Improved Google Ranking
Last fall, @aafromaa posted a tweet that said she couldn’t find my blog when she searched for Brain Webster. I responded that it wouldn’t have helped much if she had searched for Brian Webster because my blog was on the 6th page of Google Results. @gparmer took this as a personal challenge to raise my ranking.
By January, my ranking was up to number 19. Next time I checked was last week, and I was on the first page. I had a couple of other people check, and the results ranged from 4 to 6.
Here’s things that helped raise the ranking when searching for Brian Webster:
- Greg made links from some web pages that he authors, including The Network Redneck, The Parmer’s, Greg’s Not So Live Space, and Greg’s Bookmarks.
- I linked to my blog from my staff page at ISU Extension.
- Links from other blogs, including Anne’s Spot, The Robinson House, Scouting Around, and It’ll Do 80.
- A name change from “Brian Webster’s Blog” to “Brian Webster – Blog”.
- I claimed the blog on Technorati
- I used my URL when commenting on blogs/web sites, including Virtual Enrollment Party, Free Falling, and CodePlex
- Links on twitter including @rbrekke’s favorites, and @bwebster719
- Pageflakes from aafromaa and jdorner
- I continued to post, although not real frequently
- A lot of other people probably helped as well, sorry that I didn’t give you a shout out.
You’ll notice that very few changes were to the blog itself. Almost all came from other people and/or other sources.
Here are some take aways from this little experiment:
- It takes time to improve your Google ranking. It’s almost a year since @aafromaa‘s initial tweet.
- You can’t do it alone, much of the help I received came from other people.
- Use appropriate page titles. I changed the name of my blog because people are more likely to search for Brian Webster than Brian Webster’s. This is likely the biggest change that helped improve the ranking. (When you search Google without the ‘s, I’m currently number 6, with the ‘s I’m at 32.) I made this change because people are more likely to search for me without putting in the ‘s.
- Get quality links to your page/site. From the above list, the quality links to my blog are probably my staff page, and Greg’s Bookmarks. The reason I say this is because these .edu sites probably have a higher quality rating from Google, therefore they are higher quality links. Of all the links, the one from my staff page is probably the best because it’s coming from another page about Brian Webster (Sorry Greg)
- Don’t fall into the trap of “link farms“, you can do it with relevant links.
- Very few of the changes where to the blog itself, most were from other sites and other people.
I had a slight advantage because it was obvious what search term I was trying to improve on, my name. It would have been a lot harder to get to the first page for terms like “child development” or “soybean rust”.
[Update - 8/21/2008: Here are some ways to Find Links To Your Site]