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Google Juice: The Secret Potion to Internet Success

By Mary Fisher

Your company’s success on the Internet is closely tied to how well you understand and implement Search Engine Optimization techniques. Google Juice is the value that Google assigns to each element on your website, that helps position it on the search engines. While there is no perfect recipe, knowing the proper ingredients to Google Juice will give you the greatest shot at a high-profile presence on the Internet.

Let’s look at some of the ways in which you can optimize your site for better search engine ranking without paying thousands of dollars to Google.

 

Google Rules When It Comes to SEO
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the art of pushing your website ranking higher on the search engines. Google makes the rules on the Internet, since 70% of all Internet searches are done using Google search engines. And so, we must follow the rules or subject ourselves to banishment from rankings. If you employ SEO techniques Google doesn’t approve of, they may simply delist your website entirely, and then no one can find you in Google. This can happen to any business. If you don’t want to be in Google purgatory, it is imperative you have an experienced and knowledgeable company handle your SEO.

Google likes to mix it up and regularly change the way in which it ranks websites, without telling us what it is doing. One thing is for sure, however, linking your website via the other websites that Google owns—YouTube, Google Places (maps), and Google + (Google’s answer to Facebook), has become increasingly important.

 

Your Domain Name (URL)
Include good keywords and avoid acronyms or hard-to-spell words. The suffix “.com” is preferable to any others. Use words in your domain name that people would use to search for your company, and it will provide the most Google Juice of any technique listed.

 

The Page Title
Every single page of your website needs a unique title containing important keywords that pertain to that particular page’s content or main topic. This ensures that every page of your website can be seen by the various search engines.

 

Lots of Backlinks
These are links to your company’s website from other websites, particularly those that are pertinent to your industry. A lot of Google Juice is given to backlinks (sometimes called inbound links) that come from popular websites that have a high number of visitors, and are relevant to your business. Have your website listed on directories like Manta, Merchant Circle, Hotfrog, Bing Local, Yahoo Local, and Google+ Local.

 

Internal Cross Linking
Create hyperlinks from keyword phrases from one page of your website to another.

 

Keyword Rich Text
Use keywords and phrases in your text that the average person would put into the search engine to find your site, such as your products and services. Target different keyword phrases on each page. Don’t forget to include, on your homepage, the geographic regions you serve and your current business physical address. (You would be surprised how many addresses are not up-to-date.)

 

Bold Subheads

Each and every page of your website should use properly coded bold subheads in the verbiage using important keywords. Good examples for a retail fish market are:  We Sell Only Fresh Mayport Shrimp, Fresh Oysters Available on Fridays, Retail Seafood Sales, and Fresh Seafood Daily.  Also, make sure your Webmaster codes your bolded subheads as <h1> headers.

 

Photo Alt Tags
Place alt tags on every photo on each page of your website. For example, an alt tag on a photo that shows an interior designer measuring a wall might read, “Measuring a wall for wallpaper.” That way, if someone entered that description into Google, that company’s photo would appear in Google results and someone might click on it.

 

Meta Description
This is a short description of your business, which shows up in Google’s search. It must be succinct as Google will only show about 140 characters. For example, if you Google my company name, the meta description you will see on Google isMary Fisher Design, 24-year-old Jacksonville, FL, graphic design, web and advertising agency. Brochures, logos, web sites, search engine optimization.

 

Refresh Text Often
Update your website regularly with changes such as new awards, staff changes, testimonials, news releases, and new services.  Adding a blog to your site and posting often is a great way to keep it fresh.

 

Link to Social Media Sites
Internet users expect to see links to main social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Update your contributions to these sites three to five times per week, and your spot on Google and Google Places will reflect it by moving you higher in rankings.

 

Slow-Loading and No-Loading Pages
Make sure your site is fast-loading since it helps populate quickly and rank higher, particularly on mobile devices. Google now down-ranks slow-loading websites. Also, you never want to design your website, or any part of it, using Flash.  Not only does Google have a difficult time cataloging a Flash website, but the site cannot be viewed at all on iPhones or iPads.

 

A Warning on Graphics
Do not put important text inside of graphic elements on your website. Here’s why: Google cannot read them, and so it cannot help your rankings. If you can highlight copy with your mouse on your website, then it is text—which is good. If you cannot, then it’s most likely within a graphic element—which is bad, and needs to be changed.

Expect about two to three months before you see results of your efforts on Google.

Mary Fisher is CEO of Mary Fisher Design, a 24-year-old marketing, design and web development firm. She is a past president of AIGA (the Professional Association of Design). Fisher was named “Women in Business Entrepreneur of the Year“ for 2007 by Women Business Owners of North Florida.


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