This must be the single most common question we’re asked every month!
We generally tell people that there are two answers to this:
- You pay Google to be there (see Google Adwords), or
- You become “popular” enough to be there (see below).
Google is trying to mimic human thought and interaction in a lot of ways, presenting the most popular and relevant information for any given search at the top of it’s results. For a long while I’ve used a playground analogy to explain this as it’s something everyone understands….
Google and The Playground
Being Popular (LinkBuilding)
- If you’re the new kid in the playground, you have no popularity whatsoever and nobody knows who you are, this is the same as having no links to your website. Nobody knows you exist and so people are unlikely to visit you!
- If you start talking to the other kids, you’ll gain some popularity (probably!) and hopefully they’ll start talking about you to their other friends (in a good way).
In this scenario the other kids are owners of websites and are providing links on their websites to you.
The alternative here is to stand on a box and shout, this is advertising yourself (whether free in the form of Twitter/Facebook, or paid) and will help attract attention.
- However not all friends are equal (see how close to real life this all is?), making friends with a popular kid is like getting a link from the BBC or some other very popular website, this will really help your site!
Being Relevant (SEO)
If to all these new friends in the playground all you talk about is things they’re not interested in, then they probably will stop listening to you. Sites won’t link to you, and Google will realise you’re not relevant as well.
Make your contact relevant using your keywords, sensible content and structuring your site well to help Google crawl it.
Finally : Cheating
Nobody likes a cheat, least of all school children! Cheat the system at your peril, the other kids may ignore it or may report it to the Headteacher (Google!) and generally there’s no right to appeal when Google puts you in detention!
Paying for Friends!
There are companies who will both make sure your content is well structured, relevant and will get links for you from other sites for you. We’ve just partnered up with one who will be doing this for our customers at very reasonable* rates. Contact us if you want more information on this.
* Reasonable we’ve added a note to, this is manual labour intensive work it doesn’t come cheap!
Anyone that is offering to do this for you at low cost (and is probably promising you the earth!) may be using automated tools (this is the same as putting posters all around the playground saying what a great guy you are – everyone will eventually ignore them!) or is cheating on your behalf, and if they’re cheating on your behalf it’s you that will end up detention!
photo credit: rachaelvoorhees
Thanks for this starter. It was good to have my views confirmed. I guess I have to start the hard slog. Tips and tricks are much appreciated.
By the way, my site is a webzine for everyone interested in Istria or living abroad. Have a look – it’s a good read. At the moment it’s just a baby site. But like all babies, it will grow.