Google Indexing According to Me
I know that I'm in Korea and I "should" be out seeing the sites, but I have to explain that the primary reason for my visit here was less to see Seoul and more to see Shawna and just... relax. Since Shawna works during the day, I took the morning and after noon off to just do nothing yesterday and today I'm catching up on my crazy-sized email backlog. I'll be going out around 11am though with a friend of Shawna's to do some exploring and pick up a temporary phone.
For the moment though, I just wrote a rather long email to my uncle to help him with his Google ranking and figured that since this was the second time I've had to go through all of this with someone, that it might be a good idea to post it all here for future reference. If you think that I've missed anything, please let me know and I'll update.
Google bases your page rank on a few things: linkage, content, and formatting. I believe that it's even in that order. I'll explain one at a time.
The number of links to your site and the ranking of the origin sites. So for example if "Bob's blog" links to you, that link is worth significantly less than if it were from Amazon.com or Slate etc. More links is better, and Google will even attribute the content of the origin site to your own. In other words, if a site about Pizza links to you, Google will assume that you have something to do with Pizza. So the best links to get are things *within your field* rather than from anywhere lest you run the risk of diluting your rank with non-relevant rankings.
This is the easiest, but a lot of people miss it. First of all, so-called "rich media" isn't recognised by Google (and pretty much all other search engines too). Flash, Youtube, Silverlight etc. won't get read by Google so don't make your site dependent on such formats. Instead, lots of relevant content with links to other sites and proper use of keywords with which you want to be found.
For example, on my dad's site, he wanted to be found with the keyword "optical" but we never once used it on his site. Instead, we used "optician". As a result, he was #1 for "optician Kelowna" but had no mention for "optical".
It's also important to note that grammar is important. You can't just fill up the page with abnormal uses of keywords you for which want to be indexed. Google pays very smart people a lot of money to write code that will recognise poor-grammar-as-planted-keywords so don't mess with a good thing. The truth of it is that if you have a good site with relevant content, people will find you, link to you and your rank will improve over time.
Back when I was in school we were taught that the format of your code was relevant to your search ranking. I'm not sure of how true this is anymore but it's a good practise nonetheless. Do put headers in header tags (<h1>..<h6>), put text in the alt="" portion of your <img> tags and don't try to screw with them by putting a bunch of keywords in a text block and then hide it by making the text the same colour as the background or by hiding the box altogether. They hate that and their scripts catch you, you risk being delisted.
Lastly, a handy thing to do is to install Google Analytics. It will do fun stuff like track page hits by hour, week, and month as well as give you country of origin stats, search engine references etc. It's awesome and it's free (as in beer, not Freedom).