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How can you improve the Google ranking of your online business?


Improved Google rankings lead to more clicks — and more clients.
Improved Google rankings lead to more clicks — and more clients.
Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images

Here's a real-life tale of Google-ranking woe. A restaurant owner agreed to sponsor food at a festival event. When the organizers googled his business so that they could link to his website on the event page, the No. 1 result was that of another restaurant with the same name. The festival organizers linked to the wrong restaurant, and the restaurant owner was so furious he backed out of the event.

Google rankings matter. Improved Google rankings lead to more clicks — and more clients. Search engine optimization (SEO) may seem intimidating and mysterious, but good SEO is not magic, it's not rocket science and it isn't the only important factor in improving Google rankings. Effective SEO strategies involve keyword and coding techniques designed to trick search engines into returning the desired results. You can employ these tricks yourself, ask your webmaster to help you or hire an SEO firm to guide you through best practices. Here are a few tried-and-true SEO tricks:

  • Sprinkle your site's content with keywords authentically related to your business.
  • Code relevant search terms into your site's headers and title.
  • Ensure that your site's links are accurate and relevant.
  • Look for opportunities to link to other businesses and have them link to yours.

Increasingly, however, website owners need to look beyond these traditional search engine optimization techniques. Other strategies good content marketers use include:

  • Creating clear, compelling content for your site and making sure you update it regularly. Blogs, articles, interviews and useful apps and tools are all examples of content your users — and search engines — will favor.
  • Making sure your site is mobile-friendly. New Google algorithms penalize sites whose mobile users encounter errors.
  • Including "implied links" (brand mentions and citations) as well as "express links" (traditional URL links)
  • Humanizing your brand through blogger outreach campaigns and social media engagement. Again, the idea is make your site an active, evolving entity — not a static relic.
  • Avoiding negative SEO techniques like hiding invisible "keyword-stuffed" text on your site or trying to sabotage competitor's rankings by pointing junk links at their sites. SEO firms that suggest these practices are to be avoided.

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