes sense.  For example, when you google “css” one of the top links is the CSS Zen Garden.  What is that site known for?  Revolutionizing the use of CSS on the web.  And most sites that have content on CSS likely link to them one or more times.  I probably have a dozen if not more links to that one site on mine.

The bottom line?  Design a clean, relevant site with keywords prominently displayed in the right places – title tag, H1’s – and work to become a resource to other sites in your niche as well as people who might be searching the web for that content.

Random Tidbit: Also on SEOmoz is a nice tool to help you see the page strength of your site SEO-wise.  I used it on my site and between that and the article have already taken steps to strengthen my site including changing my homepage title tag and trying to get my site re-indexed – especially considering I’ve added dozens of pages of new content.  I think I might delete my old blog since repetition issues might be the case.

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