5 website tactics to make Google love you

google loveIf you have a website, you’ll know how difficult it can be to attract enough traffic to it. Driving traffic to your website should include several tactics such as advertising and email marketing, but there is no doubt that search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of the most important things you’ll need to address.

SEO is a complicated topic with ever-changing rules as Google keeps updating and refining its algorithm. Nowadays it is almost impossible to trick Google, but if you know what Google loves, you can influence your rankings to improve over time. Here are 5 tactics to get you started:

1. Write a blog

Blogging is a great way to increase your visibility in the search engines, as well as engaging with potential clients once they have found your website. Make sure your blog posts are relevant to your product or service, and include only unique content – don’t be tempted to copy from someone else. Try to blog regularly (at least once or twice a month, the more the better). Share your blog posts through social media and encourage readers to do the same – the more social shares, the more Google will love your website.

2. Claim your directory listings

Directory listings are particularly important for local businesses. Most directories offer a free listing. While Google sees some directories as spam, there are a number of good quality directories that you should claim your listings in, such as TrueLocal and Hotfrog. However, the most important listing is your Google Places listing, which you can claim here. Make sure you fill in all the relevant profile fields, then ask your customers to write a review for you on your Google Places listing. This will improve your ranking on Google’s map search.

3. Review your website content and structure

Using Google’s keyword tool, choose some relevant keywords you would like to target (if they are very competitive, it will be more difficult to get to page 1). Then review your website content and structure to ensure each page on your website targets one main keyword or key phrase. Make sure that keyword appears in the page title, headings and is repeated a few times throughout the content. Image alt tags should also match your keyword, and ideally the page URL should include the keyword as well.

4. Get links from other websites

Links from other websites to your web pages are seen as votes of popularity by Google. The more votes for your website, the more popular you appear and the higher you will rank in Google. Getting quality links from other websites can be tough. You’ll need to leverage your business relationships to ask for links. A great way to gain links is to offer to write a guest article for someone else’s blog or website. This often includes a link back to your website. Ideally you’ll want some of these links to include your main keywords in the link title, not just “click here”.

5. Do a technical checkup

Check your website for broken links and fix them. To help you identify these and other technical issues with your website (such as duplicate titles, crawl errors or blocked pages), you can set up Google Webmaster Tools to analyse your website. In Webmaster Tools you can also submit a sitemap of your website, which will help Google index all your website pages.

(We set up Google Webmaster Tools and submit a sitemap for all the websites we build, so no need to worry about this step if we built your website!)

These tactics really just scratched the surface and I could write so much more about each of them, but hopefully it will get you thinking about how you can get more of Google’s love into your life!