Every business owner wants their website to be the first that Google displays when users search for terms or product that their business offers. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is important but you must play by the rules in order to rank well and maintain that position.

There are companies out there that offer ranking services and whilst there are many services out there that will genuinely work to get you ranked as high as possible, there are also many unscrupulous operators that use illegal methods to get to this position and you’ll sooner or later find out that Google has blacklisted your site. Once your site has been blacklisted, you’re unlikely to rank or even appear in search results for at least the next 12 months.

Here are the 5 steps you should take if you want your website to rank highly in search engines;

1. Stop talking with anyone that can guarantee you the top spot in Google, or even the front page of Google.
You must understand the modus operandi for Google, that is to send users to the most relevant website that it has indexed based on the search terms they have entered. The only company that can guarantee that you will be on the first page / first position is Google themselves.

2. Create unique content that accurately describes your product and / or service
Copying and pasting content throughout your website or including a whole bunch of irrelevant ‘keywords’ on your main page is not going to help you rank higher. The days of trying to trick search engines is over, they are getting smarter every day.

Create unique content, even a blog if you have the resources to do so, this will not only help your page rank but it will also encourage users to stay and explore your website.

3. Register your business with search engines
This may be obvious but a lot of people miss this critical step. Registering your website & business with Google & Bing is a critical step in getting your website recognised by search engines. Look for add-on features such as Google Places and Google Webmasters to further increase visibility of your site and registration on these make for best practice in SEO.

4. Create backlinks
What’s a backlink? They are links to your website. Google places value on each backlink, for example, if you link from social media sites to your website the link is worth less than a .edu domain linking to your page. There are many places to start backlinking from, directory sites aren’t the greatest value but provide a good starting point for your SEO. When you interact with users on social media, try to find those in related industries that may benefit from cross promotion and either swap links or blog posts.

5. Understand how search engines work
Before you can effectively perform SEO on a website, you must understand how they work. Search Engines send robots (called crawlers) around to index words on a page. Once they finish indexing the words on a page, they follow the links from that indexed page onto other pages and index those words, they then repeat the process in a never-ending cycle. The more people that link to you and the more times a keyword is found on the page, the higher you’re relevance when it comes time to display the advertisement.