Getting to the top of Google (and understanding PageRank)

One of the most often asked questions that new or perspective clients have is "How do I get my site to the top of Google?" Getting to the top of Google can be easy if you remember to follow a few basic rules when designing your website.

First, and this may sound silly, you need to remember to actually
put the name of your product or service on your web page. All too often
we see web sites where the name of products are contained on pictures of
the product or where only a picture of the product exists. When Google visits your website to determine what your site is about and how to rank it, it sends a robot (sometimes called a spider) out to read all of the content on your web site and click on all of the links. The Google robot can
not interpret what your product or service is from a picture. You need
to write about it.

What I have seen work best are short focused articles that contain the
name of the item. Generally, when multiple products or services are
listed within the same page, these pages tend to rank lower than those
with only one product per page.

Secondly, avoid flash animations in places where they are not needed.
Flash animations are visually pleasing and can be very helpful in the
right places. However, Google can not interpret a flash animation. All
too often website owners will create a grandiose home page with
a flash animation and music. Usually this is where Google will stop when it sends its robot to your website. This is because there is no text to read and no hyperlinks to click (the robot cannot read text or click on links within Flash animations). Having only the meta
tags to go on from your home page (if they even exist), likely your homepage will be the only page to ever appear in Google.

Third, we need to understand PageRank. Google uses a complex mathematical formula to help determine what a website is about using a method called PageRank. PageRank was created by Larry Page (hence the name PageRank), one of the founders of Google in 1998 while attending Stanford University.

PageRank tries to determine what your website is about based on what other sites link to yours and what keywords rank highly on those sites. PageRank uses a numerical rating system of 0 to 10 with 10 being the most important of all web sites. So far the only web site I have been able to find with a PageRank of 10 is Google itself. Even websites such as,, and only rank a 9. Most average web sites rank at about a 3 or 4.

So how does this PageRank stuff all work? Well, lets say we have a website called and we sell computer widgets. Several other websites with a PageRank of 2 link to our site. These sites are also about computer widgets. Likely our PageRank will be in the same range. Then one day, with a PageRank of 9 decides to link to us as well using the keyword computer widgets. Since Google knows that Microsoft is a very important website in regards to computer widgets, Google will now view our site as being more important in that category. Our place in the search engine results will likely rise. Keep in mind though, if Microsoft linked to us with a keyword that was not relevant to our website (say "Lawn Mowers" for example), it would likely do nothing for us with regards to our PageRank. It may even diminish it.

The more computer widget sites that link to us with the keyword computer widgets, the higher our PageRank will become. This is especially true if computer widget websites with a higher PageRank than ours links to us.

It is also very important to note that some sites sell links on their websites as a means of manipulating PageRank. Google has stated several times that they will cut the PageRank of any site selling links in order to manipulate the PageRank system. Recently, we have seen several high profile web sites selling PageRank links have their own PageRank cut dramatically, so it would seem Google has in fact started enforcing this.

It is also important to avoid "Link Farms". Link Farms are sites that post links to any website that will in turn link to them. The thinking is that the more links they get, the better their PageRank will become. This simply is not true. The more relevant to your industry,
the better.

So now you know some of the secrets to getting to the top of Google.

  • Start with a solid web page design using short focused articles.
  • Avoid animations and pictures as a substitute for keywords and text.
  • Start a linking program to help get you higher PageRank but remember to be selective.
  • Avoid Link farms or sites selling PageRank.

Follow these guidelines and in no time at all, you can improve your ranking in Google.

To learn more check out this related article:
Drive traffic to your website – for free!


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