How do I get my site to show up on the first page of Google search results?

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Search Engine Optimization is a tricky science, made more so by the fact that Google is constantly tweaking the 200+ factors that determine search results. But there are some safe bets.

Make sure your website is populated with useful, information-rich content; updated regularly. Place keywords in strategic places, in strategic quantities. But be careful! Too many may count against you. Incoming links from relevent, respected sources are also helpful, and the best way to earn these is, again, by providing useful content.

How long your website has been up is also factored into its ranking in search engine results. New and young sites should not depend on ranking well in search engine results for the first year or more, but should rely on other methods of driving traffic to their site. Other methods include traditional or online advertising, pubic relations, and blogging on sites that already have high traffic.

And more advice, directly from Google itself:

  • Make pages for users, not for search engines…. A useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?
  • Don’t participate in link schemes, also called link farms; your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.
  • Don’t use unauthorized computer programs to submit pages, check rankings, etc. These consume computing resources and violate our Terms of Service.

For more information:

A detailed list of what Google considers good and bad site behavior.

Confirmation that stacking the keyword meta tag gets you nowhere.

Discover other free and low-cost ways to promote your local business.

On choosing a SEO (search engine optimization) company.

By Jana Snyder – If quoting, please include attribution and a link to this page.

Image: Billy Mills 1964 Olympics; Official Marine Corps Photo # A411758 (Public domain), via Wikimedia Commons

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