Top 10 Ways To Raise Your Site In Google

And in other search engines, too

Get the WebProNews Newsletter:

[ Search]

No matter how much some people claim the SEO industry is a den of snake-oil salesmen, there are still definite ways webmasters can improve their rankings, and thus their visibility in Google’s search results.

This isn’t a manipulation game—Google absolutely hates that game and will punish you for it—which is perhaps what the darker element of the SEO world sells. Good, in-bounds SEO is made up of smart, user-and-search-engine friendly techniques. Think of SEO as a performance-enhancing drug—one that won’t get you kicked out of baseball.

That being said, there are tons of things webmasters can do to help their sites perform better in search, so this list is not by a long shot finished. It is, though, what we think are the top ten strategies for better search engine—and by "search engine" I mean "Google" – placement.

1. Title tags 

Listed by others as one of the Big Three (tags, links, and text), we’re putting title tags at the top. The words in the title tag appear in the link that pops up in the search result. This is where you tell the search engine (and the would-be visitor) as succinctly as possible what needs to be known: company or publication name; relevant, targeted keyword or keyword phrase taken from the text of the page. Each page should have a title tag as Google ranks each page individually, not the site in its entirety.

2. Content

The order of the Big Three is very debatable, but really they work as parts of the whole; not one of them can be left out if the machine is to work properly. In this case, you probably understand that content should be quality, however that is defined, but it should also be rich in the keywords you are targeting to drive search traffic. That doesn’t mean just throwing them in there like you’re cooking up a pot of SEO gumbo, though. Keyword use and keyword variation should be natural and not overstuffed. For the visual text part of the page, focus on working in the relevant words and phrases you want people to find you for.

3. Quality Links

Or more specifically, backlinks, links to your site from outside sources. Links are your letters of recommendation. If nobody’s recommending you, or the recommendations seem phony, then it won’t work. Authority links are weighted most heavily, of course, so try to get industry-related authority sites to link to your site. 

4. Quantity Links

Authority (high quality) links are by nature more difficult to get, so you’ll have to start somewhere else unless you already have the brand recognition you need from square one. Many SEOers propose "link-swaps" to each other and it used to be common trade to buy and sell links. But as Google demonstrated last Fall, you can’t buy Google’s love that way. In fact, you’ll get the opposite of love. So, try to get as many links as you can from industry peers the good old-fashioned way – by promoting. Submit links to respected directories like DMOZ and Yahoo, as well. A large burst of low-quality, non-authoritative, or bad-neighborhood links, though, can do a lot more harm than good; so keep things natural.

5. URL

The importance of the URL is often debated, but one argument seems to make more sense than the others. Search engines don’t like too many parameters in the URL (easy to confuse the spiders with & and ?) and people can’t read those long URLs and tell what they mean at a glance either. The people aspect here is especially important, because they’re the ones clicking and they need to understand where a link leads them at a millisecond glance. Lesson: keywords in the URL are a good idea.

6. Spider Food

Search spiders eat HTML, not Flash. They eat text, not pictures. Make the spiders happy with HTML and lots of text to eat.

7. Site Architecture

There’s a lot to consider here, but the goal is creating a site spiders can easily access, a site that tells them where to go and what to index. Sitemaps are vital for this purpose, as is proper use of Robots.txt. Just this week, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst Susan Moskwa posted 7 must-read Webmaster Central blog posts about these very topics.

8. Frequently Updated Content

You could start a site, slap some content on it, and let it sit there in cyber space. It’ll be indexed, most likely. But you really expand your credibility as a devoted, relevant source if you update regularly. In addition to spiders, it gives people a reason to come back, too.

9. Start a Blog

A great way to establish yourself as an authority voice on the Internet is to start a blog about the industry you’re in. Maintaining a blog means another entry point with regularly updated content that eventually with some authority helps pull up the main site via targeted links to the site, or specific pages within the site. It’s not a spam blog, which will be zapped eventually, if there’s useful content on it and legitimate linking.   

10. Don’t Forget Humans

This is so important, it probably should be higher up on the list. There’s an art to designing a site that is friendly to both Google crawlers and the people you ultimately want to convert. Without people, what’s the point? So first design for them, and then tweak to please the spiders, not the other way around. Jakob Nielsen is a usability guru you’ll want to check out. He’s been telling people how make user-centric websites since web directories were still phonebooks—you know, on paper.  

Top 10 Ways To Raise Your Site In Google
Top Rated White Papers and Resources
  • Guest

    did you pay this person to post? :) If she loves all of your articles then you might think about asker her out on a date     

    • Guest

      How do you know Kim’s a she? Kim could be Korean and a he. Kim could not be Kim at all, but a Bruce or a Chuck.

      Anyway you slice it, I’m straight and married. Too bad for Kim, eh?

