Getting To Know Google

Having greatly benefited from my relationship with Google in the past several years, I am dedicating this article to the search engine superstar.

I have to be brutally honest and relay that our friendship hasn't always been rosy. I got to know Google several years back, when it was just a small fish in a big pond. I started to analyze its every move and realized that Google is a fickle, clever and extremely mysterious being. Still, I decided to get more acquainted. Here are a few things I learned along the way.

When it comes to logic, Google is the queen

In other words, avoid participating in anything that may blacklist you from this search engine, including keyword stuffing, link farms and hosting 50 "sister" sites on the same server. Keyword stuffing doesn't refer merely to the content of your site, but also the alt tags, headers, URLs and any additional areas of your web site.

Google likes to stay focused

When optimizing the individual pages of your Web site, try to hone in on one or two relevant keywords per Web page. Analyze each page and identify which keyword would be most suitable.

If you decide to optimize for two keywords per page, make sure that they are similar in context. For example, if you are optimizing for the key phrase "insurance leads," you may also consider optimizing for "insurance sales leads" within the same page.

Google loves to travel

It is commonly known that Google loves links, both inbound and outbound. When it comes to search engine optimization, lots of research has focused on inbound links, but little has focused on the number of links on an actual page. It appears that Google favors sites that have several internal and outbound links over those that don't have links.

If you have any doubts about this theory, simply do a search on any high-volume keyword or phrase within this search engine and analyze the first few sites that come up. Notice how the majority of them have numerous internal links on the main pages of their Web site.

Google is popular and expects you to be, too

The more popular your site is across the Web, the more Google will favor you. Obviously, having several high-quality inbound links to your site is key in achieving higher rankings. When identifying Web sites for inbound links, target the ones that are highly relevant to your site. For example, if you run a jewelry site, look for sites that are purely informational on the topic of jewelry or gemstones. Also, make sure that the sites you decide to partner with have a good PageRank (at least a 5) and online presence.

To save yourself a lot of hassle, conduct a keyword search relevant to your business and target the Web sites that show up on the first and second pages of Google (weeding out the competition, of course); contact the Web masters of those sites and tell them about your company and find useful ways to compensate them for adding your company's information on their site.

If you have an affiliate program, don't be shy to pitch it. If you have an online advertising budget, offer them a pay-per-click deal or monthly advertising fee for promoting your Web site. Note that partnering with these sites or purchasing ads should complement your overall marketing and business development strategy-and not be used merely to get link value.

Google gets bored easily

Regardless of whether your site is informational, e-commerce or just a sophisticated version of a business card, having quality content is crucial for search engine optimization. Adding to that factor is how often you update your site's content.

If you run a site that has new content added on a monthly basis (do not overdo it), then eventually the Google "freshbot" will start visiting your site more often and index your new content into the database. The more content you update, the more Google visits your site and indexes it quicker. Do not refresh your content simply for search engine optimization purposes, but do take the effort to keep interesting articles, blogs and entries to keep your visitors coming back.

If you haven't already noticed, keeping pace with Google is not an easy undertaking. It takes a certain level of knowledge, skill and creativity to truly benefit from this relationship. The rest is up to the stars.

Dali Singh is the Managing Director for Blueliner Marketing, a full service marketing and Internet consultancy specializing in Internet Marketing, Public Relations and Corporate Branding. Visit http://www.bluelinermarketing.com or email her directly at dali @ bluelinermarketing.com.

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