A great looking functional website is no use if users cannot find you. You may not be surprised to know that Google can help here too, as we all know that search is where it started for the web giant back in 1996. Google is the world’s most used search engine, according to figures from Alexa, the web information company. Making your site available to Google search is vital for anyone serious about promoting themselves. More than this, appearing in the top results for a set of keywords can make a significant difference to the traffic of your website. So how we do you rank number one in Google search? To answer that, we need to look at the world of search engine optimization, or SEO. But before we do, let’s look at how Google works at a basic level.

Google uses an algorithm called PageRank. The key part of this algorithm analyzes how many human generated links there are linking to your site. The idea being that if lots of important sites are linking to your site, then your site must also be important. Or as cofounder Sergey Brin put it: “We believed we could build a better search. We had a simple idea, that not all pages are created equal. Some are more important.”

The exact criteria for a link being rated as ‘important’ is kept a closely guarded secret by Google. As are a number of other criteria for the ranking of search results, used in combination with PageRank. Google keeps such details secret to avoid people artificially effecting search engine ranking results for particular sites. So if no one really knows the details of how Google ranks pages, how can designers ensure they achieve a high ranking through good website design? Here are some Google approved guidelines:

  1. Offer quality content and services – As ever content is king. PageRank rates sites linking to you, offering a good service and content people want is the first step in achieving this.
  2. Actively promote your site to create back links – Use social media, as well as related sites, to proactively spread the word of your site within any suitable communities.
  3. Produce exclusive and correct page titles – A title tag informs both Internet users and the Google search engine what the subject of a specific page is.
  4. Make the most of the “description” meta tag – A page’s description meta tag offers Google an overview of what your page is all about.
  5. Make improvements to the structure of your URLs – Easy to comprehend URLs will pass on content information quickly.
  6. Place an HTML sitemap web page inside your site, and make use of an XML sitemap file – The first sort assists users and Google, the subsequently assures Google can discover each of the pages in your site regardless of the structure or navigation.

Inform Google of mobile Internet sites – Develop a mobile sitemap and after that distribute it to Google.