      • http://www.profitimo.com Justin Lim

        leave her alone..it’s Valentines :)

  • http://www.noodleware.com Rick Horvath

    Yawn!   That’s how I feel about all these philosophys about getting better rankings. First of all – it’s not all about Google! There are other major search engines like Yahoo! (which for my money is of more interest to web surfers) and Ask, and when MSN gets their act together, which always takes them a long while – there may be another engine (if they don’t buy Yahoo!)

    The ‘rules’ for better ranking has changed so many times over the years, that you just need to decide what to do and stick with it.

    I use the same techniques that I used 5 years ago and still get ranked well. I don’t care how many characters need to be in the title tag, or any of that junk.

    I simple design a logical set of META tags that work  and then I submit them with 2 different programs.

    My page Ranking reports and webstats prove to me that I am achieving sucess and my clients are happy.

    So if you think there are secrets or too much to figure out, contact my company and we’ll get you ranked – plain and simple


    Rick Horvath


    • http://www.iwebsitebroker.com guest

      Thanks for the great article.

      Rick, I dont suppose you can let us know what the 2 different programs are?

      Chris Eaton


    • http://www.pci-express.info/ Olin Coles

      First things first: people who speak with authority should be an authority.  I checked the GPR of your noodleware.com website: 3.  Then I went to check the site: Page could not be displayed.

      At first I thought your comment was absurd, but after researching your "authority", I have discovered the you are merely delusional.  Google holds nearly all market share for searches, and all of the competition combined make up less than a tenth of their share.  Great advise you give: bet on the dead horse.

      Now that I think about it, perhaps the reason that your company cannot be contacted is because you offer nothing in the way of business.  Hope you learn how all this works, before you poison someone’s mind with nonsense.

  • Mick

    Individuals who can’t spell or form complete sentences. Yeah, I’m going to take THEIR advice or contact THEM for a consultation.


    Rule #1 – put a professional face on it or lose all credibility sparky.

    Loved the article, Jason – well done. I’m going to print it out and go back and review some of my sites.


  • http://www.profitimo.com Justin Lim

    Jason. thanks for the article. You made it sound easy to understand for the laymen and easy to implement.



  • http://www.marieshoes.com Gene

    My thanks for the refresher course. It always good to review a website against the ever changing Google ruler that changes faster than a stripper can doff her clothes.

  • http://www.chantillylaceinn.com Guest

    I found this article to be straight forward as I am a self taught non techie person.  I own just 1 over night lodging in Eureka Springs, AR and know that 99% of my folks looking to visit there find there lodging on the internet.  And why not??  So for me, I do much of the SEO myself and subscribe to organizations such as this and very much appriciate author’s such as Jason who can provide such great info with examples to go along.

    Thank you Jason Lee Miller!!!

  • http://gurubashid.com/blog GuruBashid

    Jason. thanks for your tips. You made it sound easy to understand for the laymen like me and easy to implement.  But it’s all take time.

  • http://practicallyathome.blogspot.com Linda

    Great practical advice! Thanks!

  • http://www.bucatarul.ro Bogdan

    This is a nice article about why google loves websites and how to optimize it . This are TOP 10 but there are more that are not told or used yet by every person.There are some other SEO tehnics that well worth to write about them.

  • http://www.bucatarul.ro Bogdan

    This is a nice article about why google loves websites and how to optimize it . This are TOP 10 but there are more that are not told or used yet by every person.There are some other SEO tehnics that well worth to write about them.


  • Melvin

    I am tring to build a web page my qeustion is where is the best place to start what i means there are webs on  the internet and its free. Or do i write my own html? also when the web is build whats the best place to put it so people can see it and go there.

    • Guest

      Dear Melvin

      Maybe, before you start building a web page you should brush up on your grammar and spelling!

      • Guest

        The guy was asking a question and here you come with your nose in the air.    My grammer and spelling are also not good but I do well for my self and when it comes to the mechanical or oppisite sex, I bet you are a complete moron. Does putting others down make you feel better about your potty training trama? 

    • http://www.sakara.net Karras

      I recommend you go to http://www.bravenet.com . This is a great place for beginners. They offer lots of  ways to help and a free webpage for you to develop. Once you get your skills down they also offer a web hosting service that is one of the most reasonably priced  They can even help you register your domain name. Good luck to you and welcome to cyberspace.

  • http://www.professionalhealer.com Peter K

    Thanks Jason for the article, but it seems to be missing anything to do with regional sorting. I have heard alot of optimization is also being done for regional results, is this true? It does seem to be pretty much the same information for the last year or two. At the SEO strategy conference it all seems to be sales and nobody really has the breakdown of what percentage of what really works.


    Owner of: http://www.professionalhealer.com

  • http://www.greymatterindia.com/ Dane Phillip

    Thanks Jason for this useful tips

    Can these tips sufficient for other search engines.

