Getting your site to rank highly in the search engines is no mean feat…

It’s a ritual familiar to millions of business people and entrepreneurs the world over: the promising ping of an incoming email followed by instant dejection when the subject title “1st Page of Google!!!” appears. The message is quickly marked as spam, and yet another random alphanumeric email address is added to that account’s list of blocked senders.

If it really was that easy to get your business onto the first page of Google’s search results, page one would typically contain thousands of entries. In reality, there is a great deal of hard work required to optimise a website for a prime position in future ranking results. That’s particularly true for new businesses which can’t rely on a long-established web presence or hyperlinks from third-party sites to boost their position.

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Fortunately there are some things that can be done when setting up an online business to achieve a respectable SEO ranking. Firstly, research the latest iteration of Google’s SEO algorithms. Although the precise mechanics are kept confidential to avoid mass cheating, we know a great deal about the Panda and Penguin algorithms. Penguin is focused on identifying spamming or fraudulent activities like keyword stuffing, where one word or phrase is repeatedly used to infer expertise and market dominance. Meanwhile, the Panda algorithm seeks out (and downgrades) low-quality web content that offers little value to the public.

Bear in mind that although Google is one of many competing search engines, it dominates the market. The second and third placed engines (Bing and Yahoo) share each other’s back-office hardware, and something that works for Google will usually apply to them as well.

Cramming websites with keywords has become counterproductive in that sites that do this will now be penalised, whereas well-written content will always be in vogue. A couple of hundred words of concise and descriptive text on each page will work wonders in advancing your site up the ranking results, particularly if some analytics work is carried out to identify which common terms customers are searching for. Again, Google’s self-titled Analytics package leads the market, though rival platforms like Kissmetrics and Mixpanel have their merits. Incorporate keywords and phrases into your website, but avoid over-use and ensure every sentence still sounds authentic.

Regular content updates demonstrate to a search engine that a website is being well-managed, so try to add news stories or updates as frequently as possible. One partial shortcut involves displaying your firm’s latest social media activity on the home page, though this demands a firm hand on the social media tiller and an ability to avoid clogging up a corporate account with personal ramblings. Twitter’s brevity is ideal, and Facebook retains a critical mass despite losing much of its younger clientele to less SEO-friendly platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.

The launch of a new company should never take place before detailed competitor analysis has been carried out, and this also applies to websites. Consider how high-ranking rivals have organised and populated their sites, and look for any criticisms that could be pre-emptively addressed on your own platform. Also consider what competitors do successfully, and don’t be afraid to mimic these concepts or innovations. Remember that websites tend to be ranked more highly if they load quickly, with mobile sites or automatic resizing also ticking many SEO boxes.

Finally, if time is short or technical prowess is limited, why not call upon the UK2 Website SEO Guru? Our new online marketing tool provides easy-to-follow guidelines about improving content and maintaining an effective social media presence, with customers invited to make the changes recommended in a detailed report based on everything from web traffic to keyword rankings. For small businesses or startups who struggle with copywriting or social media, this free report could provide a quantum leap towards that mythical first page of Google results.

Climbing the search rankings is no mean feat. When you type a word or phrase into your preferred internet search engine, a great deal of research has already…

Make sure your website is in tip-top condition in Google's eyes. We would love to detail all of the ins and outs of Google's elusive search algorithm right…

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