Have you been spending long, agonizing hours crafting an online description for your Web site that starts with something like: “The best site ever for…” or “Lowest prices for…”
If you think this alone will boost your traffic, you could be wasting your time, according to Jeff Quipp, CEO of Search Engine People, an Ajax, Ont-based Internet marketing firm.
Quipp spoke yesterday at the Small Business Forum 2011 in Toronto. During his presentation titled Tips for Better Rankings on Search Engines He said the search engine giant uses two main factors to determine the search score of a Web site which in turn helps determine where that site will appear on the page or a particular Web query:
- In-page factors – These are elements within a Web site that essentially tell search engines what your Web site is about. The text of this element though comes from you; such as when you craft a description about your company, keywords that you pick, page tiles and your site URL.
- Off page factors – These are references to your site that appear on other people’s Web sites; such as links and back links to your site, mentions of your company name and recommendations on blogs and social media sites.
“Nobody knows how Google specifically filters its search results, but in-page factors only account for 30 per cent of your search score while off-page factors account for 70 per cent of your score,” said Quipp.
“When more people refer to your site or link to it, Google rewards you with higher ranking on the search page,” he said.
Going after the 70 per cent
Chosen domain names, title tags, keywords, and page links will boost your site traffic, said Quipp, but these in-page tweaks only go so far. “Google has a finite score when it comes to in-page factors, once you reach that you can’t go any further. Scores for off-page factors on the other hand are limitless.”
He said the supremacy of off-page factors, was illustrated famously when former U.S. President George W. Bush became the target or a so-called Google bomb attack.
Google bombing or Google washing is created by creating a large number of links (typically unrelated, off topic or comical keyword phrases) to a Web site in order for that site to obtain a high ranking in online searches. In the case of Bush, the key words used were “miserable failure” so that when people entered the phrase in their Google search, the former president’s site came in at number one in the search page.
Quipp said small businesses can use off-page linking techniques to boost site traffic by doing the following:
- Anchor text – Get clients, suppliers, partners and other parties that have relevance to your business to place on the Web sites or social media posts anchor text linking back to your company’s site. The text link does not necessarily need to be your company name. A good strategy would be to use keywords which your think potential clients would be interested in and are related to your business
- Reciprocal linking – This is an agreement between two Web masters to provide hyperlinks to each other’s Web site. It can boost traffic because viewers of one site could be interested on clicking on the link of the other site. Also, search engines tend to give higher ranking to sites that have more sites linking to them
- Article syndication – Offer to provide free articles or content to other sites in exchange for having your company name and site link posted on their site
- Press releases – Send out online press releases to various media outlets, industry publications and Web sites. Make sure your press release contains anchor text that link back to your site. Each time your release is posted online, that link gets online exposure as well
- Directory submissions – There are thousands of online directories, inclusion to many are free. Find one that is relevant to your business or one that caters to your clients. When you submit your site to directories you get the benefit of their extensive online audience
- Guest posting – You’re an expert in your field. Offer up your knowledge to interested readers by way of guest posting on a Web site or blog site. You might be paid by some sites, but for the purpose of driving traffic to your site just getting your link on another site is great
- Offer widget – People love widgets, especially when they’re fun or really useful. There are many tools that allow users to create simple widgets for free or a small fee. Have your company name or anchor link to your site on that widget. Make the widget portable so that people can embed it on their own site
- Awards and badges – Every business loves recognition. Set up an award campaign for organizations that are relevant to your business. For instance “Top 20 Hospitals in Ontario”. It very likely that recipients of this award would like to have a badge of the award on their Web site to boost their profile. That badge could also be designed to link back to your site