People are always asking us for tips on how to perform better in the search engines. Sadly there are no guaranteed methods. After all, we don’t own Google, Bing or Yahoo (more’s the pity) and we cannot control whether they index a site or how high a particular page appears for a particular search phrase.
But we do spend a lot of time finding out how to do well in search results. So, here are five tips to help you get a good placing on Google. As I said, there are no guarantees, but all other things being equal, these ideas will give you a passing shot at appearing where you want to be.
Google Tip 1 – Big Images are better images
The reason Google seems to favour big images is that people favour big images. If you are looking for a holiday, you dont want a website with tiny postage stamp pictures on it, you want one with huge, high quality shots of the pool, bar, sundeck and so on. Google wants to give people what they want so they will favour content with big photos. Having said that there are a few caveats. Such as…
Google Tip 2 – Make photos unique
Ever heard of Google’s reverse image search? It is amazingly good at finding duplicate images. If you are using a photo that has been used on hundreds of other sites too, then Google is unlikely to give you much credit for it. You could try to be sneaky and exercise your photoshop skills with some resizing, renaming, changing the format, a bit of light cropping and even a special effect or two… and yet 99 times out of 100 big G will still see the picture as duplicate. Google created a very powerful tool with their reverse image search and so it is VERY likely that they are using it as part of the ‘Panda’ (seriously? go look it up!) algorithm.
Google Tip 3 – Keep your header images small
Search engines don’t like sites where people have to scroll in order to see the page’s content, so big company logos at the top, lots of whitespace above and below the navigation bar and all that sort of thing is going to be less favoured than a page where the unique content is instantly accessable to the visitor. So, while big images are great for CONTENT, small images are better for HEADERS. Of course your logo still needs to be big enough to make an impression so don’t turn your logo into a 1 pixel gif. I am sure we could improve the Brown Bear Media website with regard to balancing header size and content, and I am sure you could improve your website too.
Google Tip 4 – Video
I have said it before and I will say it again, video works. It works because people stay around and watch videos. Videos are ‘sticky’ content and the stickier the content on your site, the better.
Tip 4 – Video Transcript
Okay, so I wanted to make a quick two minute video just to let you know about adding video
to your website .
Now, two reasons that we would add video to our website are as follows:
Firstly that it sticky content and people are just much more likely to stop and listen if its a video than they would reading text.
But secondly earlier on on this page we talked about adding extra content to your web writing 1500 words of copy and how difficult that must be for a lot of people. It genuinely is something that fills people with dread whereas talking to camera is something that most
people … can do that.
Now if you do a video like this, then press stop then write down the words you said on the video then suddenly you have got a heck of a lot of content you can add to you pages that’s on topic that will boost you up toward that magic 1500 words we talked about earlier.
So, that’s my tip for today add a video and provide a transcript of that video on
the page as a great way of adding content.
The video above just allowed me to add more than 250 more words to my website without really having to think too hard about it. How’s that for a great tip?
Google Tip 5 – Write more
Some fantastic recent research on tens of thousands of keywords showed that most of the pages that appeared on page one for those keywords had more than 1500 words of copy on them. Now we used to believe that 400-500 words was optimal but this latest research shows us just how much Panda has changed things. So, get your pens out and get writing. However, make the content clear, easy to read and above all interesting. Not an easy task I grant you, and if you get really stuck give us a call and I’m sure we can offer you our copywriting services. However, why not make your life simple. Remember that tip I mentioned a moment a go about adding a video? well why not provide a text introduction and then a transcript of the video? You will easily be able to add a lot of relevant copy to your page by following that tip. I know I did.
However, I just checked and I still haven’t reached the magic 1500 mark… so its probably time to add a second video to this page. I should stay on-topic and perhaps make this one a bit better than the last. I should probably brush what little hair I have left for starters. How we present ourselves is an important part of getting people’s attention.
What I shouldn’t do is get up really early, come very close to the camera so my ugly mug fills most of the frame and …
Bonus Video Transcript
I’ve given you five tips bigger images, you need photos, small headers, make a video and write more.
Now I’m gonna give you a bonus tip so my tip number 6. The secret bonus for this video is… Ignore tips one to five.
Now I know that sounds ridiculous but, let me tell you. If you slavishly follow any rules in SEO its more than likely going to denigrate your website. Perhaps not in terms of (numbers of) visitors but certainly in visitor experience. So think very carefully before following any particular rule.
Sure, I need big pictures, but… Ive got to put 300 on this page. So 300 huge pictures, now that’s going to cause a real problem for visitors just in terms of download speeds.
Sure I can write more and so I’ll make a video and do the transcript, but actually I was talking nonsense during the video. In which case a transcript of nonsense is not going to help me.
For each one of these rules you can always look and see that there is a downside to them. They are good rules to follow, but…follow them with care.
Think primarily about your visitors. The visitors are the ones who count, not the search engines.