Lost in Cyberspace?
You may be wondering - Why doesn't my site show up when I type my keywords into a search engine? You should be wondering - How am I going to compete with the hundreds of thousands of websites that all use the same keywords? The answer is optimization, marketing, and some time. With a few proven techniques, you can really improve your search engine ranking and gain targeted traffic to your website.
Search engine optimization is the process of working with your sites content to rank higher organically in the search engines. There are many myths out there that you may have heard: If I keep visiting my site over and over again, it will help my rankings, sorry, not a chance; or If I keep submitting my site to search engines every month it will help. You do not ever need to submit your site to a search engine, so no, this will not help either. There are a lot of people promising to get your website ranked #1 the very next day. That is not natural or organic ranking, but paid advertising. Not that I'm knocking paid advertising. It is sometimes very beneficial in the beginning until your site moves up the ranks on its own.
I'll probably be questioned about giving away some prized marketing secrets, but hey, it's really nothing you can't find on your own with a little research. You can thank me later.
Ok, ready for the #1 most important factor - yes, I'm jumping right in with #1.
- Sounds fairly basic, but is often overlooked. You need good quality content with emphasis on your keywords. Use your keywords as many times as you can in your content, without sounding goofy of course. Too many sites are weighed down with graphics and flash with limited text. The search engines send out spiders (the good kind, not the creepy kind) that read the text on your website and index it. If there isn't any valuable content on your site, the spider will be unable to index it correctly. Visual intro pages are pretty, but will do nothing for your rankings. Additionally, each page should be written about a specific focused topic. If you offer widget sales and widget repair, you'd be better off to have a widget repair page and a widget sales page, instead of having one big widget party.
- Now that you have good quality content, one of the most important factors is the use of keywords in your Meta tags. Ok, if you don't know what your Meta tags are, we may have more issues to deal with first, and you should probably not try this at home (kidding!). The Meta tags are the tags in the head section of your website's coding. The most important Meta tag is the Title tag. This title tag also appears at the very top of your web browser when you are viewing a web page. There are a couple other tags like descriptions and keywords, but these are hardly used by the search engines anymore, so I wouldn't lose sleep over them. Your Meta tags should be unique on every page, and are there to let the search engines know what the page is about.
- The next factor in helping your site move up the rankings is link building. Link building is basically just linking to your website from other websites and directories. When we create a site for a client, and they opt out of our marketing plan, we can't stress enough to them how important it is to link build. Take an hour a week and surf the net to find relevant directories to add your website link to. The way a search engine looks at this is - If your website is useful enough that all these other relevant sites want to link to it, well then it must be a great site. Kudos to you, because you just moved up in Google's eyes. There are ways to do this that are better than others. When you have a link on someone else's website or directory that links to you, you want to have a keyword in the actual clickable link, rather then just the name of your business. One way links to you are best, but it is good to have a mix of two way links also, if they're relevant (linking back to someone else's website for example). This is all a fairly simply task, but the one thing you need to avoid is getting too many links too quickly. You should avoid link farms that will generate 100's of links for you at once.
- If you don't already have a domain name, it's important to register a domain name with the use of keywords in your URL (i.e. waterproofumbrellas.com). If you already have a domain name, it's not worth getting a new one because the aging issue would actually hurt more than it would help.
- Which brings me to my last point, sometimes you just have to be patient. Newer websites don't hold as much weight as older ones. So the longer your website is around, the 'wiser' it will be and the better it will rank.
There are other 'black hat practices' that you may have heard whispered in dark alleys, but we would advise against them. Attempting to trick the search engines will only end up getting your site bumped from the rankings.
If you follow the above pointers, you will notice an increase in rankings and targeted traffic. Google Analytics is a good free tracking tool that you can use to monitor your website traffic. Good luck and have fun watching your site move up the ranks.