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The secret to getting a good Google rank ? Your site has to be good.

July 26th, 2012

That sounds pretty tongue-in-cheek or even sarcastic, doesn't it ? The funny thing is: It's true.

Take a look at just about any mainstream site for popular subjects. Let's say, "used car Toronto"; The very first two links are for and - Why are they in the top two, when there are companies below them with a LOT more money, like BMW, Honda and Toyota ?

It's because they're GOOD SITES. They DELIVER WHAT PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR. Are they using SEO and backlinks and paid advertising ? Sure, sure and probably, but it doesn't change the fact that they are on top because they GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT.

SEO and Tricks vs Content That People Can Use

You can use all the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tricks in the world and you MIGHT get your site on top for a very brief period of time, but that is not how one creates a successful, profitable and long term business; You actually have to (gasp!) do what you say what you do and OFFER WHAT YOUR TARGET MARKET ACTUALLY WANTS.

houseHere's another great example: One really common search is for home inspectors - When someone buys a house, especially for the first time, a home inspector is often something most people have no clue on how to find, so they turn to the Internet. The search term "Home inspector Ottawa" brings up as its first link; It's for a private company. If we're being absolutely frank, the site itself leaves a little to be desired in terms of layout and design; It's a little stark and the design is about 15 years out of date, BUT: It GIVES PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT; Most importantly: It's a site that isn't just filled with variations of "buy my stuff" - There is a LOT of information that is absolutely useful to the general public, whether they choose to use the company or not: As a result, a lot of people link to this site, often in response to people looking for advice, either for the company itself, or for the information they're providing. As a result, people come to rely on the information they give, trust the information they give and end up with the thought "Well, if these folks are so good at the information they give away for free, their professional services must be even better - I think I will give them a try!"

Here's a final example: Search for "How to do an oil change" comes up with - Again, a site that gives exactly the information people are seeking, no hidden catches, no excessive advertising and the fact that lots and lots of people are linking to exactly the same article for exactly the same question.

Better 100 potentially interested customers than a million random visitors

Many sites, especially those trying to sell you SEO services, will go on and on about "tricks" and keyword loading, and so on to get to the top of the search engines; Many of these tricks actually do work - for a short period of time. If, however, you are not delivering what it is those people are ACTUALLY looking for, what's the point ? If I am selling tennis balls on my website, I want people visiting who ACTUALLY WANT TO BUY TENNIS BALLS; I would rather get 100 visitors who are really in the market and mindset to buy tennis balls, then a million random visitors; The chances are better than good that I'll make more sales from those 100 visitors than I will from the 1,000,000 who were led to my site on less-than-true search engine "tricks".

So how do you do this ? The answer is neither short nor easy: It involves work; By saying it involves work, it doesn't mean a single push of one-off effort, but a regular, constant effort of providing content that people need and want. You need to establish - and more importantly, PROVE that you really are qualified to sell what you're selling. By "prove" I don't mean providing scanned certificates of expertise - After all, it would take me less than ten minutes to create a scan of my PhD certificate in neurology - that certainly doesn't mean you want me operating on your brain!

Providing the Proof That You Know Your Stuff

Tennis BallUsing the tennis ball example, visitors will want "proof" by my site having articles about tennis, advice about tennis, news about tennis and so on - To establish the fact that if I really know about tennis, chances are good I also know about tennis balls and really am qualified to tell you that the ones I am selling really are good.

This applies for just about any commercial website out there.

Content, Content, Content!

So when you hear something like "the medium is the message" - No, it's not: The message is the message - And that message had better be useful to your readers. "Content is king" - You bet your bottom dollar that content is king: You need to be providing it on a regular basis, in a manner that your readers can not only understand, but relate to, as well.

When you do this, you will find other people talking about your site, clicking on your site, recommending it and linking to it: THAT is when you will see your website rise to the top ranks of Google - And stay there.

Marc Bissonnette, Ontario, Canada

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