  • Mike

    great article but its tripe really.

    google puts a completely BLANK homepage up in the top 5 rankings of the most common search phrase for an entire country!

    dont believe me?


    check out the cyprusholidayrent dot com link.

    all this is about for google is mass links. buy them, steal them, do whatever you want, google wont notice any bad stuff, this site is definitive proof.

    • Barry

      I jsut checked the wayback machine… the cypress site does seem to have been "non" for 6 Months!


      So, anyone wantto look at the links… as there must be a lot of good, solid, reliable links to keep a virtually blank page up there that long.

  • http://all-about-health-and-beauty.blogspot.com/ rx_fruit_smoothies

    I regularly update my blog but still it gets few visitors!

    • http://baijukb.blogspot.com SEO Baiju

      i think keywords plays a vital role, so use some targeted keywords in your content which is visible in website…also try to write original content, never copy paste from somewhere…i hope this will work to get some traffic

  • http://www.cheapcharlieshotels.com chuck miser

  • http://www.cheap-lawyers.us/ Fred

    Putting keywords in is half the battle research on what the important keywords is vital if the end result of your work is additional qualified individuals to your site.

    Keyword phrases that are searched on will generate targeted traffic to your site correct bundling of keyword phrases today with all of the sites out there is important.



  • Linda

    What about bad links coming in? I checked the links and found some that were irrelevant  to my business. Can these be removed or is that irrelevant too?


  • http://www.digitalnasties.com Guest

    it about time some other search site replace google it getting to big kind of like mirco$oft, and starting to push user around.

  • mofamike

    Your Top 10 rules are common sense even though valuable as not considered oftentimes (or not possible to be considered due to company internal restrictions).

    Anyway, most of us know that there are more ways to get higher rankings in SER. There are still "white hat" SEO tricks to cheat google to affort higher rankings.Just thought on "PR pushing" or "keyword gravity". Maybe worth to mention in another Top10 blogpost?



  • Guest

    Good stuff. Very useful in optimizing my site at www.eMarketRealtry.net and www.flatfee-mlslistings.com 

  • http://www.eMarketRealty.net John Funk

    good info for help optimizing my sites at www.emarketrealty.net and www.flatfee-mlslistings.com

  • http://www.crystiques.com Barbara Wilson

    Very good information! Definetly will implement these tips better into my site! Thanks for the information!   

  • http://www.dalbyforestlogcabins.co.uk Liz

    Of course, many of us cannot afford SEO professionals. Small log cabin owners just have to plough their own furrow

  • http://www.soitbemaybe.com Charles

    You forgot the most important one – patience


  • http://www.efuse.co.uk EFuse Solutions

    Great article, thanks for the pointers. It is tough getting yourself up there without paying the witch doctors for their shady SEO. Tried that once before and ended up in Google Hell. Hopefully this optimisation will help our IT support company in Manchester be top ranking!

    http://www.efuse.co.uk/  Top IT support in the UK for small businesses

  • http://www.thestolenpics.com Novalis

    brings out a nice perspective about SEO. A pragmatic one


    Nova Mikel


  • http://www.dontneedyourjuice.com Benjamin

    Im sorry, I really am not trying to sound like an ass, but I am getting so tired of seeing the same thing over and over and over again. There is nothing new here, you left out some really important methods, dont just go through the motions – but if you feel you have to, at least put something in the beginning saying thats what you are doing.

    • Jason Lee Miller

      publications don’t always give insight into the editorial process, but in your case, we can make an exception. It was clear from the outset in the conceptualization phase that this was fairly basic SEO. When a publication is growing (and we are certainly doing that) it’s important to sometimes go backward to go forward, that is: It’s important to review the basics so the new kids aren’t completely lost and so the not-so-new kids can solidify what they already know.

      I don’t know if you read the article via the newsletter or via the website, but in the newsletter there’s an editor’s note that acknowledged these weren’t all the methods and they may even be debatable, which is why we invite comments in the first place–to expand on knowledge already built. I think that’s constructive, not recycling, what do you think?

      You added #11, but judging from your comment, you have better tips than that one. How about sharing some of that knowledge, eh?

  • http://www.pure-performance.com Mark

    Search engines love blogs, but they seem to be leaving forums in the dust.  How can we use the forum model but get blog results?  Is there any new forum software that search engines like?

  • http://liquidwealthonline.com Perfect Wealth Formula

    Great list, though I would put people a little higher than #10.  Ultimately, if you can’t satisfy the reader or customer, the other 9 are just gimmicks – very necessary gimmicks though :)

  • http://www.youthchg.com R wells

    Thanks for a "how to improve your rankings" article that isn’t just a re-hash of the same advice.

