There are many misunderstandings about how to get high rankings on search engines. I’ve heard some very strange ones such as “put a counter on your home page.”
These myths — downright bad advice — can cause you to focus on useless, time-wasting efforts leading to confusion, frustration and, of course, poor results.
When making decisions about what to do to improve your rankings, let me give you a rule of thumb, and call it SERT – the Search Engine Rule of Thumb.
SERT is derived from simple logic based on motivation.
Here’s how it goes …
Your motivation – you want high rankings.
You want high rankings so that visitors will come to your site, subscribe to your newsletter, buy your products and hire you as their coach.
Ok, great. But guess what? Search engines control your rankings! So, in order to get high rankings, you need to do the things that search engines consider important. You need to appeal to the search engine motivation.
Search engine motivation – to have lots of people use the search engine.
Search engines such as Google and Yahoo want a lot of people to utilize their services so search engines can make money. So, they need searchers. But, in order to attract searchers, they need to appeal to the searchers’ motivation.
Searchers’ motivation – relevant results, fast.
Searchers are on a quest for something when they go to a search engine – information, product, fun, whatever. They want answers fast too. Waiting even five extra seconds for a page to load will result in people giving up, and moving on.
So what does this tell us?
That in order for you to get high rankings, you need to create a website that appeals to the motivation of searchers. That is, a website that provides highly relevant results and can do it quickly.
And that’s the rule of thumb: In order to get high rankings, you need to do things that help people get relevant results fast.
Let’s go a little deeper to give you some specifics to focus on.
How do search engines determine if a website is able to provide good results quickly?
Three of the most important things to keep in mind are: Content, Popularity and Accessibility.
- Content: Websites with good content, easy-to-access content, and large amounts of content get higher search rankings than websites with less, poor or hard-to-find content.
- Popularity: Websites with lots of links to it are more valuable than a similar website with fewer links to it. And links from relevant websites that also have high rankings results in more popularity.
- Accessibility: Websites that are easy for people to get to, load up fast, and are easy-to-use are better than ones that are inaccessible, slow and confusing.
So, back to the example mentioned earlier. Can you now see why adding a counter to your website won’t do much for your rankings? It’s because a counter on your home page doesn’t provide good content, doesn’t increase popularity, and doesn’t make your site easier to access. It just counts!
When you eliminate the confusion, and stop wasting time on ineffective methods, you begin to identify and focus your efforts on things that will help your website improve its rankings on search engines.
Use the SERT rule of thumb to be sertain you are on the right path to higher rankings.