How Do I Get My Pages Listed on Google?

by : Graham Baylis

I'm sure anyone in the SEO community has been asked this countless times and why many people reading this will be thinking about asking it in reference to their own site. It is as after all a very important question and the answer, if you can turn it to your advantage, one that could prove to be very valuable.

It is however, quite an easy question to answer, at least at a general level, the answer demystifying the oft said "black art" of Search Engine Optimisation. (I do however have to state again that this is an "idiots guide" and does therefore not cover some of the more complicated issues of "keyword density", "deep linking ratio", "code to text ratio" and others, all of which have a bearing on the effectiveness of any web page).

We can illustrate the answer to this queston by using an analogy.

This analogy is based on an old fashioned market place, the sort when men with barrows come in and then shout out what they have on offer, you know "A pound of plums for 50p" or "Genuine leather jackets for ?50", you get the picture. However, in my description of the system, these "market places" are actually set up by Google, one for each type of goods or services. So you have one for cars and another for plumbers and another for houses for sale, and so on.

Now every one who wants to get into any of these market places can try regardless of what they sell, however, Google will be quite ruthless in stopping anyone it feels is not in the right market from getting in (however, just like any process this is not fool proof). This leaves countless thousands of "web pages" (not sites, but pages) that want to get in to sell their wares. Why, because to get in gives them a chance to be picked by those "Google Agents" who come into the market place looking for the best pages to list.

But getting into the Market place is only the first step, how do they get picked by the Google Agent for one of those coveted top ten positions??

To better understand what is going on, you must first get to know the rules of these marketplaces.

The first and most important rule is that all webpages start at the back of the marketplace, which of course makes it very difficult for the Google Agents to "hear" them crying out their wares. As the sites to which the web pages get older, so the web page move up the marketplace, getting nearer and nearer to the front (and are thus more easily heard).

More Rules

In each marketplace you will find two types of webpage, one that is trying to catch the Google Agents eye for a listing place and the other, well they are saying, "go and have a look at this page, its all about x". These are the "links" to pages from other sites around the web, and because these Google agents listen to them, they are, as you may know, very important indeed. They can even get an agent to look into the sandbox area, especially if there are enough of them and or they are deemed important in their own right. The rules for these links pages are simple enough, they say "I represent XXX website and we are all about YYY. I'd like you to consider ZZZ website, they are very good at what you are looking for".

So much for these "link pages", but what of the normal webpage. What are the rules for them.

First, each webpage must only utter the words on its page, it cannot say anything else.

It first shouts out its Title (the bit in the blue bar at the top of your browser), here it can really boom out the words, which make them easier to hear. Then it continues down the page, saying the words on the pages, pausing when it comes to paragraphs etc. Whenever it comes to a Heading in a page or something in bold or italics it can say the words a bit louder, and when it comes to lists, it can pause between each phrase, all the better to make the words more effective.

It can also make it quite clear to the Agents that there are other pages in its own site that are very relevant (these being the internal links), all with the aim of trying to impress upon the agent that the webpage's website is very useful indeed and should therefore be listed.

So, what does the above mean to the unprepared website??

Well for many, although they have managed to get into the marketplace, they find to their horror that when it comes to shouting out their Title, they have to say "WM Cooper" and not "Plumbing Suppliers, Showers and Taps by WM Cooper", which if the agent is looking for plumbers to list is far more interesting.

Then when they come to the words on the page, they have to drivel on about "Welcome to WM Cooper website. We have been in business for 30 years and have 1000's of happy customers, come to us...", by which time the Agent has "switched off" and started looking elsewhere.

Now, if the words in the page had had a Heading of "Plumbing Supplies" and then read something like "We can supply you with taps, bathrooms, tiles, wash basins" and so on the agent would have been far more likely to listen.

Other sites have different problems, sure the webpage's exist, but they are not being pointed at in the right way by other pages in their own site. Such pages are barred by Google from even getting into the marketplace, their argument being "there is no record of your existence on the website you are claiming to have come from, therefore you don't exist, please go away". Thus such pages fall at the very first fence...

Then again there are those unfortunate pages, that even though they are quite clearly, to the human reader anyway, all about "hotels in Portsmouth" do not actually say this on the page in any convincing way, thus if another thousand pages (and there could be a lot lot more) are all shouting out, in no uncertain terms, that they are about "Portsmouth hotels" who are they going to pick, do I really have to say more...

Thus it is only those web pages that have done their homework and who come into the marketplace prepared that win those coveted first page positions. Well that is true to a point, but we have forgotten those "linking" pages we spoke of earlier, just what part do they have to play in this saga? quite a lot actually, in fact it is now calculated that our friends the Google agents listen to the shouting of these "links" to such a degree that as much as 50 % of the reason they choose A over B is down to them. So that means it pays to get lots of links pointing to your site into that marketplace.

But be warned, Google, in a perverse sort of way, and knowing that people know it listens to the shouts of these links, will only listen if the website that the link is on is relevant to the site it is talking about (pointing to). In other words a site all about Florida Fish Farms will be of little use "link pressure" wise to a site selling Combine Harvesters, and vice versa. Also, just to spice the pot a bit more (as if it needs it) Google also keep an eye on the number of sites in a marketplace "shouting" about other sites, and if one site seems to get too many new sites "shouting" about over a short period of time are likely to get a wee bit suspicious. Is, heaven forbid, someone trying to make a site appear more popular than it really is....

So the market place is full of dangers, but basically it is "trick" free. If the pages of a website do their homework and make sure that they are really "saying" what they are all about, making it quite clear in the Title of the page as well as the headings on the page, have plenty of links and references to other pages in their site (and even ones outside it) and, just as importantly, get some links pointing to them and the other pages in their webpage, they WILL get listed. Do anything else though and be prepared to go on asking that question "why do some pages get listed by Google while mine do not....?"