How do I get my website onto the front page of Google?

Ah, the $64,000 question. Well, there are a number of ways you can do it, but rest assured - all your competitors want to be on the front page of Google too, so if you think it's going to be cheap and easy, think again.

Get to the top of Google, guaranteed... as long as you have deep pockets

The only way to guarantee being on the top of the Google rankings for your chosen terms are by paying Google to be in their 'sponsored links' - via their system, which is called Adwords. It works on a bidding system, so if you sell knitted hamster handbags you may well be able to get their pretty cheap, but if your business has the word 'insurance' 'travel' 'flights' 'recruitment' or one of many other extremely popular and highly competitive phrases, you could be paying over £20 per click, and there could be thousands of clicks per day. Not for those on a tight budget.

Of course, you can try to use Adwords with pretty much any budget, but if you've only got £50 a month to pay and you're competing against the big boys, you may find your budget is spent before you've had a chance to say 'small fish'.

Tips for making the most of Adwords on a budget : as most business advisors will tell you aout business in general - niche niche niche. If you can show that you are THE specialist in a specific area/field/colour etc, you cut down your competitors hugely.

Natural search listings

If you're not paying to be in the 'sponsored links' you'll have to do it the hard way, via the 'natural' search results. This means convincing Google you are the best site and should be the top result for whatever phrase it is the user happens to be entering. There are two main sides to this:

On-Page SEO : your website has to be built to be Google friendly, and that means relevant text, no useful text in images, logical use of keyword rich headings, relevant page names, labels on all your images, keyword rich internal links and widgets and lots of relevant key-phrases scattered at natural intervals around the content. It means providing useful free information for passers-by and generally proving you know what you're talking about. If your website is not already built this way, it's painful to make it so later, so make sure it's built right the first time. Naturally, all of our websites are entirely Google friendly.

Off-Page SEO : Google counts a link to your website as a 'vote' for your website. The more of these you have, the higher up the rankings your site will go. But it's not entirely democratic, links from highly rankings sites count as more important than votes than from unknown sites. You can get links by adding the site to directories, getting other webmasters to link to your site, setting up social networking sites and publishing articles.

You can, of course, do this for yourself, but be prepared for rolling up your sleeves and spending many months of nights in. Simply learning about the methods will take many hours, let alone the hard slog of carrying it all out. And results can be slow and disheartening in the early days.

Or, you can hire a professional to do it for you. This is course is another minefield, but not one within the scope of this article. Read more about how to avoid some of the most dangerous SEO pitfalls here and read more about the elements of good SEO here.