Thu, 07 Apr 2011 12:17:53 +1000
Search Engine Optimisation for Beginners
Frequently asked questions that get asked after launching a completed website for a customer are;
- "Why isn’t my website showing up in Google?”
- “Why isn’t my page coming up as number one in Google search?”
Both very good questions of course, but let’s answer these one at a time.
1. Why isn’t my website showing up in Google?
Firstly a newly launched website won’t appear in Google’s search results immediately after it is launched. Google needs to find the website first and the way it finds it can be varied of course. We could let Google know of the new site by submitting it, but this is normally not necessary. In most cases I will link to the new site from my portfolio and also setup the site in my section of Google’s webmaster tools. These 2 processes, especially the first one allow Google to find your new site by re-visiting my site and following the link. Once your website is in the index it will start appearing in search results. This process can take anywhere from 24 hours to a month, it all depends on when Google's robot gets to visit the site. Mostly I find this take less than a week.
2. Why isn’t my page coming up as number one in Google search?
Now we have your page being listed in Google, excellent. But maybe it isn’t being shown as high up the list as you would like. Getting your site to rank higher in Google is something that almost every website owner wants of course. Your ranking will also depend on the industry you are in, more competitive industries will make it harder to appear near the top. For instance if you have an accommodation website, it will be more difficult to appear near the top as there are obviously many accommodation places on the internet. But maybe you have a cottage industry selling painted snail shells, this is much more obscure of course and you should then appear closer to the top due to much less competition. So what can we do to help our ranking? Firstly, one of things that you most likely don’t need is the services of a professional SEO company. In my opinion you really need to take ownership of this yourself, as nobody knows your business like you. SEO companies can often charge quite a lot of money and cannot guarantee you a number one ranking.
Following are some of the basic steps that you need to take if you want your website to rank higher. Nothing is guaranteed of course but these are things that should help.
- Make sure the content on your website is relevant and contains keywords that you believe people will be using to search for our website.
- Quite often making these keywords bold can help Google focus on these.
- Make sure the page titles are relevant to the content and not the same for every page.
- Ensure that meta tags are in existence and are relevant. It is debatable whether Google places much relevance to these anymore but they can’t hurt.
- Try to get industry relevant websites to link back to you. This might be partners or governing bodies etc but they need to be relevant. Also if you get these links from other sites back to you, make sure that the text in the link contains relevant keywords, not just your site name. E.g PlumBob – plumbing supplies and handyman tools
- Get the word out that you have a great website and that it provides good information. You can do this in a number of ways, but a pretty simple one is to join a forum or discussion group for your industry and be a regular contributor. Make sure a link is to your website in your posts. This way people looking for help in your area will see you as an expert in your field and look to you for advice. Google actually looks to this as well when it is working out your ranking.
All the above points are pretty simple things to do but can take a little time. If you are serious about being a force in your industry then these things need to be done. Summary This is just a very basic guide on SEO and is certainly not definitive. There are other tools available that can help you attract visitors to your website, including Google AdWords, but I will leave this for a future blog post.