Way back in 1994 when I first started to build websites, getting better rankings used to be all about things you could do to trick the search engines. Stuffing your site full of keywords (relevant or not), multiple entry pages, and similar tricks were all things that could drive traffic to you site but it also caused the search results to be wildly inaccurate. Today, Google, Bing/Yahoo work hard to make sure that the results they show you when you perform a search match what you'd expect to find so that you're happy with the results they show you, and therefore, keep using their search engine. In order to generate better search results, they had to devise ways to make sure that the links to sites they show you are not there because someone has figured out how to trick them into showing their site at the top of the listings.
Google primary goal is to feature quality, well established sites that are going to be the most useful to the person performing the search and one of the primary ways it determines that is by gauging various factors of time.
Here are some of the things Google looks at:
- How old is the domain and how long is the domain name registered? This helps show that a site has been in existence for a while and that the domain name has been registered for more than just a year. The longer you register your domain name, the better. Check with your domain name registrar and if your domain name is not registered for more than a year, simply register it for as long as you can, up to 10 years. Why? Google also wants to avoid showing spam/malware sites and many times they will register a domain for the shortest amount of time possible, one year.
- How much content is on your site? Many business websites are simply brochure type web site with very little content. Content is king and lots of fresh, keyword rich content is a major factor that Google looks at when determining the rank of your site. The more time you spend writing quality content, the more it will help your website rank higher.
- How often is your website updated? Google monitors your site to see how often new content is added or changed on your site, thus indicating a live, active, relevant site. Therefore the more time you spend updating your website, the better. Some ways to increase content are to add news and blogs, make regular tweaks and updates, add calendar events and whatever you can to keep it fresh.
- How many websites link to your site? Google looks at the number of other people who have been willing to place a link on their site to yours because it assumes that they've vetted your site and deemed it worthy enough to link to yours. So you need to spend time building relationships with other people by participating in forums on other sites, writing blogs, etc so that you can get as many links as possible back to your site.