How to get web traffic from Google

If you want to get your web page noticed but don’t want to spend a lot of money on advertising, your best bet is search engine optimization, or SEO. As of this writing, that mostly means understanding how Google ranks search hits, and adapting your web presence accordingly.

Historically, search engine results were ranked based on the frequency and proximity of keywords in the page text. But as the web grows, there are tons and tons of pages out there with the same or similar keywords. Any Google search on any remotely mainstream topic is going to return thousands and thousands of hits, most of which are useless to you. Another problem is that the keyword system is easy to game. Unscrupulous web designers can load up a page with invisible keywords repeated over and over, by putting them in the same color as the background off to the side of the page.

To make its results more useful, Google tries to rank its keyword-based search results in the order of their relevance. They do this using a complex proprietary algorithm called PageRank, the real heart of their search engine. One of PageRank’s most heavily weighted factors is the number of links pointing to a page. If more people link to your site, presumably that’s because it’s more useful or authoritative. PageRank also recursively factors in the number of links going into those pages that link to you.

So the key to a higher Google rank is getting other pages to link to you. The question is, how do you get those precious inbound links?

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