How does Google rank your site in the search listings?

Search Engine Optimization 101

If you ever wondered how to make your website rise to the coveted first page of a search on Google, you are not alone. This info has been widely sought after by many web developers and business owners. Until several weeks ago all we could do was take an educated guess, all based on internet assumptions, as to how we could boost our performance on Google. But, recently Google applied for a patent on its search engine ranking system. In applying for this patent they were required to spell out the process they use to define the weight of a site. And, by this weight, our sites are arranged in the search lists.

There are several ways Google will rate your site, and many of them are specifically designed to weed out spam sites.

1-Register your domain for longer than a year
This patent made it clear that Google ranks sites higher if they are renewed less frequently. In fact, since many spammers will buy a domain for one year and allow it to expire without renewal, Google is heavily biased against 1 year domain holders. If you want an easy way to boost your search status, go right now and renew your domain for several years.

2-Make sure the coding in your site is sparkly clean
Knowing that search engines use spiders (automated programs that scan your site to learn your keywords) to populate their lists, should tell you that you need to write your site to cater to spiders. What I mean by this is that since a spider reads sites without frames better, if you can live without frames on your site, you should get rid of your frames. Obviously, some sites, like many online retailers, must have their frames, but if you have a brochure site or a blog, please kill your frames. In fact, depending on how clean the code is on your site, spiders may scan your html up to the point where it detects the frames and abort the process at that point. Meaning your site’s text up to that point may be the only part that is submitted into the search.

If you are going to keep your frames, please make sure the code is clean. All of your html tags should be closed and working properly. is a good place to check out your code.

It goes without saying that a professional site should be designed by a professional. An amateur site (one developed using a software program that is not designed for professional web design) will not do well in a search. In fact, it probably won’t do well, period. If you want your site to perform for you, you will have to either invest the amount of time to learn to design it according to W3C standards. W3C standards were developed to ensure the web is filled with sites that are compatible in all the browsers and across multiple platforms. If you can’t invest the time to do it right, then you will have to invest the money to have it done right.

3-Links Matter
Another way your site is weighted is by the incoming and outgoing links associated with it. If I list on one of my blogs, I have given Associated Content an incoming link, and I have given my own site an outgoing link. Now, the amount of traffic a site gets determines its weight. So, if Associated Content is a high-traffic site, and they put my blog on their site, I will get a boost in the search ranking of my site. And, likewise, if I put a link on my site to a high traffic site, I will get a boost. Of course, incoming links are much more valuable.

A word of warning here: The traffic value of a link is not the only think Google notices when it ranks sites. The aging involved also plays a part in their rank process. In other words, a site that gets a few incoming links slowly and gradually builds to have many quality incoming links will rank much better than a site that is built on Monday and has 5000 links by Wednesday. Remember, their focus is on not rewarding spammers, and since many spammers pay someone to submit their sites for linkage, resulting in a large amount of links in a short period of time, Google penalizes sites that gains lots of links fast.

These standards really make sense. In fact, Google is working diligently to make sure a search is filled with appropriate links, rather than a bunch of advertising. If a site really wants to be placed on the first page of Google, the search engine sells ads that will list their site there, in a place deemed specifically for advertising. If Google searching becomes so filled with spam that users stop searching on Google, then we all lose. In order to keep this valuable tool available to us all, they have undertaken these steps to determine the weighing of sites. If your site serves a valuable purpose to the internet community, please take the time to make sure your site will be ranked high up in the listings. We all benefit if a Google search remains an effective way to find something on the internet.

Update Your Content Frequently

Of course, this is the cardinal rule of blogs. A blog for your business (brick and mortar or online) or a blog as your business will only be read if there is something new most of the time a user checks it.

I try to update my blog daily with informative ‘articles’ and not just links. I might send 2-3 links to my blog in a day, and put up only one in-depth, thoughtfully written post each day. Also, think about what a user sees when he visits. You want something thoughtful and eye-catching at the top of your blog, with the links somewhere below (I’m not speaking of your permanent links down the side of your page, but content links that you have recently posted in a daily entry).

