Providing useful content has an additional SEO benefit—it increases the likelihood that other sites will link to yours. Google’s page ranking algorithm takes this into account. If a site with a high Google page rank links to yours, your site will benefit by association. This will boost your own Google PageRank, so your site is more likely to be pulled up by relevant keyword searches. Also, potential visitors will click through to your site without even using a search engine. In theory, you can get a top SERP placement through links alone, but this can be quite difficult for competitive search phases. We recommend a balanced approach that emphasizes both on and off-page factors in achieving top SERP results.

Excerpt of Google search results for the query 'click here'

The power of off-page SEO is clearly demonstrated here. Adobe Reader is the top result for “click here”, even though that phrase is not found on the Adobe Reader page. Millions of links to this page with the phrase “Click here to download Adobe Reader” generated this SERP placement. Note that Adobe Reader competes with 1 billion other pages for the top result for “click here”.

The key to SEO is to understand that it doesn’t have to be the “dark art” that some web professionals make it out to be. The goal of many search engines is to better help web users find relevant, high quality sites from their searches. When a search engine takes this kind of user-centered approach, as Google has, people will return and the search engine will grow in popularity. Your best bet is to take a similar approach with your website. Focus on useful information, and make sure it is easy to find and navigate.

Achieving high rankings

The ultimate goal of SEO is to have users find and click through to your website. Statistics show that most search engine users don’t look past the second or third page, so the goal is to get into the top two pages returned by a search engine query. This is a long term goal and requires continued effort in getting your website “out there” and in analyzing statistics about your site that may change or expand your keyword phrase optimization strategy.

As discussed previously, when determining ranking, search engines take into account not only the relevancy of a site to a user’s query, but also the quality of that site, which includes many factors such as popularity of the site and amount of activity on the site.

Become popular

One of the biggest factors for search engines in determining ranking for your website is the integrity of the site and what others on the Internet think of the site. The best way for a search engine to determine this factor is to observe which (and how many) other sites on the Internet link into your website. The bottom line is to encourage your users to tell others about the site. You will notice many sites, especially news or blogging sites, which are updated regularly, will have links at the bottom of an article such as: “email this article”, “blog about this article”, “add this article to delicious”, etc. The main goal of these links is to encourage users to link back to the article in their blog, or better yet, to add the article to an online linking community such as delicious or digg, where it will get even more exposure to potential linkers.

Linking is a powerful tool in getting high search engine rankings, but beware of Internet services that “guarantee” a high ranking by placing links into your site on many other sites across the Internet. These pay-per-link services flood the Internet with links to your site, and your site might jump hundreds of rankings in just a few weeks. However, search engines are smart, and using what they know about your site and the sites linking into it, they can figure out that the large number of site links into your site were created artificially. After a few weeks at the top, your site will come crashing down to the bottom of the search rankings, or even be banned completely. BMW’s German website ( was blacklisted by Google for using deceptive SEO practices—if it can happen to BMW, it can happen to you.

Create new content

One of the factors in determining ranking by search engines is the date of the last update to a page. Search engines like to see activity on a web page for a couple of reasons: first, it shows that someone cares enough about the site to add to it regularly, and second, it gives the search engine some guarantee that the information on that site is not outdated, and thus will make the user happy. Furthermore, search engines assign more credibility to larger sites because more content on a site indicates that the owners of the site are very serious and dedicated to the topic to which their site relates.

Creating new content on a regular basis is a great way to not only let the search engines know that your site is a credible resource, but it also encourages users to bookmark your site and check back more often (and to possibly link into your site multiple times in the future). Creating new content can be as simple as adding new customer testimonials or case studies every few months, or it could be as dynamic as having a blog that is updated daily or weekly by your employees to discuss topics of interest in your industry, and to announce events, projects and news concerning your company.