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How to Improve Your Search Engine Rankings on Google

Step by Step Guide

The first component of optimizing your site for the search engines deals with deciding on the keywords your site is going to target. This is a crucial decision and a fundamental part of achieving success with search engine optimization. You could do everything else perfectly, but target the wrong keywords and your site will be a total failure.

Obviously you should decide on keywords that people are actually using to look for your products or services, than you want to look for keywords that are not too competitive. How you do this? this art is called "keyword research' and unfortunately is beyond the scope of the article.

On Page SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Once you have decided on the keywords and have your web pages and content in place it's time to optimize them so that your pages will rank as high as possible on Google and the other search engines.

While the "Off-Page" optimization, mainly the external linking, is what will make the biggest difference - the on-page optimization is a prerequisite for your SEO success. What I mean to say is that if the on-page optimization is not done right, the best off-line optimization in the world will not help you one bit. so you need to pay attention here.

I'll walk you now step by step in what you need to do:

1. Title tag - this is an HTML tag that goes within the header section of a web page. Title tags are the most important on-page factor for SEO. Your keyword should be included within the title tag preferably close to the beginning of it. This is what Google shows on its search results page so you should also make it attractive so that it will entice searchers to click on it. Don't just throw your keyword there, make sure that it is appealing.

2. Headline tags (H1, H2, H3)  - make sure your page include one H1 tag with your keyword in it. This headline tag shows Google that the text within it is important to the intended audience.

3. Meta Description tag - while this does not have a bearing on the ranking of the page, Google still pulls the text of how it describes your page to other people from this tag - be sure to make it attractive so that more people will be clicking your page.

4. Images - you should include at list 1 image in each page. Make sure one of the images has your keyword in its ALT tag. All other images need to also have ALT tags but should not include your keyword in them. Too many ALT tags with your keyword can lead to an over optimization penalty by Google.

5. Keyword density - the exact keyword density is not important, I'll say it again, the exact percentage of the keyword density is not import. Simply include about 3 instances of your keyword in each page, one of them should be close to the beginning of the article, one of them can be in Bold or Italics and that will do (do not be tempted to overdo it - that's a common newbie mistake).

6. Synonyms - you can include 2 or 3 synonyms to your page that does not include exact words from your keyword.

7. Article Topic - this is important- your content should be on topic and match the niche and the keyword that is being targeted.

8. Outbound link - add one outbound link pointing to an authority site in your topic. This could be a Wikipedia page in a similar topic to yours. Place it at the bottom of the page, you can call it 'recommended source' or something similar. Ah, and do not add a 'no follow' tag to it, leave it in a natural state.

9. Unique Content - the page should be unique and not a duplicated one, if you are using a spun article it should be at least 75% unique. it should also be making sense and has decent grammar.

10. Length of articles - Google likes lots of text on webpages, aim at between 1000 and 1500 words long. Be sure to vary the length of the articles in a site. Don't make all the articles exactly the same size.

Off Page SEO

Once your site is online and the on-page optimization is set, it's time to start creating links pointing to it. Search rankings for a specific keyword are primarily driven by the back-links to your website. But not all back-links are treated equally. The more powerful a back link is, the more "juice" it flows into your website. And the more "link juice" that flows into your website, the higher your website ranks in the search results. So both quantity and quality of back-links are important in ranking higher in search results.

Getting external links (links on other websites pointing to your site), is the single most critical factor for attaining high rankings and consequently making money online.

Your link building activities are what will make or break your online business. On one hand, when done right, it can blast your pages to the top of Google - on the other hand, even a small mistake can drop your pages into the Google abyss.

Too many links containing the exact same anchor text - Boom, Busted!
Too many links from low quality sites - Boom, Busted!
Too many links coming from just one genre (e.g. only from directories) - Boom, Busted!
Too many links coming from non relevant pages - Boom, Busted!
You get the picture...

That is why I strongly encourage you to acquire every piece of link building knowledge you can lay your hands on. Sorry pal, there is no way around it. if you wish to succeed in internet marketing you must know link building. Even if you are planning to outsource your link building tasks, you should be able to supervise everything that is done for you, and you should ask that they get your approval in advance for all the details of each linking campaign they run for you.

Listen to what happened to me once...

One of my sites had a page that was ranked #6 on the first page of Google's search results for a very competitive term for a couple of years. This page was earning me a nice sum of money day in and day out. One day I decided to try to improve its ranking, I contracted a firm from the Philippines to do a small manual linking campaign for this page. This firm came highly appraised on the forums and the people there were nice and seem knowledgeable. At that time I was busy with a big project and also a bit out of laziness I neglected to ask for a preapproval. To make a long story short, one month and 400 Dollars later my page sank to the fourth page of the Google SERPs.

Now there are two morals to the story:

First, don't count on anyone to do a link building job for you without your approval, in advance, of any small detail of it.

Second, If you have a money producing page ranked anywhere on the first page of Google - don't mess with it!

If you are curious as to what went wrong with this campaign. In the postmortem I discovered that they created too many back-links with the exact keyword as the link text - and this is something that Google does not like.

Now how do you go about building links to your site? the bad news is that many methods that worked in the past lost their effectiveness, that include getting links from: Web 2.0's, Social Bookmarking, Directories, Blog Comments, Article Directories, Press Releases - all these have been downgraded by Google. I mean they still have some value, but they will only help you with low competitive keywords.

To be ranking for medium to high competitive keywords you need quality links, that means getting links from sites that themselves have quality links, that is tough, I know.

Here is one way to go about this: First you need to have quality contents that websites want to link to. Once you have that you start outreaching to website owners and blogs in your niche (that are not direct competitors) and ask to write articles for their sites with a link to your site within the content or in a Small 'about the author' paragraph. Hopeful you'll get some quality links this way.

In addition you should go for 'link Favors' - ask friends, Acquaintances and family to place links pointing from their sites to yours.

Now, when you have control on the structure of the back-links you should aim at varying the anchor text as much as possible since Google discount too many instances of exact match anchor text. Follow these guidelines for the link text (anchor text) of your back links (these are just general guidelines you don't need to follow these percentages to the letter):

Not more than 1% main keyword exact match (e.g.: "main keyword") and variation of main keyword (e.g.: "best main keyword resource"). If possible, place these links on the most relevant and quality sites.

10% your brand name.

70% generic anchor text (e.g.: "click here, here, clicking here, good resource, see this, have a look").

10% URL of the page as the link text (e.g.: "" or "" or "http//").

Note: before you create back-links with any site, make sure they are not adding the NoFollow tag to their links - do not create links with sites that NoFollow their links, they are worthless.

I'll close this article with a small warning: The links for your site should be created manually and gradually. This means it should be done by you or outsourced to a firm that does manual linking - no automatic software. You can’t speed up stuff like link building, or else you’re going to get penalized.

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