Over the course of my 13-year career as a website developer, I’ve seen massive changes in the sophistication levels of the search engines and I have taken many different approaches to getting good rankings for my clients’ sites.
Google in particular changes their methods and algorithms regularly to stay on top of the tide of people who spam and try to manipulate search results; it can be hard to keep current as far as best practices go.
So what’s a business owner to do? Simple – stay aboveboard, be part of the community and offer a useful resource in the form of steady delivery of quality content.
1. DO write clear, useful, original, helpful content. If you sell bananas, start a banana blog where you discuss industry trends, offer unusual recipes, and communicate with your customers about the fruit trade.
2. DO publish frequently. Google now has human searchers who browse your website to see if you’re actively cultivating it, and whether your content is relevant, useful and interesting.
3. DO be a good community member. This is beyond just business networking; you need to think of your particular internet community (composed of banana farmers, buyers, sellers, and consumers, for example) as being like the public square in a small town. Hang out with one another on message boards and websites, have discussions, comment on each other’s work, and make a name for yourself as that friendly merchant who is willing to take part in the activities and social life of the group.
3.5. DON’T do any of the things on Google’s list of no-nos. This point, in my opinion, only rates half a measure because it should be obvious. Don’t build a dozen affiliate sites to inflate the perception of your business. Don’t stuff your pages with keywords (creating strangled, hard-to-read prose which feels like it was written by a robot). Don’t hide keywords in your pages, and don’t copy content from other sites, even if you have permission.