Monday, July 18, 2011

Guest Post: About Ranking on Google

Rainy is on the blog today talking about SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. SEO methods are aimed at getting high search result rankings for specific search terms. You've Googled your author name and your book titles, right? What are the first few links in the search results? I see a lot of authors who aren't optimizing their websites and blogs effectively for search engines, and it's a shame because it makes it difficult to find them--and sometimes their books--on the web. If you and your books are hard to find, you're probably missing out on sales, and possibly other less tangible things like interviews, industry connections, or fan mail. :)

Here's Rainy.....

About Ranking on Google

Everybody wants to rank high on Google it seems, but so few really know what it takes. Some companies prey on this lack of information by promising, or being enthused, that they can bring your website to the top. The truth is, no one can actually “make” Google rank you higher; they can only try.

Google uses an algorithm to decide how to rank pages. The algorithm is based on a variety of variables, each with different weights or value. That being said, Google does not actually reveal the specifics, to prevent it from being exploited. It also changes sometimes.

There are a few variables you can work with, which will help boost the ranking of your website. Or, at least, give it a fighting chance.

The date a domain is registered is one such variable. Basically, the longer a website is around, the more value Google will place on it. As well, for domains which are registered with a registrar (such as GoDaddy) instead of being a subdomain (such as Blogspot), the length of time before it expires is also a factor.

Another variable, perhaps with even more value, is how often the website is updated. Yep, Google watches that too. So those long stints of not posting to your blog? Bad for your ranking. So are spurts of posting and then ignoring it. Google likes consistency. So do your readers, by the way.

The next one is a bit tricky. Google likes back links. That is, it likes when other people link to you. This can be achieved by trading links with other websites, or leaving your link in comments, forums, directories, etc. However, there are a couple things to keep in mind about these linking activities:

First, they are only helpful if the website is “dofollow”. Many are not.

Second, Google does not like spammers. Posting your website all over the internet is counterproductive. When a lot of links go out at once, or in a short period of time, Google begins to frown. This is not good. Not to mention how upsetting that can be to your audience.

Linkage aside, Google is interested in authority. That is, the more you blog about a topic, the more authority you earn. All variables considered, more authority on a topic can earn you a higher place in Google search results.

Last but not least, you need clicks. Google likes to see people are visiting your site. That should be a given, but don't underestimate it. The busier your website is, the busier Google will help it to be. Definitely a bit cyclic, but that's the nature of the big, beastly Internet.

In the end, no one can tell you definitely what will make Google happy. But there are things which tickles it, and a few things which make it angry. Now that you know, see how many you can apply to your website. Just don't get too obsessed with it. Ranking takes time, and refreshing the search results page every hour isn't going to help.

What search terms brings up your website in the first three pages? What terms would you prefer?

When Rainy Kaye isn't plotting world domination, she enjoys coaching others about it on her blog She also likes fluffy kittens.


Unknown said...

I love your blog! I'm a new follower! I do hope you'll stop by Unedited and say hello later.

I am a lucky one when it comes to Google. If you put Jen Daiker in Google it'll be me up and my blog will be on top. I also know that if you type my blog title Unedited it pulls me up. I'm second on the page (the dictionary definition is first).

Alex Adena said...

If you are working on your first book or novel, one thing to consider is how your name performs in Google searches and whether a pen name might be better. I opted for the second route, and picked a pen name that comes up on the first page every time.

K.C. Neal said...

Good point, Alex. If I'd gone with Kate Neal, I'd have a ton of competition in search engine results. Pretty much no competition with K.C. Neal, though.

Nelson said...

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Natasha Larry said...

Great post Rainy! Hi K.C! MUAH

K.C. Neal said...

Thanks for stopping by, Natasha! :D

Rainy Kaye said...

Thanks for the great comments! Getting your name near the top of Google is a great start, but it's also important you show up in other searches. Of course, cornering the market on "fiction writer" has Lottery odds, but you can strive to optimize not just your website, but your individual posts.

Good luck!

Gabe (Ava Jae) said...

Fantastic post (although I see I'm a little late stumbling onto it). Nonetheless, there's some really great insight here. Thanks for sharing!

K.C. Neal said...

Thanks, Ava Jae! Glad you stopped by. :)