Now, I am sure you are thinking, “How can I keep up with that?” Well, I will write 2-4 articles at a time (when my kids are asleep or when I am feeling particulary inspired) and post-date them and save them as drafts. In blogger I have to go back and manually publish them, but with other ‘pay’ blogging sites you can set up auto-posting.

I do the same thing with my links. As I am surfing the web, usually early in the am, I will right-click and choose ‘Blog This’ to open a pop-up window that allows me to post the link w/an appropriate title already inserted. Of course, I usually change the title to fit my writing style and click ‘save as draft’ to post later, manually, or ‘submit’ for immediate posting. This extension (Blog This) is available for Firefox users by choosing Extensions from their Tools menu. At the bottom of the Extensions pop-up, click on ‘get more extensions’ and search for Blog This.

Of course, you’re main goal is to get people to your site, daily (if you make money from advertising) or regularly (if you are using your blog to advertise your existing business). My next feature will focus on ways to bring people to your place.

Blogging for Brick and Mortars

How setting up a blog for your existing business can be beneficial

Blogging is a great way to get to know someone. And we all know good customer service is one of the fundamentals when it comes to developing a lasting customer base. Keeping these things in mind, we take a look at adding a blog to your existing business.

Sales Sites, Service Sites:

Whether you are selling books, clothing, toys, or something else entirely, blogging can benefit your business. Use your blog to post great coupons with definite end-dates. Describe a cool new product in detail. Caution your buyers about a recall. Make your posts something your buyers will really need to survive in this world.

It’s not as hard as it sounds. What made you get into the business? Take that passion and apply it to your products. Review your least popular product. Let them know why you carry it. Compare and contrast some of your best sellers. Throw in a post or two that is not product driven, but that caters to your audience. For instance, a bookstore might do a few articles on whether or not reading at night is bad for your eyes. Again, what do your customers want to read about?

Every once in a while you could offer up some cute notes about your family life or a make them laugh with a funny office story or two. These sprinklings of your personality will brand your site to your customers, creating a loyalty you will cherish. A good site to mimic is Now they don’t have a blog per se, but their weekly email is so close to a blog, it demands your attention. You can sign up for that email on their site to get an idea of what I mean. Now, I haven’t sewn in a year, but I keep getting that email and I keep buying from them because I don’t want to miss a bargain and I like that family, even though I don’t know them except through that blog/email.

What you want is a blog that draws your readers’ attention and causes them to subscribe to your blog via RSS. For more info on RSS see my article on Blog Aggregators. Blogging and RSS subscription is the new way to advertise via the net. Remember, today’s customer is sick of most advertising, using ad blocking software, spam filtering, and Tivo to fast-forward through the annoying messages they don’t want to see. However, they will subscribe to a product-driven blog because they chose the blog, it wasn’t foisted on them by some slick salesman who has his own best interests at heart. But, you must keep your blog content-driven. Remember, if they don’t need your information, they won’t keep reading it.

If you want to use your blog to send users to your site, make sure your blog posts are full of the words you want search engines to see. If you sell kites, make sure you say the word kite several times in each post. Remember, you are not tricking the search engines by doing this. You are really doing a service to those who are looking to buy a good kite by making sure your site, a great place to buy a good kite, ends up higher in the listings.

Brochure Sites:

But, what if your site is not one that changes often? So you don’t have products or services for sale on a website. Maybe you are a dentist or a landscaper and your site is really just a brochure for your business. A blog can help you too, but it should be managed just a little differently.

A static (unchanging) site wouldn’t necessarily want to draw repeat customers to the site. However, a business of this type would definitely benefit from a blog that kept the business on the mind of their customer. If I am subscribed to my cosmetic dentist’s blog and he writes really informative articles on tooth care, whitening products, healthy-teeth foods, and maybe slips some discounts in here and there, I would get more dental work done, no doubt. Maybe I would focus more on my lawn and shrubbery if I got a weekly RSS update from a local nursery that gave info on easy-to-care-for plants, or maybe a zone-friendly plant-of-the-week post. Again, what do you think interests your customers about your product? What drives their purchases? This should be what you center your blog around. Don’t forget the discounts and the personal talk. Make it personal; create that branding and customer loyalty you need to flourish.

