Are you seeing what I’m seeing?

If you’re searching Google for the exact same keywords I’m searching for, chances are NO, you are not seeing what I am seeing.

I’m in New York City and you may be in Kalamazoo, Michigan, so Google scans our IP addresses, which tells them where we are and adjusts the results based on our location.

Google then looks at what your search history reveals and tries to work out assumptions that would be relevant to you based on its calculations. They are doing the same for me.

Then add to the mix google snapshot and the possibilities begin to appear before you finish typing what you might be looking for based on the factors mentioned above and other factors such as the most popular websites.

If you’re searching at 10am and I’m searching at 3pm, the real time results will certainly vary based on that 5 hour difference and Google takes that into account and offers results based on real time activity as well as.

So you won’t see what I see when we search for the exact same keyword or keyword phrase.

Add to that that Google Instant is now taking up valuable ATF (above the fold) real estate, if you were hoping to get first page visibility after all your SEO work, you might be pushed to BTF (yes, below the fold) or even worse, page 2.

So what does a website have to do to be seen these days?

If it’s still not possible to become the most popular brand in the universe, then I’d start focusing on the Google stuff. Yes, Bing is making headway and other search engines still have a foot in the search game, but for now, at least for now, Google still has the lion’s share of searches. So let’s focus on Google for this post. The following are some things that Google likes, not in order of importance but in the order of my random thought patterns. And let’s face it: if Google likes it, then you have a chance.

one. google loves videos so start posting videos. YouTube, Vimeo and Ustream are some sites to consider. If you are hosting videos on your own or through third parties, I suggest you host them on one of the major video sites to gain traction. And if you really want to make Google happy, YouTube keeps it in the family.

two. Google loves real time. Are you already tweeting? This is the best tool to keep a constant flow of activity in real time. Start thinking about keywords, topics, article sources to share and start tweeting today. Know that Google pays attention to your credibility and that is measured by RT (retweets) and conversations with other tweeters indicated by @name. So tweet seriously, not for nothing (promotion only).

3. google places of love. Get a Google places account. They love coupons so they can add value to their search engines. And tags (yes, Google will let you stand out on the map if you pay Tag) are around $25 a month.

4. Google likes you to play with its toys. try to use google docs it’s actually quite handy for sharing files or getting your information on the go. google calendar it could be a solution or even a cool app on your website.

5. Google likes when you visit your website, so make sure you install google analytics and have a webmaster account that you actually check from time to time.

6. Google loves to read your mail, so make sure you have a gmail account. I use mine as a receptacle for the dozens of newsletters and blogs I subscribe to.

7. Google loves its maps. Make sure you have one for your location on your website.

8. Google loves bloggers. Since they have a vested interest in blogspot, you might want to consider using blogspot. I think a blog belongs to your website, so you could give this one up.

9. Google loves new content. That’s where a blog on your site comes in handy. Other ideas are to change a section on your home page with news about your company or in your industry, get some PDFs and other shareable downloadable content. Google likes it when you play nice and make things available to their searchers.

10 Google loves fast loading websites so go back and clean up your code, get rid of the flash, reduce the number and size of your photos, and check for anything that might be slowing down your load times.

eleven google love tags. They really like it when you make their job easy, so come back and look at your code. Hopefully you’re already using CSS and make sure your H1 tags are keywords; have a well-written, keyword-rich meta description.

12 Google likes real word page names. That means if you have dynamic pages that output a lot of nonsense like ##&^236.html well that doesn’t help Google at all. Make sure page names are words, particularly keywords, and oh, don’t make all the words run together or use underscores to separate words, Google likes hyphens. Your page name should look like page-name.htm and not page_name.htm or page%$###.htm.

13 Google likes links. Lots and lots of links. But they must be good links and they must be text-based links. Reputable directories are a good start. Getting other relevant sites to use your keywords and link to your site is worth a pot of gold or maybe two pots if it’s a well established website.

14 Google loves high traffic sites. Get visitors to come and keep them there because Google pays attention to how long their searchers actually stay on your site and how many pages they browse.

fifteen. Google loves commitments. If you have a domain name that is expiring soon, go ahead and renew it for generations to come. Ok, well at least for a couple of years.

16. Google likes deep thinkers and Many pages. I realize that the more pages you have, the more money you have to spend and certainly the more time thinking about what you are going to put on those pages, but think about it. Create a site plan that makes sense and provides information to your visitors in a logical arrangement.

17 Google likes addresses. Give your visitors an HTML sitemap and make sure you submit an XML sitemap directly to Google.

18 Google likes breadcrumbs. These are the little text navigations at the top of a page that indicate where you are on the site in the scheme of things. It could be something like: home > food > meat > organic. Your web developer can set it up for you if you don’t know how to code.

19 Google really likes alt tags. They still can’t read the photos, so remember to give your images alternate tags and use keywords. Instead of using a generic word like image.jpg, try using a keyword, for example, organic-meat.jpg. Yes, dashes work fine here too.

twenty Google likes to know you’re real – install hcards or at least make sure you have address and phone numbers visible on your site.

The point is that search engine optimization is undergoing radical changes and changes and I have no idea where PPC will end up in the scheme of things; neither are the experts at the moment, they are all waiting and seeing so as far as i can tell. So follow these basic rules:

1. Have a website relevant to the keywords, well organized and coded.

2. Provide good content on your website.

3. Blog and post updates regularly.

4. Be social – Use Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and other sites that give you the opportunity to engage with the world at large. No more hiding behind your Mister/Missy desk!

5. Don’t resort to black hat techniques or link farms: Not only does Google not like that, it may shut you down.

6. Read other people’s blogs and comment where it makes sense and when you can offer insight or add to the conversation.

I invite you to start right now, comment on this blog post, add some of your suggestions or feel free to refute mine. Let’s start the conversation and links to your site!

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