  • http://www.mapsbuilder.com Jonathan

    Same old basic tips, but how many websites out there STILL don’t do even these simple things.  In addition to #6 – don’t forget the sitemaps ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • http://www.mapsbuilder.com Jonathan

    Same old basic tips, but how many websites out there STILL don’t do even these simple things.  In addition to #6 – don’t forget the sitemaps ๐Ÿ˜‰


  • http://www.greenwebdesign.com Jessica

    Thanks for the great article. These are some of the exact same things that I tell my prospective SEO clients when trying to explain some of what we do. 

    The thing that is often hardest to sell people on is the meta tag information.  So many people have been wrongly informed that "meta tags make no difference and are not helpful".  However, most also have NO idea what the words "meta tags" actually mean and are just repeating what they heard somewhere else.  That every single page of a website should have it’s own unique TITLE tag, among other things, is difficult to make some people believe. 

    The TITLE tag is the most important meta tag for SEO purposes, but the description, copyright, and several other meta tags are just as useful to have on your website too!  As a website designer, I have programmed myself throughout the years to always make sure that every site I design has carefully thought out meta tags, and it drives me nuts when I get new customers whose websites have no meta tags, or broken / incorrect tags.  It’s such a simple thing, yet it seems that very few do it right!

    Okay, done ranting about meta tags now.  Great article  :)

  • http://nuurl.us/f5ea6 1on40 and Ask.com Breking News !

    Breaking news for website owners ! MOre on our site…

  • http://www.creativebox.ltd.uk SEO

    Holy plop!! Cannot believe that an xml site map and its subsequent decleration in the robots.txt file isn’t in the top five at least.!!

  • P0pcornB0y

    Concerning tip 4b., "A large burst of low-quality, non-authoritative, or bad-neighborhood links, though, can do a lot more harm than good; so keep things natural."

    I don’t believe this.  Self-proclaimed SEO "gurus" have been saying this for a while… but there’s no evidence at all that you can do anything to hurt your site that another open user on the web could do.

    Are you telling me that all I need to do to hurt my competitors is to submit their site(s) to a couple of thousand pr0 directories and that will hurt their rankings?  All that costs is about $50 for a directory submitter in India.

    No… it will never hurt your site to be linked as many places on the net as possible.  Otherwise, anybody could kill anybody else’s site easily.  Again, seo guys like to say this, but there’s no evidence at all.

  • http://www.lasercartridgeplus.com Merilee


    • Merilee

      No longer need any help there. I no longer work there.

  • Guest

    I know that I am extremely new at this so bare with me.  I did backlinking on my site or so I thought I did, but when I check through the Google toolbar it says that there is none.  The links are not on the homepage they are on a page within the site.  Is this not the way to do it.  How exactly do you achieve backlinking?  The links go directly to the site they are supposed to so I thought it was working out great!  These links have been on for more than 4 months and the websites are still up.  Any help?

  • http://www.bransonlead.com Guest

    Thanks for the great info.  I am relatively new to this, and I have learned a lot of valuable information on this site!


  • http://www.webtacs.net/page-rank/ Page Rank Info

    Awesome, simple and easy tips. But, common knowledge at this point to most people

  • http://www.ezmlslisting.com Guest

    All of these make a lot of sense, I wish there was a way to trouble a website that would tell a webmaster what could be improved upon.

  • http://www.chicagoflatfeelisting.net Ralph

    Does anyone know if there is a college that offers SEO Classes?

  • http://www.riversagency.com/professional-website-design.html website design chapel hill

    There are definitly ways in which you can help your rankings without being sneaky or manipulative towards the algorithm.  I was meeting with yahoo about some trusted feed stuff and they were telling me, although I think its higher, that well engineered title tags make up 50% of the rankings.  Now among millions and millions of sites 50% wont get you to far, but doing the other key things to compliment the title tag engineering, such as H1, H2, content, and well engineered inbound links will work wonders.  This should all be done during your web design process and not after.

  • http://www.MosaicWebsite.com Website Design Pennsylvania

    This will be great to pass on to my staff. Thanks!

  • http://www.seowebdesignfirm.com/seo-training.htm seo training course

    some great tips and I feel that educating the business is the best way to accomplish long term success.

  • http://chicago.seowebdesignfirm.com/seo-training-class.htm chicago seo class

    Great stuff.. agree with most of it.  Nice work again Jason.

  • http://www.tmdesigner.it Giuseppe

    Argomantazioni molto interessanti..le terrò presenti nelle prossime operazioni di posizionamento su Google.. Bel Lavoro!!

  • http://www.chicagoflatfeelisting.net Guest

    I think you have a very good point here!

  • http://www.flat-fee-mls-listing-for-sale-by-owner.com Flat Fee MLS

    What programs do you use>

  • Join for Access to Our Exclusive Web Tools
  • Sidebar Top
  • Sidebar Middle
  • Sign Up For The Free Newsletter
  • Sidebar Bottom