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How to Build a High Quality Website That Ranks Well on Google

Published on May 13, 2011
Tags: SEO, Web Design London

A while ago, we wrote a couple of posts on what is known as the Google Panda (or Farmer) update. For the uninitiated, this was an algorithm update released by Google that was designed to improve the search engine rankings of good quality sites by weeding out sites considered to be low quality so they couldn’t reach the top of the rankings just by being good at SEO. Naturally, websites that are filled with good content don’t have anything to worry about from this update or any of the others that Google has released since. Low quality sites, though, have been affected.

This is great news for web users as it means they are more likely to find what they are searching for on the internet and they can trust search results more, but what about those websites that try really hard to get it right but still fall foul of closely guarded search algorithms? Just as some chefs refuse to give out details about their best-loved recipes, search engine giants such as Google look after their algorithms just as closely. This obviously makes good business sense for them, but if you are the owner of a website that has been affected by the Panda update despite your best efforts, it would be helpful to know where you’re going wrong.

So, when it comes to building high quality websites that will help you to do well in search engine rankings, what do you need to consider?

According to Google and almost any other internet authority, a lot of it is to do with trust. People need to be able to trust your website and the content on it. This doesn’t just mean keeping it free of bugs and viruses, but also developing your site to be a good authority on the topic about which you are writing. For example, what qualifies you to write about a particular subject? Does that come across in the content you write? Those sites that feature ‘shallow’ content tend to be the ones most affected by Google Panda and other algorithm updates, so even if you are expert at SEO and keyword placement, you need to make sure what you write actually says something, too. You can read more about site content in our previous article 'Unique Content: Why Site Text is THE Most Important of SEO Tips'.

In a recent blog post on their updates, Google asks a question that encapsulates the essence of this well: ‘Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?’ This is not just important for e-commerce sites but for all sites as it relates to a wider issue about trust and image perception. When people use a company’s website, they are buying into the business as a whole and so it’s important that the online face of the company comes across well. As well as making sure all your articles are factually correct, have good grammar and are relevant to what you do, they also need to be relevant to your brand.

All companies have a brand image – some spend more time on it than others, but they all have one and so you need to keep this in mind when looking to develop a high quality website. Do your web design and the style of your web content reflect your wider image? If someone reads your website, would they easily be able to associate it with the way they know your company offline? These might seem like philosophical questions with no straightforward answer, but they are definitely worth considering when it comes to creating your website.

Keeping all of these things in mind, here a few tips that might help you in building high quality websites and improving your search engine rankings:

  • Think about the big picture. This is also advice that Google offers in the blog post mentioned above and it makes sense. A lot of attention has been given to the Google Panda update – with good reason – but it is not the only algorithm update and nor is Google the only search engine. Think holistically about your website to see if it is meeting its aims and whether it provides a good experience for web users.

  • Don’t forget the details. The overall impression given by your website is really important, but the individual pages matter, too. The content on all of your web pages needs to be relevant and of a high standard. If it isn’t, then this can have a negative impact on your search rankings even if most of your site is really good. One bad page can also change how web users see your site, so it’s worth spending some time going through the website to make sure everything is of a high standard. Ask yourself questions: if you were looking for information on a specific topic, would your webpage give you the answers you were looking for? If not, it might be time to think again.

  • Write for your web users. We’ve said this in previous articles, but it’s worth saying again: you need to write your website for the people who will be using it, not the search engine algorithms. Write for your audience and you’ll most likely do well in Google rankings anyway because your focus will be in the right place.

  • Learn from your competition. Look at other websites to see what works and what doesn’t. What would inspire you to share a webpage with a friend? Are there any sites you find really inspiring? Are there any you think are dreadful? Why? How can you make your site better? In websites as in face-to-face business: the need for innovative, high quality work matters on the internet just as much as it does elsewhere.

By Chelsey Evans

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