Searching For Your Business
When someone goes to the internet, they go to a site that lets them type in text and it returns URLs that have that text in them. These sites are called search engines. Of the millions of websites on the internet, how are they going to know anything about your site? Start with creating a business account for the major search engines, like Google My Business, Bing and others.
When that search engine is used and your business is searched for, they can now show your business information on the right side of the search results. It's like having a mini website that the search engines show when your business is searched for.
Finding Your Website
When you do a search, the results come back with text and hyperlinks (links) that you can click on to go to a website. Those links are what search engines do. They use automated robots, called "crawlers" or "spiders", looking for new websites and websites that have changes to crawl. Eventually they will find your website and crawl it but the question is when and how much will they crawl? When they crawl a site, they start with the top page, extracting information about that page and then follow the links in that page to the other pages in the site. They do the same process with subsequent pages until they have exhausted the links. At least that's the basic understanding of how it works.
So what can you do to tell the search engine "We're Here!!"? Google provides a site they call Google Search Console that once verified and setup, you can ask Google to crawl your site. Google will then provide information back to you as to how many pages it indexed, bad links it encountered, and so forth. This is helpful in getting your site in a state that the search engines like.
Another way in which you can tell Google about your site is to provide a site map. This is not to be confused with the website's site map page as this site map is an XML file for input into the search engine. They are similar in the information they provide, but they differ in how that information is organized, presented and used.
Some other search engine options/features are:
|Search Appearance||Data Highlighter, HTML improvements, Accelerated Mobile Pages...|
|Search Traffic||Analytics, Links to your site, Internal Links, International Targeting...|
|Index||Status, Blocked Resources, Removing URLs...|
|Crawl||Errors, Stats, robots.txt tester, sitemap, URL parameters...|
|Security Issues||Search engines can detect security issues with your site's content...|
|Web Tools||Desktop, Mobile, Testing Tools, Page Speed...|
SEO and Your Website
SEO will allow those searching for products or services to find your site turning them into customers. It sounds simple but the search engines keep how they rank pretty much under the covers. They provide guidelines that will help you but let's face it, one site versus one trillion. What are your odds of ranking well and getting relevant traffic are not in your favor.
But don't give up yet, you can get away with minimal SEO and get results from it too. Potential leads, prospective customers and interested people. You just have to be smart about it from the start.
Here are some of the things you can do that will help your SEO.
|Know Your Audience||If you met someone at a conference and they lost your business card, what would they type in to find your business? You'll want something unique that they could use to find you.|
|Keyword Research||If there is a term you think people might type into Google looking specifically for you, go ahead and try it yourself. What do you find?|
|Optimize Your Title||Your title tags are what come back in a search. The more information in the tag specific to the page and as a whole the better.|
|Optimize Your Folder and File Names||Search engines don't just look at your title tags, they also look at the folder and filenames. This include images that the page may use. They are looking for as much information as they can to understand your site. Everything should be in lower case and words separated by hyphens.|
|Optimize Your Content||Your content should repeat the title tag and folder/filename throughout. Just make sure that is logical and you're not just putting them randomly in your page.|
|Add Your Meta Tags||Meta tags don't carry much weight, but as you learned in design, they are what show in the results of the search engines. The title is at the top of the results, then the link to the page (folder/filename) and then the description (your enticement to get the reader to click on the link)|
So if we did our due diligence, the title should tell what topic and extra information, the URL helps explain more of what the page is about (folder name), and the description is the advertisement that will make the reader want to know more and open the page.
SEO is not something you do once and you're done. It's an on-going process that never ends. People have careers as SEO experts and work for company's keeping the company's website up in the higher rankings of searches. The search engines consistently change how rankings are made, thus making it difficult to stay on top. They do this to give others a chance at being higher in the rankings.
Things that are part of the rankings but not limited to are:
- Website being updated
- External links pointing to your website
- Social Media about your website or pointing to it
- Business listings
- Web page content
A multiple of other algorithms come into play ranking a website. The best we can do is go with what we know, and see what happens. There are also companies that offer their SEO services to review your website and do SEO for you for a one-time fee or an on-going fee.