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Monday, 30 March 2009

Google Is Your Friend

Part one in a new guide to search engine optimisation

Slideshow of some of Google's more interesting Commemorative Logos

The first thing I usually say to people who want to improve their Google ranking is that Google is not your enemy.

What I mean is, Google wants you to get the ranking you deserve. It's in their interest.

Unfortunately, search engines have learned over the years to treat your claim to higher ranking with a healthy dose of scepticism.

Years ago, it was easy to cheat the system. For instance, webmasters who were either unscrupulous or enterprising, depending on your point of view, discovered that if you put a block of white text on a white background at the bottom of your homepage, you could fill it with hundreds of key words that would be ignored by visitors but indexed by search engines.

That's where the battle began and why perhaps you, in common with many web publishers, might have the attitude that Google is not on your side. Search engines began to penalise tricksters. Which naturally has led those tricksters to start new websites in which they would devise more devious measures to hoodwink the search engines, causing the search engines to penalise them further still - and so it goes on.

But let's look at it another way. Let's assume you are a legitimate company. You have a substantial web presence that is at the core of your business, either as a method of communicating with or selling to your customers, or both.

Let's say your website is the world's best source of information on the topic of vintage Lambretta spares. The brains behind Google don't want it to be on page five when someone searches for the words "vintage Lambretta spares". Of course they don't. It belongs at the top of the list and they didn't get where they are today by allowing jumped-up amateurs to muscle in on your business.

So, Google is the friend of the web publisher - so long as he's hard-working, up-to-date and prolific, that is.

Part One: Google Is Your Friend
Part Two: The Cream Will Always Rise to the Top
Part Three: Getting The Title Right