I noticed that Microsoft is hiring bloggers to write for them and their products. Any marketing that Bill Gates does is something to watch. His genius is in marketing and knowing what the masses really want, even before they do.

And, don’t be afraid to hire out. If you read a blog you like and you know you don’t have time or the talent to write something informative and conversational, ask that blogger to write your blog for you. Don’t put out a mediocre blog. In order for you to get that blog out there to the masses you want to attract, it has to be something they will subscribe to.

You will find that blogging is a great way to deliver your message. It’s inexpensive, it’s new, and it’s relatively easy. And, you will get quite a return on your efforts, if it’s done well. Feel free to email me if you want further info.

More connected to my blogs?

Your blog has the potential to be a direct marketing advertisement for your company that people request again and again. RSS is the way it can happen. Feel free to use this article on your own blog to inform your readers on the ease of feed syndication. Of course, link back to me if you use it.

A blog aggregator is a way for you to manage all your blogs. While you can use most email programs to download your blog posts, like we used to download newsgroup postings, most people say web-based aggregators are easier. Among these, there is Newsgator, Blogrolling, Yahoo, Google, Bloglines, and probably 100 more. Do an online search to find one that suits you.

While there are plenty of feed aggregators choose from, my favorite is Bloglines. I like the interface and the ease of use. It updates me whenever any blog I subcribe to has a new post. Well, it doesn’t ‘update me’ in real time, it downloads the new content into “My Feeds” so that, at my convenience, I can read all my new posts. This way, I don’t spend all that time visiting each blog’s net address individually.

For instance, you can subscribe to both of my blogs and my newest posts will be waiting for you when you have a chance to read them. The service relies on RSS (Really Simple Syndication) which is an XML file delivered directly to Bloglines. You really don’t have to know any of this, but if you’re interested, you can learn more about RSS by googling “rss wiki” or “bloglines.”

If you don’t really want to know about all the technical junk, but do want to speed up your blog reading, I’ve condensed the experience for you.

Step 1:

Register at
-You’ll create a user name and password. The software you download will put the bloglines reader in your taskbar, and a red dot on it will signify new posts.

Step 2:

Pick your blogs
-Of course, you’ll want to list and, but after that, I could recommend several for you. My blogroll can be found at and can give you some ideas on what’s out there. Plus on the main home page for bloglines, you will find a whole mess of blogs, arranged by type. By the way, I am allowed to refer to multiple items as ‘a whole mess’ because I am from Georgia and we follow a whole different set of rules than the rest of you people.

Step 3:

Read your blogs
-This part is easy too. The service will notify you when your blogs have new posts. Upon opening the software, you can view all your feeds’ newest posts. In fact, you can choose to clip the posts if they are really good or even post them to your bloglines blog. This blog is not a real blog, as you wouldn’t really use it to add original text, but to post different things you’ve read you really like. Also, as a neat addition, your blogroll (all the feeds you subscribe to) runs down the side of this faux blog. I LOVE this feature. It’s kinda like (more Georgia grammer) the clippings tab holds your private saved posts and the ‘blog’ showcases your public saved posts.

I hope you will take me up on this adventure. This service is free, easy, and will really open your eyes to the great net world out there. The internet is so cool!

If you are interested in learning how to use RSS to capture podcasts automatically, let me know. I use bloglines to capture my podcasts so I can download them to my mp3 player and listen to them wherever I go (car, gym, park, playing video games, walking around my house, etc.). There is some really neat free audio out there. You can find anything from sermons, to free spanish classes, to comedy shows, and political commentary. Our medium-sized town has a weekly podcast, as does Sean Hannity, tons of pastors, and loads of geeks like Kevin Rose, microsoft higher-ups, and gaming gurus. Podcasting is all the rage. That will probably be my next adventure.

Article originally published on one of my other sites, It can also be found on