Stay on top of Google
So you're on page one in Google, but how do you keep your position?
We check our position in Google and other search engines regularly because:
- Search engines change their algorithms for ranking from time to time without any warning.
- New websites are always entering the field.
- Existing websites are often changing the content of their websites.
- We are often changing the content of our website.
We have set up some links that we can just click for different searches, like this one:
The "num=10" can be changed to any number up to "num=100" to specify the number of results per page.
On locating our web page in the Google results, we click the "Cached" link in Google's description of our web page. It will say
"This is Google's cache of [our web page] as retrieved on [date]".
That date may be 2 days ago to 2 weeks ago, so we will not expect our position on Google to reflect any changes to that web page made since that date.
The Google cache shows the three words of our search usefully highlighted in the text of the page.
This shows us how many times each word occurs. Another link takes us to the "cached text" only (without images).
We can now copy the text and paste into a word or text document, then do a word count.
At time of writing, there were 1364 words on the home page including those in drop down menus (as we use CSS navigation not javasript or Flash). Now we are able to calculate the proportion of the search words to the total words on the page.
In our word document, a search and replace of each search word with the same word told us the number of time that word occurred.
To exclude part words, e.g. "web" in "websites" we searched for "web " (with a space).
The results at time of writing were "web" = 4.8%, "designers" = 0.4% and "Australia" = 0.9% of total words.
This is good news as recommended keyword density is under 5% (or 8% depending who you ask).
Too high density of keywords is considered to be spam.
The "&num=100" in the search can be used to page through a lot of search results quickly, e.g. 10 such pages = 1000 results. If your website is not in the first thousand web pages listed by Google for your keywords then you have a lot of work to do.
There are many utilities available for purchase and download that will perform the actions af the last three paragraphs.
If our position in Google has changed what do we do?
- Words in the Title tag should all appear in the text on the web page. We sometimes forget the title tag when we change text on the page.
- The frequency of some key words on the web page may need to be changed.
- The proximity of the keywords to each other may need to be changed.
e.g. "Web designers who live in Australia" is not as good for the search used as "Web designers, Australia".
- The amount of text on the page may need to be changed to emphasize the importance of the page and change the density of the keywords.
- To increase the importance of some key words on the page, we may need to turn them into hyperlinks to other pages.
- Text in heading tags may need revision, or additional heading tags used.
- We may need to add more inside pages linking to this page.
- It may be time for us to publish another article on the internet, with a link back to our website.
There is always a time lag between making changes to the website and seeing results in the search engines.
We find the Google cache is at least two days old for some web pages, more for other pages.
Don't expect changes in your position to happen overnight and don't forget that other websites are working to improve their positions at the same time as you. This is an exercise in patience. It may take many attempts before you get satisfaction.
However, it's thrilling to see the position in Google improve with each tweeking of the web page content. The irony is that when you get a good position in Google, you spend more time handling the resultant business and less time watching your position.
You don't need to be paranoid, but you know that other websites are "out to get" your position, so be vigilant.
© Ken McKay