Getting Your Site To Show Up In Search
It’s a question I answer daily. Can you make my site appear at the top of Google? The quick answer is no. And anyone who tells you they can is lying. Placement in search results is largely dependent on software. Google, Bing, Yahoo are software driven. It’s software that analyzes your website and then determines based on over 200 factors where your new or old website will show up in the search engine results page (SERP).
Keep in mind that if you search for your website by ‘name’, you will probably come up #1. Assuming your site has been submitted to the search engine(s). And if not, it’s only a matter of time before a search robot, which is software, finds your new site, crawls it, indexes it, adding it to the over 1-billion websites that can be found in the search engine.
Your goal is to be found for a given ‘search query’. If you sell ‘monkeys’, and your website allows visitors to buy your monkeys, then wouldn’t it be cool if I searched ‘I need a new monkey’ and your site showed up? That’s the idea for any product or service represented online through a website.
8 steps to being found in search results
So here are the steps required to be found in search be it Google, Bing, Yahoo:
- Build your website.
- Put your name, address and telephone number prominently displayed at the top of your home page.
- Make sure you have placed a site description tag in the <head> of your website. No more than 156 characters long.
- Add a site title tag in the <head>. No more than 70 characters.
- Content should be published containing descending H tags. In other words, the page title can be wrapped in <h1>title</h1>, then a sub-heading wrapped in <h2>sub-heading</h2> and so forth. You can add additional subheadings <h3>, <h4>, <h5>.
- Write your content suing the phrases one would typically use to find your site. So, for the monkey salesman, the opening paragraph on the home page could read like this “Awesome monkeys sold here to awesome people. Providing quality monkey sales every day. When people want to buy a monkey, they shop with the #1 monkey sales company in Sometown, SomeState.” Use a conversational style of writing and create content on each page that clearly describes your intent and the message you wish to convey. Don’t overdo it with keywords and phrases. That can work against you.
- Time to submit your site. For Google, you can do that here Search Console or here at Webmaster Tools. For Bing, here Webmaster Tools. There’s no guarantee your site will be found right away, but this is the first logical step in notifying the search engines that you are out here on the web.
- Now the hard part. Your website is like a plant. If you don’t water it what happens? New content, updated content, relevant content and sharing your content via social media is like water to the plant. The only reason a website underperforms, can’t be found in search for a given query is because there is no reason to visit the site. If your site doesn’t help the visitor, search engines will ignore it.
Grow your website
Your website’s content should clearly, in as few words as possible, instruct the visitor what to do and how. Spare your visitors a long diatribe on how great you are. We already know that. The truth is, no one cares about your website or how great it looks. What people love is when a website addresses their personal needs, problems, requirements immediately, elegantly, precisely. Make sure all content is no more than three clicks away.
A website that is interactive will outperform one that isn’t most of the time. Interactive means your visitor is inspired to click on an option to find out more. Give your visitors an incentive to get something by giving something. If your website inspires a click on the “Read More” button or “To download our booklet, click here”.. these are known as ‘conversions’. And if you can develop a site that inspires the visitor to click through your site (click through rate = CTR) in order to obtain a conversion, you are on your way to search engine dominance.
This is just a very short glimpse into what it takes to elevate your website in the search engine game. Along this journey, there are other hurdles you may run into like previous address issues that conflict with your new business location. In future posts, I’ll try to address these contingencies and how to address them.